John Cale, the multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer who lent the Velvet Underground a good deal of their left-of-center musical edge, may be in his seventies, but he seems completely disinterested in looking back. Even when he performs old material like Paris 1919, which he has been doing over the past several years with a full chamber orchestra, he constantly reworks the compositions. For "Life Along the Borderline," his tribute to Velvet Underground compartriot Nico, Cale relishes the fact that all of her songs are open to interpretation and alteration. His darkly shaded new album, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood, finds him pushing forward to new territory. Many die-hard fans of vintage Cale (and Vintage Violence) may wince at the tracks with vocoder, but still, you've got to give credit where credit is due. He did teach us how a viola could drone, afterall.
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