October 20, 2007

Lou Reed/Zeitkratzer: Metal Machine Music

Not many people who own Metal Machine Music listen to it. Or if they do, it's been years ago. It was the great fuck you record that Lou Reed came up with, four sides of noise and feedback with completely fake credits on the back sleeve. Today it is heralded as a forerunner of the things that Sonic Youth came up with, with a horde of feedback freaks on their tail. Lou Reed was really stoned back then, messing about with guitars, amps and tape recorders. The record company pulled the original double LP after it had been for sale for only three weeks.

Fast forward to 2002. German avant-garde music Zeitkratzer have gone to the trouble of transcribing the whole thing. They do a short tour performing the whole thing (in empty halls, most of the time), but they convince Lou Reed that his piece can be heard in a live setting. He joins the band on stage at ca concert at the Berlin Opera House, march 17, 2002. Before the show Reed is interviewed on stage, at ease, and joking about the hazards of you playing live. Do they fuck up? No, they don't and you can hear it on the live album and watch the whole thing on the accompanying DVD. MMM starts swinging around the 45 minute mark, it is rock 'n' roll in a demented kind of way.

Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music

Metal Machine Music is not as scary as it was when it was released back in 1975. Feedback, loops and such have entered the songs of zillions of indie musicians. Still, it's nice to have a live version and the seriousness of the German ensemble make pretty clear that they think that they are performing an important piece of music. And it is, in a way, but let's not forget that it is first and foremost the ego trip of a very talented and at the time totally out of it guitar player. He had fun with it then and now that it has entered the high halls of serious music he must be laughing his ass off.

Metal Machine Music is released on Asphodel.

» loureed.com
» zeitkratzer.de

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