John Cale’s Inventive Retrospection

For the past several years, John Cale, the Welsh musician and co-founder of the Velvet Underground, has been selectively reissuing his back catalogue. Some of these efforts are straightforward: an old record is remastered, and given new packaging, an updated set of liner notes, and perhaps a new video. Others are wild reimaginings. This spring, Cale will be seventy-five. Lou Reed, his collaborator in the Velvet Underground, died in 2013, followed by other friends and peers: Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, the experimental composer Pauline Oliveros. It can feel, at times, as if Cale is tidying his legacy-dusting the house before company comes by.

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