Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


John Cale

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

John Cale The Academy In Peril album cover
3.46 | 22 ratings | 4 reviews | 5% 5 stars

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Philosopher (4:25)
2. Brahms (6:55)
3. Legs Larry At Television Center (3:35)
4. The Academy In Peril (6:20)
5. Intro (0:57)
6. Days Of Steam (1:58)
- 3 Orchestral Pieces (8:30) :
7-a. Faust (2:47)
7-b. The Balance (2:33)
7-c. Capt. Morgan's Lament (3:10)
8. King Harry (4:04)
9. John Milton (7:54)

Total time 44:38

Line-up / Musicians

- John Cale / guitar, keyboards, viola, bass, composer & producer

- Adam Miller / vocals (not confirmed)
- "Legs" Larry Smith / narrator (3)
- Ron Wood / slide guitar (2)
- The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (6,8)
- Del Newman / drums (not confirmed)

Releases information

Artwork: Andy Warhol

LP Reprise Records ‎- MS 2079 (1972, US)
LP 4 Men With Beards ‎- 4m821 (2014, US)

CD Edsel Records ‎- ED CD 182 (1989, UK)
CD Culture Factory ‎- CFU01033 (2014, US) Remastered (?)

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy JOHN CALE The Academy In Peril Music

More places to buy JOHN CALE music online

JOHN CALE The Academy In Peril ratings distribution

(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

JOHN CALE The Academy In Peril reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Third John Cale's solo album is in it's atmosphere similar to second one. During his long career in music, Cale changed his music style many times, so it's not easy to describe, what is his music. I think, putting him to category "Prog Related" on PA was clever decision: it describes everything and nothing.

So, let make it clear from very beginning - this album is RIO/Avant in pure form. If you ever heard Cage, Terry Riley or other minimalists, you can imagine, what is the basis of that album. If not - just imagine acoustic violin or piano music, based on classic constructions, and played with maximum free space between notes.

The first song is real prog, with full band ( even included guest guitarist Ron Wood). Great beginning, but the second one will bring you to the world of elegant and strange piano miniature ( "Brahms"). Few next songs are of the same field, but just more cold and abstract in structure and melody.

"Days Of Steam" breaks the line of classic avant-minimalist composition by it's bright neo- folky tune with drummer rhythm included. But right after "Orchestral Pieces" return you back to the world of classic violin soloing.

And don't be fooled by some vocal stated on the cover. "Legs Larry at Television Centre" is minimalist classic composition with speaking words ( and huge dose of humour in it). Some kind of Zappa's style musical joke. Last album composition is a nice dreamy piano and synt down tempo neo classic piece with some orchestral sound in places.. Cale is really bright composer and musician in his highest moments

Bright and interesting in many places, album is a bit unfocused, and some classic pieces sound raw and unfinished. But the idea is really attractive! Big part of album isn't rock at all.

"King Harry" is prog with marshing tune and Cpt. Beafheart-style vocal ( only real vocal song in that album).

So, what to say? Really interesting album for those searching in new musical ideas and unusual sounds. I believe, that Zappa,Captain Beafheart or even John Zorn fans will be really interested in that album. For regular prog fans it's better to avoid it ( as well as all other albums with Andy Warhol designed covers).

Review by Sean Trane
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

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars After his highly successful collaboration with minimalist Terry Riley, John Cale decided to release one more album in the vein of a serious composer, unfortunately the resultant Academy in Peril did not reach the same high standards. Not all is serious here though, along with Mr Cale's unique compositions we also get some very weird cinematic episode music.

Three piano and three orchestral pieces represent the 'serious composer' side of this album. Although I'm familiar with almost any form of 20th century composition you can throw at me, Cale's style on this album always alluded me, to say it is unique is an understatement. After many listens I can best describe this style as neo-romantic with a strong minimalist influence. Although Cale presents lush chord progressions that move very freely, the passing tones are replaced with still silences giving the music a fragmented effect. When I say the chord progressions roam freely, that too is an understatement in that sometimes there seems to be an element of John Cage's (Cale's ex-teacher) dice throwing decisions here; aleatoric chord progressions? If that is the experiment, I don't think it worked. Overall Cale's works presented here are interesting and very individualistic, possibly Erik Satie and Lukas Foss are the only other composers that bear any semblance, but quite bluntly, I don't think they are all that good.

Likewise the odd collection of cinema like instrumentals that make up the rest of the album are also interesting, but not very substantial. Most of them have an American kitsch sound featuring instruments such as acoustic slide guitar or calliope type woodwinds. One humorous cut on here has always stood out and made owning this album a pleasure though. Legs Larry at Television Centre presents tense dramatic string quartet melodies that build until a sharp mincing lispy voice comes on the overhead speaker giving pointed directions to the camera crew while they apparently film the quartet. It's a hilarious piece that I have played for many friends who always crack up when Legs Larry pauses and forcefully lisps, 'move in for the kill' to his cameraman while the music builds it's foreboding atmosphere.

As a long-time John Cale fan I enjoy listening to this album and hearing his not quite successful attempts at composition, but likewise I am always willing to give this album another chance in case someday it really hits me what he is trying to do here.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 7/10

"The Academy In Peril" is a surprisingly fascinating work of art.

John Cale was the famous member of the legendary band Velvet Underground. His career as a soloist has some lovers, like also some haters. For some his music is too minimalistic and boring, for others it's beautiful, creepy music. "The Academy In Peril" is one of the musicians' first albums, where all the experimentation and eerie elements seem to many like a naive and immature attempt to be original. I personally have to disagree, being this album full of haunting and interesting moments that I truly did not expect, even because I didn't like it at first listen.

Cale has always been a huge follower of classical music, and his musical and technical preparation was obviously of this genre. Concerning the style of "The Academy In Peril", it is mainly divided in two genres; a more classical influenced part, where Cale finds himself mostly in front of the piano, but other times also with the violin, his main instrument. These tracks are easily defined as Modern Classical, as they aren't any rock elements whatsoever. However, the other songs are still all instrumentals and using classical instruments such as piano and violin, but they have a much more strong Avant-Garde feel to them. An eerie aura surrounds these Experimental compositions,so the music turns out to be very unique sounding.

The production is bleak and minimalistic, which is the element I love the most about the album. The songs themselves are good, some aren't as memorable or fascinating as they should. In fact, I can get bored on the longer songs like "john Milton" or the three instrumental pieces that are included in one, eight minute song, or even the title track. Sometimes it isn't exciting or captivating, an that is an element that is surely necessary for all kinds of music, but especially in Avant-Garde, otherwise people will call it pointless and dull. But the better moments are more frequent than the less better ones. The beautiful homage to Brahms, the opener "The Philosopher", or the disturbing "King Harry" can give a pretty good impression to the listener.

Overall the album is really good, with many great moments that are surprisingly beautiful and haunting. The flaws are present, but all the good stuff saves the album quite a bit. If you're into Classical music and Avant-Garde, I definitely recommend you check this out.

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of JOHN CALE "The Academy In Peril"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.