@iamholgerczukay I think that's definitely accurate. Cale was at the forefront of a lot of experimentation and innovation throughout the years (in fact he along with Tony Conrad deserves much more credit in the development of Drone music, which La Monte Young has basically fucked him/them out of). Reed wasn't exactly mainstream himself but there can be little argument that when Cale left the VU their penchant for weird experimentation basically stopped. That's not necessarily a bad thing though as the self-titled third album is great and it's unlikely they ever would've topped the Nico record anyway. But yeah, Cale deserves a lot more credit in general for the hand he had in the development of a lot of the more interesting genres/subgenres of music to sprout up from about 1965 on. He should be praised in the same way as, say, Brian Eno, IMO.
@iamholgerczukay That's kind of silly. There are way too many variables involved in that equation to say that one guy is better than the other because of how the band they were once in together sounded without one of them.
"Music For A New Society" is phenomenal. I'd been wanting to hear it for a while after reading comparisons between it and his work with Nico. I can see why many consider it his masterpiece. The rerecording of "(I Keep A) Close Watch" is to the album what Nico's "Afraid" is to "Desertshore". An achingly beautiful moment, an oasis.. but then you come to realise that everything around it is beautiful as well. Just a different kind of beauty. The album would be close to that strange, impossible thing called perfection if Cale's label hadn't forced him to include "Changes Made" which although a decent song by itself, feels totally out of place here.
Sadly, I couldn't enjoy much his rock approach. However, his more experimental and instrumental efforts really were a stand-out for me. The Academy In Peril stimulates my imagination like nothing else.
Mr Cale is a genius. Exploring his discography is like going into an old, forgotten attic. You don't know what weird and wonderful things you are going to stumble across. I just bought his ep "5 Tracks". It's very good. "Wilderness Approaching" completely stopped me in my tracks, making me go cold all over.