A complete reworking of the 1982 masterpiece Music For A New Society. John Cale re-contextualizes the original songs into radical new forms to resonate with the digital age. Contains a new recording of a previously lost track from the original session Back To The End.'
Over 50 years in the arena of Contemporary Music and John Cale remains as active and unpredictable as ever; is there a more restless and ruminating spark of an artist, who, at the age of 73, admits he still goes to the studio every day and writes? From classical roots as a precociously gifted Welsh boy to modern classical experiments in New York, that lead to co-founding The Velvet Underground, Cale has filtered that mindset through singer-songwriter, proto-punk and post-punk prisms. His endless fascination has kept us endlessly fascinated, as Cale has consistently created new fissions, including the digital advances of the day, absorbed by hip hop as much as conventional songwriting.
Which is where we find Cale at this precise moment, with not just the re-mastered version of one of his most unique and lauded solo records, the 1982 masterpiece Music For A New Society, but a complete new reworking of the album under the title M:FANS, a record that explores the relationship between old and new, in terms of the sound and vision, and Cales memories of the experience, in terms of his life, and the recording. M: FANS ends with Back To The End, a previously unfinished outtake that Cale rediscovered among the original tapes, whose haunting spectral mood matches anything on the 1982 record. (This version retains Cales original vocal and piano while adding viola).
M:FANS explores the relationship between old and new, in terms of the sound and vision, and Cales memories of the experience, in terms of his life and the recording. Back and forth M:FANS goes, sampling the original, while creating brand new soundscapes, giving Cale the opportunity for closure on one of the most testing eras of his life, and a way to keep moving forward.
Cale shares his thoughts on the reworking:
Making any form of art is always personal to my mind. During the making of M:FANS, I found myself loathing each and every character written about in those original recording sessions of Music For A New Society. Unearthing those tapes reopened those wounds. It was time to decimate the despair from 1981 and breathe new energy, re-write the story. Then, the unthinkable happened. What had informed so much over lost and twisted relationships in 1981 had now come full circle. Losing Lou [too painful to understand] forced me to upend the entire recording process and begin again...a different perspective a new sense of urgency to tell a story from a completely opposite point of view what was once sorrow, was now a form of rage. A fertile ground for exorcism of things gone wrong and the realization they are unchangeable. From sadness came the strength of fire!!!
With Cales current band (featured on his last studio album Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood) involved again, the new versions that constitute M:FANS are more fleshed-out, heavier concoctions, in line with his current electronic/chopped-up configurations.
Music For A New Society had a fraught birth, to say the least. With Cale having folded his Spy label imprint into Michael Zilkhas Ze Records, and retired his band for a run of solo concerts, Zilkha proposed an album to capture this new phase. Rising to the challenge a very good one Cale created a brief for the exercise; to only allow himself the ten days booked in the studio to complete the record, and to only set the tape rolling when he was ready to improvise. Cale once recalled the recording process as, like method acting. Madness. Excruciating. I just let myself go. It became a kind of therapy, a personal exorcism. But that fed into the albums extreme qualities; its nerve-shredding raw intimacy, its fractured, anguished beauty.
In 1982, Music For A New Society sounded exactly like its title: something futuristic, a new kind of songwriting exercise. In 2015, M:FANS is exactly that too, full of electrical crackle and disturbed frequencies, a different kind of dystopian future awaits. John Cale forages on; its the only way he knows how.
180g Heavyweight Vinyl
Limited time download card
2. If You Were Still Around
3. Taking Your Life In Your Hands
4. Thoughtless Kind
5. Sanctus (Sanities Mix)
6. Broken Bird
7. Chinese Envoy
8. Changes Made
9. Library of Force (feat. Man In the Book excerpt)
10. Close Watch
11. If You Were Still Around (choir reprise)
12. Back To the End