See John Cale Attend Dreamlike Masquerade in Eerie 'Close Watch' Video - Rolling Stone
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See John Cale Attend Dreamlike Masquerade in Eerie ‘Close Watch’ Video

Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman joins former Velvet Underground member for track off upcoming ‘M:FANS’ LP

John Cale rendezvouses with Dirty Projectors singer Amber Coffman at a gauzy, dreamlike masquerade in the video for his new version of “Close Watch,” which will appear on the former Velvet Underground violist’s M:FANS album. The record is a reworking of every song on his 1982 solo classic Music for a New Society, in an effort to make the songs sound even more futuristic. In the video, directed by Animal Collective designer Abby Portner, Cale and Coffman navigate a deluge of bizarrely masked revelers – one has faces all around their head – as they sing the song next to each other.

In the case of “Close Watch,” the title of which alludes to Johnny Cash’s “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine” line in “Walk the Line,” the singer-songwriter turns the transcendent, introspective piano ballad into an avant-garde, ambient pop meditation. Where the original featured touches of lush, sometimes surprising textures of church organ, autoharp and bagpipes, the M:FANS version finds Cale indulging snaky electric guitar, Auto-Tune and wobbly electronics; the scratchy autoharp remains. Moreover, Coffman’s soprano harmonies complement the vocal melody in a new way.

“Making any form of art is always personal to my mind,” Cale said in a statement. “During the making of M:FANS, I found myself loathing each and every character written about in those original recording sessions of Music for a New Society. Unearthing those tapes reopened those wounds. It was time to decimate the despair from 1981 and breathe new energy, re-write the story.

“Then, the unthinkable happened,” he continued. “What had informed so much over lost and twisted relationships in 1981 had now come full circle. Losing Lou [too painful to understand] forced me to upend the entire recording process and begin again … a different perspective – a new sense of urgency to tell a story from a completely opposite point of view – what was once sorrow, was now a form of rage. A fertile ground for exorcism of things gone wrong and the realization they are unchangeable. From sadness came the strength of fire!!!”

Both M:FANS and a remastered, deluxe edition of Music for a New Society will be available as a double-disc package and bundled together digitally on January 22nd. Each album will also be available as a stand-alone LP.

M:FANS Track List

1. “Prelude”
2. “If You Were Still Around”
3. “Taking Your Life in Your Hands”
4. “Thoughtless Kind”
5. “Sanctus (Sanities Mix)”
6. “Broken Bird”
7. “Chinese Envoy”
8. “Changes Made”
9. “Library of Force” (featuring “Man in the Book” excerpt)
10. “Close Watch”
11. “If You Were Still Around (Choir Reprise)”
12. “Back to the End”

Music for a New Society Track List

1. “Taking Your Life in Your Hands”
2. “Thoughtless Kind”
3. “Sanctus (Sanities)”
4. “If You Were Still Around”
5. “Close Watch”
6. “Broken Bird”
7. “Chinese Envoy”
8. “Changes Made”
9. “Damn Life”
10. “Risé, Sam and Rimsky Korsakov”
11. “Library of Force” (Unreleased)
12. “Chinese Envoy” (Outtake)
13. “Thoughtless Kind” (Outtake)

In This Article: John Cale


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