Search - John Cale :: Academy in Peril

Academy in Peril
John Cale
Academy in Peril
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: John Cale
Title: Academy in Peril
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Wea International
Release Date: 4/10/1989
Album Type: Import
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, Experimental Music, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 075992693028, 603497981137, 766483314149, 075992693028

CD Reviews

Mind the boom, love
vxppl | GA United States | 08/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Listeners intrigued by John Cale's magnificent orchestrations and instrumentalism from soundtracks featuring Nick Drake, Nico, etc. (not to mention the perennial Velvet Underground revivals and the reissue of his pre-VU avant garde Dream Syndicate work) should give Cale's third solo album a listen. Academy contains some of his most eccentric and some of his most accessible work, so regardless of your background or tastes, you're likely to be alternately perplexed and pleased--a rare combo.The inverse of the pretentious classical-rock of its era, Academy leaps into the crack between the two genres rather than veneering it over with schmaltz. It leans more to classical than to rock, particularly the modernist (anti)traditions of Satie {3 Orchestral pieces}, Cage {Legs Larry at Television Centre [Legs Larry Smith of the Bonzo Dog Band?]}, and others. "John Milton," the album's lushest piece, recalls Vaughn Williams' Tallis variations--a slow build to a cataclysmic but beautiful eruption of emotion. Still, as the title suggests, the album avoids academic dryness (If I recall correctly, Cale was kicked out of music school for compositions that Howard Hanson deemed too violent.)Academy also contains some of Cale's best piano work (rivaling the playing on Church of Anthrax, on Nico's Marble Index, and on the soundtrack to Jonathan Demme's "Who Am I This Time"). Given time and attention, what may seem to be a curiosity on first listening will grow to be a classic."
Kerry Leimer | Makawao, Hawaii United States | 07/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"An eclectic album of wide range and deft touch, "The Academy in Peril" was my first exposure to John Cale and, fortunately, I was young and impressionable enough to accept this as the way things should be. It led me to think that such music and musicianship would prove to be everywhere, readily available, all the time. That I could look forward to "Legs" Larry Smith guesting on any number of albums. That I'd have a lifetime of listening to the interplay of serious and playful ideas, of melancholy chamber music, disarming musique verite and even more popular forms, all in perfect juxtaposition and brought together by an organizing principle and talent which I would need to learn to better understand and appreciate.

Of course I was wrong. You have to work at finding work like this. And, besides, it turns out that there are very few records -- or composers for that matter -- willing to embrace such an extensive range of expression over the course of only 40 minutes or so, and actually pull it off with such expert artistry. Unique even within Cale's catalog, we are now hard pressed to find many others like it. Only two come along during the intervening years: Mike Heron's "Smiling Men" (which, coincidentally, features arrangements by Mr. Cale, as well as a few moving viola passages) and Robert Fripp's recently restored "Exposure", each eccentric in ways different from John Cale's immaculately conceived reference standard.

If you happen to be interested in actual Music, not just a single, narrower-by-the-day niche, "The Academy in Peril" remains an excellent primer that, even more than thirty years later is entirely capable of opening some doors for you -- and even opening your ears."
Not for Cale's rock following
Pieter | Johannesburg | 12/12/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This mostly instrumental album, Cale's excursion into the purely classical, is not one for his rock following. The two tracks with vocals are Legs Larry at TV Centre and King Harry. The first has slow mournful music with a male vocal commenting on the instruments and camera angles. Much more appealing is the upbeat King Harry with its lovely tune; it's a percussive number with whispered or vocoder vocals. A trumpet eventually joins the mix.

The percussive intro The Philosopher sounds dodecatonal or atonal and has interesting keyboards or piano whilst Brahms, a purely classical piece, is a downtempo number with notable keyboard patterns. The title track, a piano piece, meanders without really going anywhere. Following a swirling intro, the appealing Days of Steam is another track with a percussive texture, foot-tapping tune and pop appeal.

Then follow the true-blue 3 orchestral pieces: Faust, a lingering intro, The Balance which picks up to a stately tempo after a subdued start and Captain Morgan's Lament, a track that reveals some variety after a slow & ominous beginning. John Milton is a mournful, pastoral excursion with prominent piano, a somber melody and swirling sounds again. None of it is particularly melodious.

With some exceptions as mentioned above, most tracks sound like uninspiring classical music - that is, uninspiring to these ears. No doubt it has great merit in its genre but I doubt whether the fans will appreciate it. Besides the songs King Harry & Days of Steam, Cale's rock followers will not find much to enjoy here. Those who love classical music will appreciate the album more than the average fan.