John Cale ‘Conflict & Catalysis: Productions & Arrangements 1966-2006’ – album review
John Cale ‘Conflict & Catalysis: Productions & Arrangements 1966-2006’ (Ace/Big Beat)
Justly joining such wayward geniuses as Jack Nitzsche, Kim Fowley, Brian Wilson, Jerry Ragovoy, Bert Berns and Martin Hammet in Ace’s Producers Series of CD’s is the greatest living Welshman, John Cale, OBE.
John Cale’s brilliant musical career has taken him down many different avenues. Since leaving the legendary Velvet Underground in 1968, founding member Cale has released a total of 21 solo and live albums ”âranging from avant-gardeminimalism, through blasted guitar-based rock to full-scale orchestral music. Then there are Cale’s numerous film soundtracks and musical collaborations with William Burroughs, Nick Drake, La Monte Young and numerous others.
Obviously on Conflict & Catalysis the spotlight is on Cale the producer. Straddling over 40 years, this greatanthology contains everything – from The Velvet Underground’s ”ËVenus In Furs’ (Andy Warhol was labelled the producer of The Velvet Underground & Nico, but Cale was really in charge of the music and arrangements), through the thrilling proto-punk of The Stooges’ first LP (Cale’s mix of ”ËI Wanna Be Your Dog’, with piano, which he played, and sleigh bells to the fore), the eponymous The Modern Lovers (the unforgettable ”ËPablo Picasso’), Patti Smith’s Horses (”ËIn Excelsis Deo/Gloria’), Nico’s wonderful 1970 solo record Desertshore (the beautiful ”ËAfraid’) to European pop princess Lio’s 1986 string dominated ”ËDallas’ and enigmatic ZE label no-wave ”Ëdiva’ Cristina (the amusing 1978 ”ËDisco Clone’).
Other highlights include Cale making Squeeze sound like Raw Power era Stooges on ”ËSex Master’ (1978), Chunky, Novi &Ernie’s 1975 LP (the melancholic folk ”ËItalian Sea’), Tex-Mex punky roots rocker Alejando Escovedo’spunchy ”ËTake Your Place’ and his sterling work on the Happy Mondays’ 1987 opus Squirrel And G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) (”ËKuff Dam’). Cale opines that his work with the Mondays was his most successful collaboration to date.
Compiled and noted by Mick Patrick and Neil Dell, Conflict & Catalysiscomes with a smart 28-page booklet featuring a 9000-word essay, incorporating specially commissioned recollections from several of the featured performers.
Conflict & Catalysis offers much insight into what it takes to be an artistically successful producer and presents a fine introduction to Cale’s timeless work.