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Artificial Intelligence

John Cale

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Album Review

Though this is still nowhere near prime John Cale, 1985's Artificial Intelligence is a big step up from its predecessor, 1984's weak and sloppy Caribbean Sunset. For the first time in his career, Cale works with a collaborator on each song: Rock journalist Larry Sloman (later to gain a certain measure of fame as the model for the pesky Ratso character in Kinky Friedman's comic mystery novels) wrote the lyrics for all nine songs, with guitarist and co-producer David Young chipping in on two of them. Sloman's lyrics are uneven, ranging from the nonsensical "Satellite Walk" to the affecting "Dying on the Vine," one of the loveliest and most haunting songs of John Cale's entire career. Musically, the album sounds a bit dated in its reliance on standard mid-'80s synths and drum machines, but the production is worlds better than it had been on the muddy Caribbean Sunset, with the atmospheric "Every Time the Dogs Bark" and "Chinese Takeaway (Hong Kong 1997)" benefiting the most. Artificial Intelligence is no Paris 1919, but it's an encouraging partial return to form.

Biography

Born: March 09, 1942 in Garnant, Wales

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While John Cale is one of the most famous and, in his own way, influential underground rock musicians, he is also one of the hardest to pin down stylistically. Much has been made of his schooling in classical and avant-garde music, yet much of what he's recorded has been decidedly song-oriented, dovetailing close to the mainstream at times. Terming him a forefather of punk and new wave isn't exactly accurate either. Those investigating his work for the first time under that premise may be surprised...
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Artificial Intelligence, John Cale
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