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Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood

John Cale Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 10.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Oct 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Double Six Records
  • ASIN: B008RA0186
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,227 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I Wanna Talk 2 U (feat. Danger Mouse)
2. Scotland Yard
3. Hemmingway
4. Face to the Sky
5. Nookie Wood
6. December Rains
7. Mary
8. Vampire Cafe
9. Mothra
10. Living with You
11. Midnight Feast
12. Sandman (Flying Dutchman)

Product Description

Product Description

Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is a title to set tongues wagging and minds wondering, but for an album that seems born of a return to John’s youth it seems safely apt in its mischievousness. After nearly 50 years of making music it’s still freshly evident that Cale draws from a make believe world first imagined by his young self. Track title ‘Mothra’ pays homage to the Japanese monster from Godzilla movies. As a boy practicing scales in grey skied Welsh valleys such fantastical flights of fancy must have been reassuring of the path that was potentially about to unfold for him. Lyrics reveal even more explicitly earlier incarnations of Cale and in the same song we relive an encounter with a local bully, "You see me running, you see me climb, reading my books and always trying, laughing and teasing and I love to play, dreaming my dreams are never far away" Elsewhere Cale’s doing what he does best, guiding listeners through the places, politics, and people of the day. A wide range of human experience is reflected and often it’s for the listener to dig deeper to find what’s being documented. Sometimes however part of the tapestry is pulled soberingly into focus; when listening to ‘Scotland Yard’ while the Leveson enquiry plays out, it’s all too easy to recognize the guilty. As a producer Cale has reached a new plateau on this record. At the albums most maximal, it feels like looking at a collection of precious stones. Myriads of differently coloured and textured surfaces carefully placed together, each finding their own space to beckon the ear. It’s a blend of chaos and beauty in equal measure and a testament to the exploratory spirit at work, which ensures that as always, there's something new to the ears here.

BBC Review

It’s unfair that, almost half a century since their formation, John Cale remains best known for his role as co-founder of The Velvet Underground.

Navigating a path between the mainstream and unconventional, he’s maintained his early avant-garde tendencies while releasing a slew of solo albums of enviable diversity. He’s also composed soundtracks, worked with the likes of Nick Drake and Terry Riley, and produced artists such as Patti Smith, The Stooges and Happy Mondays. His reputation, however, is perhaps indicative of the fact that, of the band’s members, he’s arguably remained truest to their adventurous spirit.

As the title suggests, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood, his first full length in seven years, is a typically mischievous release. Characterised by Cale’s instantly recognisable, sombre delivery, it sees him turn his attention to the kind of adult contemporary pop recently favoured by David Byrne.

This time, however, Cale frequently pushes his voice through an electronic blender: he appears to be gargling mouthwash on Hemingway, and Living With You finds him distorted and dropped back in the mix. Both December Rains and Mothra, meanwhile, sport vocoder, albeit employed with a welcome restraint.

It’s hard to pretend this is entirely cutting-edge stuff, but the 70-year-old shows no sign of softening, his production rich without bowing to commercialism, his compositions full of unexpected twists and aggression.

These characteristics are particularly evident on the opening I Wanna Talk 2 U, a collaboration with Danger Mouse (from 2008) which trades hints of funk guitar and Eno-esque synths for a menacing chorus. Later, Scotland Yard, powered by a thunderous industrial beat, at times recalls a fresh, if claustrophobic, take on The The’s neglected 1986 masterpiece, Infected.

They’re balanced by tracks such as the haunting Vampire Café, which shuffles along like a sluggish take on Radiohead’s Bloom, and Mary, a thoughtful reflection on homophobia. In fact, by the time closing track Sandman (Flying Dutchman) has sighed its last breath, thoughts of The Velvet Underground have been almost entirely banished.

--Wyndham Wallace

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CALE STILL ENJOYABLY CHALLENGING 8 Oct 2012
Format:Audio CD
I read a review in Uncut magazine which praised this album and promptly dumped it with six stars! I read an account somewhere else which said this LP amounted to Cale's adventures in dance music.

The lack of quality reviewers for someone as important to the rock world as Cale is tremendously disappointing (but perhaps shouldn't be surprising). At time of writing, there are already two reviews on this page by people who clearly know what they're on about.

If you have never heard John Cale before, aside from his VU work, this is a good place to start. I'm a little biased because I've immersed myself in all of his solo work and aside from a lean (but still interesting) period in the mid-Eighties, I love every album.

But to try to be objective, it's fair to say 'Nookie Wood' continues the hot streak evident on 'Hobosapiens' and 'blackAcetate'-- while not as epic as the former, it's not as abrasive as the latter.

For those that were listening, last year's EP provides a worthy primer. I think it's one of the best albums of the year.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lead In His Pencil 4 Oct 2012
Format:Audio CD
John Cale was seventy years old this year and on the evidence available
on his new album 'Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood' (just loving the title
Mr Cale!) he still has lead aplenty in his pencil. There's a vibrancy and
finesse in these twelve new songs which not only belies his many years in
the business but demonstrates beyond doubt that he remains a major force
in the contemporary musical firmament. The project has a blissfully dark
ambience shot through with flashes of wry humour and deft melodic and rhythmic
invention. His fine band : Dustin Boyer (guitars, synth and backing vocals);
Joey Maramba (Bass) and Michael Jerome Moore (Drums) cook up a hot broth of
gritty sound around Mr Cale's inimitably gruff vocals. The voice is in
remarkably good shape for a septuagenarian. The man can still hold a tune with
the best. Perhaps the most striking thing of all, however, is how remarkably
easy it all seems. A consummate musician blissfully comfortable in his own skin.

Of the treasures on offer (and there isn't a bad egg in the box) 'Mary' comes
very close to being top of the pile. A warmly articulated performance of a
truly beautiful melody; chock full of tenderness and pathos. A real heart stopper!
'Nookie Wood' is a another cracker. A squelchy piece of swampy voodoo, a tad
redolent of eighties Berlin Bowie. So too the quasi-psychedelic ebb and flow of
'Face To The Sky', studded with angular electric guitar and a strikingly focused
vocal. The faltering beats of 'Vampire Cafe' shuffle and scrape along with spooky
aplomb and the lovely 'Living With You' positively glows with warm emotion.

Mr Cale has been a constant in my collection since the Velvet Underground years.
With this terrific album there is every good reason that he should remain there.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this record 2 Nov 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Nookie Wood is brilliantly produced - in fact probably the most satisfying production I've heard in the last couple of years. What Kanye attempts on Yeezus, Cale achieves here.

Nookie Wood is a kind of crepuscular, demi-monde alternate version of the world we live in today. The track Scotland Yard could be the soundtrack to the whole weird Snowden/ Prism story and presciently enough was released months prior to the revelations, and got associated with Leveson instead, which is fair enough. Elsewhere the song December Rains humorously makes mention of Google "getting on your nerves". But neither of these songs is dark or vituperative, instead Cale just appears to be acknowledging just how weird the present is.

Face to the Sky is a great listen at this time of year (as is most of this record, it's well autumnal innit). Slightly off-centre half-light atmospheric vibe:

"She is standing, listening to the wind
Dark is lifting, a face to the sky
A homecoming laughter swirling around her

Dizzy as a top on a chess board".

A great record.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Play it again, John 6 Feb 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I can't remember an album (Long Play or CD) by John Cale that wasn't good, extraordinary or simply a masterpiece. I have no words for this artist, just I recommend this item for anyone who loves music. Thank you very much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Cale 11 Jan 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A very inspired album and one of his best, I took a gamble - never having heard even one track before purchase - the missus loves it !
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