10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
One Star Or Five? Let's Get Real,
This review is from: Metal Machine Music (Audio CD)Take an electric guitar or two, plug them into amps, turn it all on, and leave the room for an hour...with the tape rolling and recording the feedback. Apparently, Lou even left the building for some coffee during this time! This, according to Diana Clapton, is how MMM was 'created' (her book is Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground). In other words, Lou doesn't even play on it. So, for those raving about this album, you may want to ask yourselves how much you're reading into it (comparisons to Tangerine Dream -- gimme a break!). Lou was hardly trying to be avant garde or experimental...trying to get out of a contract is more like it.
MMM may be an album, but there ain't any music on it. There ain't no Lou on it. And there sure ain't no grand design behind it. It's a slab of white noise conceived to antagonize, alienate, and snub the record company, who pulled hundreds of copies off the shelves as soon as it was released. And it's not as if the vinyl was defective -- that's how embarrassing it was/is.
On THAT level, great album, brilliant move, one-of-a-kind act of bravery and commitment to principles (or a 'particular' state of mind). Think about it: a DOUBLE album (pricey), undiluted feedback, no songs, no playing, no band, no artist, no rehearsal, no nuffin. Lou is giving them 100% trash to sell and they fell for it. The affrontery of it. It's a wonder he's is still around to tell the tale (one of his many versions, anyway).
But while MMM gives the record company the finger, the sounds on it cannot, should not be mistaken for anything closely resembling an artistic project...when it was designed by Lou to be the exact opposite: A stink bomb.
(And the Stockhousen, etc. comparisons from some other reviewers are not lost on me.)
So, the question is, what do you give it? One star or five?
I'll give it one, since there's no reason for a re-release (remastered too, are they crazy?), when the story behind it is far, FAR more entertaining.
(By the way, I'm one of the suckers who was quick enough to buy a vinyl copy before they disappeared. Wish I had waited!)
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 6, 2011 12:55:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2011 12:58:47 PM PST
James E. Anderson says:
Good review apart from one tiny error: absolutely none of what you wrote is true , (apart from maybe that Diana Clapton, whoever the hell she is, actually did misinform you).
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 13, 2011 12:02:13 PM PST
Carlo Matthews says:
Let's say I'm completely wrong (although I don't suppose you've authored a book on Lou yourself) -- it STILL sounds like I describe it!
Posted on Feb 11, 2012 2:25:01 PM PST
Smash Palace says:
Carlo: If you actually listen to MMM, you realize that Diana Clapton's description is obviously nonsense. There's stuff speeded up, stuff slowed down, different guitars runs in the right channel as opposed to the left ... Lou clearly put some serious work into making this album. Granted, that doesn't change the fact it's almost impossible to listen to, but if it's an unbearable album, it's not a lazy one.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2013 7:46:20 PM PDT
That was pretty much how the mainstream press described it back then. And by "mainstream press" there was no Internet back then and I'm not sure where I could have read about it except perhaps Rolling Stone, but Reed seemed to have confirmed it. I didn't read at the time that he left the room or anything like that, but it was his intent to make noise and nothing but noise.
The only good news was that I probably paid no more than a dollar or two for the album before I found out what was on it. If by any chance I kept it, it would be worth more now.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2013 9:14:05 AM PDT
Carlo Matthews says:
On the heels of what you say, I have to admit that I did recently purchase a 2nd hand copy of Zeitkratzer's orchestral version. I thought some of these nuances you mention would be more salient. I can't really say they are (but then I couldn't sit through it all), yet the concept is so incredibly preposterous that I thought it deserved owning in one form or another. One seldom comes across such extravagance. And by the way, it's nicely packaged (cd and dvd) and there's a lengthy interview with Lou which, as usual, you can take with a grain of salt of the whole salt-shaker.
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