John Cale in his home studio 2024
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale

Timeline: 2024

Still from the Pretty People video

Pretty People video

On February 5 a video for Pretty People is released. The track can be found on the bonus 7" that is included with the limited 2LP on blue transparent vinyl edition of Mercy. The clip was directed by Abigail Portner. His guitarist and right-hand man Dustin Boyer created the animations.

The Marble Index & Desertshore reissues

The Marble Index & Desertshore reissues

After being out of print for quite a long time, Nico's The Marble Index and Desertshore are reissued on March 9 on CD and LP. The audio was remastered and taken from the original tapes. Both albums include previously unreleased photos of Nico by Guy Webster.

Roses in the Snow and Nibelungen, two outtakes from The Marble Index, will be released on a 7" single. They were already included on the The Frozen Borderline 1968-1970 2CD (2007).

"What Nico wanted most, was to be considered her own artist, not someone else's flavor-of-the-month. The Marble Index & Desertshore: her everlasting footprints."
Still from the How We See The Light video

How We See The Light single + video

On March 26 the How We See The Light single is released as a first taste for the POPtical Illusion album. The video was directed by Pepi Ginsberg. It is their second collaboration. The clip for Noise Of You was the first in 2023.

La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela

Marian Zazeela dies

Marian Zazeela, light artist, designer, calligrapher, painter, and musician, dies in her home in New York on March 28. She was a close collaborator of minimal composer La Monte Young, and performed with Cale in the avant-garde ensemble The Theatre of Eternal Music in the early Sixties, exploring drones.

Sturgis Nikides

Sturgis Nikides dies

Guitarist Sturgis Nikides succumbs to an agressive form of cancer on April 9. He was 66. He started out in the NYC punk in the late Seventies, before becoming a member of Cale's band in 1979 - he can be heard on the Mercenaries single and the Honi Soit album.

John Cale posted this on his Facebook:

One of the most important things a bandleader can hope for is a powerhouse musician and the forging of friendship along the way. When I met Sturgis Nikides, he walloped me with a wicked sense of humour and abundance of kindness - the musicianship, he had in spades. All that he is, will remain with me for the rest of my life. xx jc
Eno soundtrack

"Spinning Away" on Eno documentary soundtrack

Spinning Away from the Wrong Way Up album is included on the soundtrack for the Gary Hustwit documentary about Brian Eno.

The soundtrack is a summation of Eno's prolific output as a solo artist and collaborator. The album is released on April 19.

Still from the Shark-Shark video

Shark-Shark single + video

On May 8 the Shark-Shark single is released as the second single from the POPtical Illusion album. It is a purposely distorted song, where a dirty sounding guitar leads the way to a place where an avant-garde performance of Swan Lake brushes shoulders with art rock. The video was directed by Abigail Portner.

"Sometimes, you write a song purely for a mood. "Shark-Shark" has two versions - both a nod to finding humor in music. When you're feeling too much of the real world, the best diversion is something that puts a grin on your face. I don't know how Abby and team kept this shoot together; being "unserious" was a lot of fun!"

POPtical Illusion

New album "POPtical Illusion"

A new studio album, POPtical Illusion, will be released on June 14.

Despite the album's playful title, Cale's second album in just over a year still contains the same feelings of fierce and inquisitive rage that were present in 2023 album MERCY. He remains angry, still incensed by the willful destruction that unchecked capitalists and unrepentant conmen have hoisted upon the wonders of this world and the goodness of its people. But this is not at all MERCY II, or some collection of castoffs, as throughout his career of more than six decades, Cale has never been much for repetition. His vanguard-shaping enthusiasms have shifted among ecstatic classicism and unbound rock, classic songcraft and electronic reimagination with proud restlessness.

And so, on POPtical Illusion, he foregoes the illustrious cast to burrow mostly alone into mazes of synthesizers and samples, organs and pianos, with words that, as far as Cale goes, constitute a sort of swirling hope, a sage insistence that change is yet possible. Produced by Cale and longtime artistic partner Nita Scott, POPtical Illusion is the work of someone trying to turn toward the future - exactly as Cale always has.
POPtical Illusion illusionary twirling paper

The Japanese CD version has two bonus tracks: Running Out and Invention of Language. The limited edition 2LP (1000 copies) comes with an illusionary twirling paper Objet and a bonus 7" single with two exclusive tracks: Beethoven In The Old West and News Of Nicholas. The vinyl version has a different mix of the Shark-Shark track and does not include All Too Good. Customers who buy the 2LP will be able to hear the original version on the LP only and will also have access to the new version via the Download card and the omitted track.

© 1999- Hans Werksman