|Total Album Time:||66:29|
|by James Barry
August 4, 2005
John Cale's score to Process begins with the "Theme Intro." Many, upon seeing such titles as this and "Reading the Poem" would jump to more melodically inclined conclusions than those that Cale himself has reached. We would be very, very wrong. I should have known better. John Cale's career - from his work with minimalist revolutionary LaMont Young through co-founding the seminal "proto-punk" group the Velvet Underground and well beyond - has been defined by it's restlessness and his complete inability to be pigeon-holed. With his limited body of film scores (at least released domestically), this is no less true: Cale is always looking to do something unique and different from project to project, and Process is no exception. Unfortunately, it's not very entertaining.
Cale's approach to the score is absolutely spartan: it is performed entirely on solo piano with the odd electronic drone or ambient effect. To discuss the score's thematic material would be moot, as it has no "theme" aside from its style. To my ears, the score is not-too-distant stylistic cousin to the solo piano work of John Cage - it is not atonal, per se, but manages to get a lot of dissonance out of the "white keys" on the piano, and can sometimes sound as though the choice of notes was arrived at largely by chance. Add to that a glacial pace at which the score unfolds - one would pray that a cue with the word "rape" in the title would mercifully last less than thirteen minutes - and you're left with one of John Cale's least satisfying CD releases.
Do not despair, though - there's a reason many of us still like the guy. If you're looking for a wonderfully strange but catchy rock/pop album, his "Hobo Sapiens" was one of the more unique and interesting releases last year. It's a John Cale budget better spent than on Process.
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