or the past several years, John Cale, the Welsh musician and co-founder of the Velvet Underground, has been selectively reissuing his back catalogue. Some of these efforts are straightforward: an old record is remastered, and given new packaging, an updated set of liner notes, and perhaps a new video. Others are wild reimaginings. This spring, Cale will be seventy-five. Lou Reed, his collaborator in the Velvet Underground, died in 2013, followed by other friends and peers: Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, the experimental composer Pauline Oliveros. It can feel, at times, as if Cale is tidying his legacy—dusting the house before company comes by.
Last month, Cale reissued “Fragments of a Rainy Season,” a live album recorded at various stops on a 1991 world tour. He was usually accompanied only by his own piano playing, and the set list included compositions from different eras in his discography, along with covers of lonesome songs like “Heartbreak Hotel.” For the reissue, Cale added eight new tracks: some alternative versions—including a second, more jarring “Heartbreak Hotel,” with distorted strings and other inconsonant noises—and some songs that didn’t make the original cut.
The album art features an exchange from “Macbeth”:
Banquo: It will be rain tonight.
1st Murderer: Let it come down.
Read more at The New Yorker.