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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Metal Machine Music

While everyone pays tribute, quite rightly, to Lou Reed's street poetry, use of a minimal number of chords, black clad rock 'n' roll cool and all round influence on much of what came after 1967's The Velvet Underground And Nico lp, let's remember this legendary 1975 album. Four sides of vinyl, over an hour long in total, of out of control noise, feedback and sonic mayhem. Not the type of controlled use of feedback and ambient noise that is actually a very good listen. A deeply uncomfortable listen.

Anthony H. Wilson said this was music for people who liked the sound of their fridge turning on and off- I could listen to my fridge turning on and off for a lot longer than I can listen to this. He also said this was Ian Curtis' favourite record. Let me know if you get all the way through.


londonlee said...

My fridge sounds more like Cabaret Voltaire.

hsd said...

Never in one sitting.
Did first 16 minutes yesterday, think I'll give it a while for side 2.
Went to a lecture once about Merzbow, the guy giving the talk (name escapes me) said that the more extreme the noise became there would eventually be a lull (still extreme sound, only less so) which would have been un-listenable before, but now was soothing. It was a little like that yesterday all the music I listened to after MMM became clear to me.

Walterhttp://afewgoodtimesinmylife.blogspot.de said...

I love the radical in this record. It was far ahead of it's time and it is hard to listen all four sides in a row. The time wasn't right for this kind of music. If it would be released ten years later it would be a classical like JAMJ and MBV

drew said...

I got to the end of side one once just before I sold it.

Talking about noise Fricative White by Somfay is worth repeated listens

Echorich said...

I think Reed always enjoyed the extreme fascination with this album...after all it was a contractual obligation album - a way of getting him out from under "The Man" or at least "The Man" at that moment. But there are some interesting features to this "music." Reed used some classical motifs in the music, abeit created by his wildly tuned guitar feedback. But ultimately the album was made by Reed for Reed and it freed him up to become his own creative man, not the record company's and not the producers'.
I'm not going to pretend to really understand it or say that I like it all that much, but it did sell hundreds of thousands of copies and is responsible for influencing a lot of what I like.