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John Cale - Church of Anthrax (with Terry Riley) CD (album) cover

CHURCH OF ANTHRAX (WITH TERRY RILEY)

John Cale

 

Prog Related

4.30 | 43 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars In 1969 John McClure, the leader of CBS Masterworks, had a revolutionary idea to bring together these two figures from New York's avantgarde circles to make an album. The Welsh John Cale had naturally been in Velvet Underground, and Terry Riley had released his highly influential albums In C and A Rainbow in Curved Air that are connected to the minimalistic movement. The improvisation- based collaboration worked well until all of a sudden, during the mixing, Riley felt his ideas weren't taken seriously enough and bitterly walked out of the unfinished project. Before the album was finally released in 1971, Cale had already released his debut Vintage Violence.

The end result is however closer to the mentioned Riley works than anything Cale has ever since done as a solo artist. According to Cale he dug out the funk hidden in Riley's hypnotic patterns of organ and soprano saxophone. Whatever, this unique fusion of minimalism, experimental rock and free jazz is not as hard to digest as one could expect. There are three longer tracks between nearly eight and eleven minutes - my favourite is probably the title track - plus two short ones. The other of them, 'The Soul of Patrick Lee', is written by Cale only and features the vocals of Adam Miller. It feels somewhat out of place amidst the more innovative material. The album's total running time is approximately 33 minutes only, but that doesn't prevent it being an interesting work that has fully deserved its cult status. Esoteric Recordings' re-release features a detailed essay - and this little review is translated from my article on ER's numerous recent releases. Sorry to give very little information on how I personally was impressed by this album. I guess I like it to some degree but can live very well without it too. 3˝ stars rounded up for uniqueness and notable historical value.

Matti | 4/5 |

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