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John Cale - The Academy In Peril CD (album) cover

THE ACADEMY IN PERIL

John Cale

 

Prog Related

3.46 | 22 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Definitely among the weirdest and most adventurous of John Cale's early works, along with the fabulous Church Of Anthrax, Academy In Peril is a very different beast than Vintage Violence or Paris 1919, but it's got nothing to do with COA either. Before his integration into VU, John Cale had worked with a few classical and avant-gardists composers and this album is directly a reference to those pre-67 classical days of his, just like Anthrax was a collaboration with Terry Riley and a return to his minimalism days, also in the mid 60's. And to add another wink to the gone-by 60's, the artwork of the album is signed by Andy Warhol

Opening on an un-tuned guitar (most likely by future Stones Ron Wood) and slow infectious "Space Odyssey-like" brass lines, Philosopher, Cale's violin appears very fragile on the almost jugband rhythm. Followed by the 7-mins self-explanatory Brahms, where Cale is alone (and brilliant) on the piano, while Legs Larry is a weird violin drones dominated piece at first with a soliloquy about camera equipment movement which seem to hint at cinema, but the piece veers semi-classical at times. The 6-mins+ piano-only title track is a very slow piece where the notes leave as much empty space (let's not call it silence since there is plenty of reverb/echo to dress the spaces), speeding up a bit midway through. Two short tracks Days Of Stream and its Intro are rather unusual (starting on piano rolls as if it was a harp in its intro) but veering piano-jug with a weird flute turning into a trumpet on its way out.

On the flipside, the 8-mins+ Orchestral pieces (broken in three movements) returns to classical music, but this time with a full orchestra. A bit deceiving, because I expect Cale doing more on here. The following King Henry is again a dronal thing and hints at Legs Larry with its whispered vocals by Adam Miller, introduced in Anthrax. The brass section lines add much tension and drama around the end of the track. The closing Milton track is another minimalist piano track, but with slow strings arrangements dressing up the background .

Actually TAIP is much more "reminiscent" of Cale's 90's works (when writing soundtracks of movies) as the music here is fairly abstract and might even be called cinematic, for it seems made to illustrate images. Certainly not as stupendous as Anthrax, but this album is easily his second best of his 70's works. 3.75, but I'm rounding up to the upper star

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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