Lou Reed - Metal Music Machine (1975)

Posted by Amelia Swhizzagers On 6:57 AM

Metal Machine Music, subtitled *The Amine β Ring, is an album by Lou Reed. It was originally released as a double album by RCA Records in 1975. It was reissued on a single compact disc by BMG in 1997 and again by Buddah Records in 2000.

As a radical departure from the rest of Reed's catalog, Metal Machine Music is generally considered to be either a joke, a grudging fulfillment of a contractual obligation, or an early example of noise music. Reed himself has said of the album "I was serious about it. I was also really, really stoned." In the album's liner notes he claimed to have invented heavy metal music and asserted that Metal Machine Music was the ultimate conclusion of that genre.
According to Reed (despite the original liner notes), the album entirely consists of guitar feedback played at different speeds. The two guitars were tuned in unusual ways and played with different reverb levels. He would then place the guitars in front of their amplifiers, and the feedback from the very large amps would vibrate the strings — the guitars were, effectively, playing themselves. He recorded the work on a four-track tape recorder in his New York apartment, mixing the four tracks for stereo. In its original form, each track occupied one side of an LP record and lasted exactly 16 minutes and 1 second, according to the label. The fourth side ended in a locked groove that caused the last 1.8 seconds of music to repeat endlessly. The rare 8-track tape version has no silence in between programs, so that it plays continuously without gaps on most players.

A major influence on Reed's recording, and an important source for an understanding of Reed's seriousness with the album, was the mid-1960s drone music work of La Monte Young's Theater of Eternal Music (whose members included John Cale, Tony Conrad, Angus Maclise and Marian Zazeela). Both Cale and Maclise were also members of The Velvet Underground (Maclise left before the group began recording). The Theater of Eternal Music's discordant sustained notes and loud amplification had influenced Cale's subsequent contribution to the Velvet Underground in his use of both discordance and feedback. Recent releases of works by Cale and Conrad from the mid-sixties, such as Cale's Inside the Dream Syndicate series (The Dream Syndicate being the alternative name given by Cale and Conrad to their collective work with Young) testify to the influence this important mid-sixties experimental work had on Reed ten years later.

In an interview with rock journalist Lester Bangs, Reed claimed that he had intentionally placed sonic allusions to classical works such Beethoven's Eroica and Pastoral Symphonies in the distortion, and that he had attempted to have the album released on RCA's Red Seal classical label; however, it is not clear if he was being serious, though he has repeated the latter claim in a 2007 interview.
Tracks
01. Metal Machine Music, Part 1
02. Metal Machine Music, Part 2
03. Metal Machine Music, Part 3
04. Metal Machine Music, Part 4
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