on 4 February 2006
Before he was a part of The Velvet Underground, composer and multi-instrumentalist John Cale was involved in a unique group of New York-based composer/musicians known as the Dream Syndicate. Other members of this group included LaMonte Young and Tony Conrad. "Sun Blindness Music" is the first in a series of three CDs which showcase John Cale's avant-garde experiments from the mid to late '60s. Three lengthy tracks make up this album and although each of them are different from each other, the idea behind them is basically the same. What we have here is simply a series of drones created on different instruments. The opening title track runs close to 43-minutes and was performed entirely on a Vox Continental electric organ. Listening to this piece requires some patience and appreciation. It simply consists of a single chord which is held down for a dangerously long time. Over the course of it's 43-minutes, the chord sometimes shifts by a few tones or even a few microtones. Also, the volume of the piece shifts back and forth between normal hearing range to almost complete inaudibility to full volume that sometimes overloads into distortion. This is a very challenging piece of music in both performance and for the listener.
The second piece "Summer Heat" was performed on an electric guitar and consists of a heavily distorted jagged rhythm similar to Cale's later work with the Velvets. At times, the music refrains from its rhythm and sustains into humming feedback.
The third and last piece "The Second Fortress" again features the Vox organ. Instead of focusing on a single chord as on the opening piece, Cale modifies the organ to create an eerie sweeping electronic soundscape. This predates what was to become known as 'ambient music' by nearly a decade. Perhaps, Cale's early work was influential to Brian Eno as this piece is not too disimilar to Brian's ambient experiments of the mid '70s. This is definitely very different music. It's not rock and roll and could only marginally be classified as modern classical music. It's definitely worth checking out if you're looking for music that is out of the ordinary. It's Open-Minded Music for Open-Minded People.
on 1 June 2003
To say this was a home recording done on reel to reel 40 years ago this is fantasticly high quality recordings which is more than can be said for the Dream Syndicate Vol. 1 disc. The dronology and harmonics are all realised to full audio potential thanx to Mr. Conrad. Some people will hate this and call it pretentious. But that is to be expected. I think the results are fantasticly interesting experimentations which are unlike anything else. The vox organ title piece is reminiscent to the kind of thing Lou Reed did with Metal Machine Music (and i think this reveals where he got his ideas about that piece) and the track SUMMER HEAT is a fantastic thunderous droning rift on guitar that repeats and repeats but with subtle variations in tonality which prevents it being boring, then we delve into the icy artic sounds of the final track. A documentary of a fantastic oddysey from a truly great and original artist who made the first 2 velvets records so great and why the ones without him lost there edge is explained when that "edge" is presented in this undiluted format...