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Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is an album that seems born out of John's mischievous youth. It is the result of sessions held at Cale's LA studio. With days spent experimenting with MPCs, pounding fists onto pianos, manipulating glitches and lots of signature viola drone while patiently waiting for songs to reveal themselves. There was also a spontaneous session with Danger Mouse that resulted in the opening track, "I Wanna Talk 2 U." As a producer Cale has reached a new plateau on this record. He deftly manages to blend equal measures of chaos and beauty.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 9, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino
  • ASIN: B008SVS05K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,200 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I dunno what the reviewers are listening to -- I've seen several reviews of John Cale's first CD in seven years, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Land, and they describe an odd-ball disc that Cale scratched out of his studio. Nothing could be farther from the truth. My guess is these are novice reviewers who relied on ancient bios of Cale's work with the Velvets, and who don't know his catalog. Anyone who knows Cale's last 5-6 albums will immediately recognize what they're hearing. There's nothing odd-ball about it. Tight new songs with Cale's trademark orchestration and production -- nothing left to chance, nothing sloppy. If there's anything experimental here, it's the musical ideas. It's the same high caliber experimentation Cale always delivers. When his recordings hit the disc, there's no producer that can compete with the quality of his work. You can tell this is a man who is facile with orchestras, ballet, rock bands, electronic music, acoustic sound, and that touch of the spaghetti western. Cale is always listenable. This disc is outstanding -- lush beats, lyrical melodies, and the sometimes gutteral edge he's known for. Then there's the drone. Can't match it. At 70, his voice is rich and emotive as ever. Adventures is a new sound that reflects the best of what's going on in music today, brought out by a master. If you like Cale's work, you won't be disappointed. Based on the reviews in various publications, I was expecting a "street" record made off the cuff. This is first-class John Cale. Highly recommended whether you know John Cale's records, or if you're new. One listen, and I know I'm going to hear something new on each track with every listen. Thanks, John, for a good one.
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Format: Audio CD
John Cale is a co-founder of The Velvet Underground and I took note of this album because of the involvement of one of my favourite producers Danger Mouse. "I Wanna Talk To You" is a lovely funky rocker with Danger Mouse and it sounds spontaneous and free. "Scotland Yard" is a choppy Bowie-esque number taking a look at the UK riots of summer 2011.

Other standouts are "Face To The Sky" (filled with interesting drum and synth flourishes), the eerie "Nookie Wood" (with hushed vocals), "the catchy December Rains" (Disco-ish with auto-tuned vocals), the brilliant ballad "Mary", the haunting shuffle "Vampire Café" (with semi-spoken lyrics touching on homophobia), "Mothra" (again, auto tuned-vocals set to skittery beats), and the funereal ballad "Midnight Feast".

Filled with unexpected piano turns, strangely beautiful synth effects, and colourful drum patterns, John Cale has always been at the cutting edge of Rock, and aged 70, he shows no sign of slowing down or losing his bite.
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Cale has always had a journalist's and an artist's eye for war (Check his album Sabotage) and life (Music For a New Society and all other albums). For Cale to evoke Hemingway on this album is very appropriate. Cale has reported on the horror and the terror and the beauty of life throughout his career. To my ears and mind he's done it better than almost any other musical artist out there. Cale has not gotten bogged down (not for long anyway) on the "nada" that froze Hemingway and finally destroyed him. Hemingway was one of the greatest writer/journalists that ever lived and the song "Hemingway" captures his artistic essence, filtered through Cale's expression. I love every song on this album but "Hemingway" with Cale's graveyard stomp piano and great vocals and lyrics, is my favorite.

Musically this is a lush beauty. Much time, evidently, was spent on the production and arrangements here and it shows. His voice is in good shape and especially the background vocals are gorgeous. Even when he changes the sound of his voice through studio effects he pulls it off terrifically. The rhythms and percussion, instrumentation and various sound effects are uniquely Cale. Every song has something unique to offer and the lyrics are deep and sometimes mysterious. It moves with a shifty artistry. Cale has said that he doesn't like to do the same kind of music all the time with the same sound and really his whole career has made that obvious. This is so different that it may take some listeners time to get it but it will be worth it. This is an adventure in music, sound and poetry.

Nookie Wood, with all it's creatures is a strange and wonderful place to visit.......later for "nada'.
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Like several of the other reviewers, i thought this album sucked the first time I heard it. All the songs sounded the same, and they sounded fairly middle of the road. I filed it away (in the John Cale section, of course).
About a month later I sez to myself, I sez "let's give it another spin". Well, what do you know? I couldn't 't have been more mistaken. The thing is great! The songs are actually quite varied; musically, sonically, thematically and lyrically excellent.
This long-time Cale fan (i.e. I'm over 60, yes) is glad to have seen the light and happy to report that our hero is still at the top of his game.
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Seven years after the release of his last album, John Cale has released his fifteenth studio album. For over four decades, Cale has been famous for being one of the founding members of legendary rock band the Velvet Underground and for his own solo material. In his long musical career, Cale isn't afraid to try one genre at least once. With that being said, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is a very good album. While it might not be a classic, it certainly is an impressive piece of work from the 70-year-old Cale.

As mentioned before, Cale will try any genre at least once. This album sees Cale experimenting with electronic music. While that may sound like a turn off for most people, Cale makes it work. "I Wanna Talk 2 You" is the album's first song and it's great to hear Cale's voice after all these years. Cale collaborates with Danger Mouse on the first track, which is pretty interesting. Hearing all the electronic sounds might be strange first but in the end, "I Wanna Talk 2 You" is a great track. "Scotland Yard" is a great sounding track. The song takes advantage of the electronic sounds used on this album. Cale's voice on this track, although a bit aged, sounds like it did on his earlier albums. "Face to the Sky" might be my personal favorite song off the album. It's interesting to hear Cale use Autotune (if not, then some other kind of sound effect makes his voice sound robotic) on one of his own tracks. The music itself makes the track even more brilliant and quiet catchy as well. "December Rains", at first, sounds like a weak track but the lyrics are actually quite clever. "With Google getting on your nerves/And politics left and right" sings Cale "Kiss your private life goodbye/Lights out say goodnight." Cale also declares on this track "I'm trying to keep the noise down".
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