June 26 - July 3, 1997
[Music Reviews]
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*** John Cale



Although subtitled Music for the Films of Andy Warhol, this is less movie music than music created for the public remembrance of the artist who made the two films referred to in the disc's title. Featuring a string quartet, two voices (one male, one female), B.J. Cole on pedal steel, Moe Tucker handling percussion, and Cale on keyboards, the program divides into two parts, the 11-movement "Kiss" and the four-movement "Eat."

Kiss is the most recognizably Cale-ish piece. Arising from a lugubrious drone, it's an alternately doomy and zany 40-minute composition that allows Cale to roam from folkish simplicity to postmodern ambiguity without any jarring transitions. The voices are especially well used, at one point adding some parodic yodeling and ya-ya-yas to the kind of mock-pop melody Cale excels at; elsewhere they proclaim wordlessly with high-art portentousness. The more meditative Eat features Cale reading one of the pithier parables of the 18th-century Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg; that's followed by a melancholy, swaying violin solo. Although the Warhol connection remains vague, the music stands on its own as a testament to Cole's ability to stamp pastiche with his own doleful and droll personality.

-- Richard C. Walls

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