Metal Machine Music
Performer: Lou Reed
Producer: Lou Reed; Rob Santos (Reissue)...
Distributor: BMG (distributor)
Notes: Personnel: Lou Reed (vocals, guitar, keyboards). Liner Note Author: David Fricke. 1975's METAL MACHINE MUSIC is, without question, the one album in Lou Reed's oeuvre that inspires the most hyperbole in critic's pens, and one of the harshest records ever released by a major record company. Originally a double LP, it consists of four tracks, each hovering around the 16-minute mark, of guitar feedback looped over and over, and then layered innumerable times. There are no vocals, no beats, and no songs. And yet, despite all this, the album is by no means random noise designed solely to irritate listeners, as many detractors have claimed. There's a definite overall structure to the electronic effects. As the direct forerunner to punk, industrial, ambient, electronic, and even new age music, METAL MACHINE MUSIC is an essential document and one of the most influential albums in non-mainstream music. In its own right, it is a fascinating sonic experiment--though it's almost guaranteed that your pets will hate every second of it.
Spin (p.78) - "MMM has inspired generations of background din since." Uncut (p.102) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[S]ince its release in 1975 METAL MACHINE MUSIC has been reappraised as an important piece of avant-garde classical music and a forerunner of industrial rock." Alternative Press (3/01, p.88) - "...Heard now, METAL MACHINE strikes us as a mellow Merzbow work with neo-classical aspirations. What once seemed like a freeform f**k-off to rock music now seems ripe for study in college composition courses." The Wire (p.64) - "It actually sounds more dynamic and complex than the original, but sticks to the contours of Reed's piece faithfully." The Wire (p.35) - Included in The Wire's "50 Records of the Year 2007". Mojo (Publisher) (p.111) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[B]oth a sensual post-rock symphony and a right old racket. Ahead of its time, too, for the thrilling lock groove finale anticipates virtually every rhythmic development made since." Uncut (magazine) (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Get in the right frame of mind, and listening to MMM can be as meditative as observing the diurnal course of the Empire State Building."
Lou Reed is among the most literate wordsmiths in rock & roll history. His first decade of post-Velvet Underground work included some undeniable high points (BERLIN, the David Bowie-produced TRANSFORMER) but he was plagued by inconsistency. Reed came back with a vengeance in the '80s and '90s, though, producing some truly powerful work (THE BLUE MASK, NEW YORK). Throughout his solo career he's collaborated with everyone from former bandmate John Cale to avant garde theater king Robert Wilson. Through it all, Reed remains the quintessential urban poet, and undoubtedly one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century.
Also Appears On:
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