Thursday, 26 June 2014

john cale and terry riley's disowned masterpiece

It was one of the most unlikely collaborations of the early 70's when The Velvet Underground luminary John Cale met up with minimalist master Terry Riley and recorded the album 'Church Of Anthrax.' (1971)
Maybe the title had foretold the pair ending up disowning the thing after it had been recorded, Riley walking out at the mixing session and Cale declaring dislike and later damning with faint praise as "a jam with Terry".
Yet you can see how the concept would be more than intriguing at the time. How would Terry Riley's precise almost mathematical approach to notation and his fast keyboard arpeggios work with Cale's raw intense textures of rock and avant garde instrumental experimentation.
Whatever their personal or musical experiences at the time led them to think badly of 'Church Of Anthrax', hearing these recordings 43 years later proves that this monster of an album was worth every moment they shared in its making.
This dangerous and powerful sound has just been reissued on the Esoteric label.
"..the music's kinetic fury and unsettling charge still soars". Gavin Martin. Uncut
Available from