From: Leonid Ulitsky (ulitsky_at_WIZTEC.CO.IL)
Date: Mon 12 Apr 1999 - 14:26:37 IDT


To quote from the anthology, recently released on Rhino Records; "Ask any
well-versed rock fan about Cale, and his status as a co-founder of The
Velvet Underground is likely to come to mind first. But his role in the
Velvet's extraordinarily influential career is far from the be-all and
end-all of his creative contributions. There have been many more fascinating
chapters in his story since those notes from the Underground nearly 30 years

By any measure, John Cale is an unlikely rock figure. His academic
background seemed to point him toward a 'serious music' career, and he has
kept company with such cultural icons as John Cage, Andy Warhol and Sam
Shepard. And yet there's another side to this intense, erudite Welshman -
He's been a punk cult hero, a manic bandleader, a purveyor of 'dirtyass rock
'n' roll'. His profile as a composer has a Jekyll-and-Hyde look: He's
written symphonic pieces, minimalist experiments, tender love ballads,
bloodthirsty rants. The contradictions go on and on.

Cale co-wrote most of the songs on Artificial Intelligence with lyricist
Larry 'Ratso' Sloman, executive editor of 'National Lampoon' and, most
recently, collaborator on DJ Howard Stern's literary efforts. Following the
Camera Obscura project with Nico, Cale paired the players James Young
(keyboards) and Graham Dowdall (percussion) with a previous partner,
guitarist Dave Young. The resulting album is heavy on funkified rhythms and
cool keyboard gloss, matching the furtive, threatening imagery of the song

Artificial Intelligence may be one of John Cale's 'easier listening' albums
but still retains the nervous edge. There are outstanding ballads, 'Dying on
the Vine' and 'Black Rose' and a humourous musical patchwork, 'Chinese
Takeaway' among the elegant and perverse 'pop' like 'Everytime the Dogs
Bark' and 'The Sleeper'.

Specially remastered for the American release in spring 1996, Beggars
Banquet re-issued the album alongside Nico's 'Camera Obscura'. With a shared
heritage in the Velvet Underground and the subsequent collaborations between
these artists, the two albums are inextricably linked. Beggars only
distribute this one Cale album, but it's wellworth investigating his body of
work, so after you've bought this one (of course!), check out the career
overview compilation on Rhino and an anthology of his recordings on Island
Records as well as the excellent recent material on Rykodisc.

Leonid Ulitsky
Phone : (972)-3-9490977(H), (972)-9-9526557(W), (972)-53-406259(M)
URL : http://www.wisdom.weizmann.ac.il/~ulitsky

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