Monday, 28 October 2013

Lou Reed and John Cale

None of the tv tributes which I have watched to Lou Reed, who died yesterday, have mentioned his collaboration with John Cale in the Velvet Underground. But it was that collaboration which produced Reed's best music, and it was the Welshman's experience of avant-garde music (he studied with Lamonte Young) that injected into rock music at that point a brilliantly discordant edge. Cale also made a brilliant album with Terry Riley called Church of Anthrax which I used to own on vinyl and which doesn't seem to exist on cd. But the fraught, horrified, yet somehow melodious screech of Cale's viola at the start of Venus in Furs is one of the most memorable moments in rock music history.