Monday, February 21, 2005

The Tide Rolls Heavily Like Wine...

John Cale - The Endless Plain Of Fortune

I've recently been bingeing on the Cale Table of The Elements re-issues, three cds of his minimal/drone/noise music from the 60's. They throw new light on his work with The Velvets and make it clear that they were the shop front for an incredible scene.

They also make me appreciate anew his early 70's solo albums, things I've been listening to since I was 15 or so. Anyone who can move from unchanging avant drones to the country rock of "Vintage Violence" and then on to the self styled Baroque and Roll of "Paris 1919" has an unreasonable level of talent and a confidence to match it.

From "Paris 1919" comes "The Endless Plain of Fortune". Like many of his best songs, literal meaning is abandoned in pursuit of resonance and depth as strange as that found in old folk songs or Grimm's Tales.

And if you want more resonance, the title of the album harks back to a time and place of huge significance: Cocteau, Picasso, The Ballet Russe, Dada and onto Surrealism, the latter evoked by the sequence of photos on the back of the sleeve, portraying Cale in white suit collapsing into trance like Robert Desnos.

Here is a man who is hotwiring myths, stealing songs from old maps and statues. Greatness.

Buy - John Cale - Paris 1919
Visit - John Cale


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