The range of John Cale
's work can be shocking: it's hard to believe that the piano duets with minimalist composer Terry Riley
on Church of Anthrax
, the lush orchestral pop of Paris 1919
, and the raucous, dissonant guitar rock of "Gun" and the rest of Fear
are all the work of the same man, much less that they were all released within a four-year span. The well-chosen 38-track, two-and-a-half-hour double-CD/cassette anthology Seducing Down the Door
does nothing to reconcile the apparent musical contradictions in Cale
's classical-to-punk sensibility, but it does bring coherence and consolidation to a recording career that, spread across a multitude of labels and plagued by popular indifference, has been difficult to grasp as a whole.