Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music (RCA) 1975


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Last year, as my noise obsession sucked up most of my disposable cash, I thought it only fitting to actually buy probably the most famous noise record ever made. I love the story of how this got made and released. Reed had to deliver a certain number of albums under his contract  but it didn’t say what sort of music had to be on those albums so one day he delivered this to his record company, a noise record of such purity that it sent the record executives into a spin. The record was perhaps the first of its type to contain a warning sticker. Not the PMRC ones we see today but rather one warning the buyer that there was no actual music on this record it is just noise. In an interview Reed says that anyone who makes it to side four is dumber than he is. What the motivation for making this record was, I have no idea, but to those of us who like our noise it’s a pretty interesting document and when you hear it you can understand how it obviously influenced generations of noise and experimental music artists. Lester Bangs wrote that his was the best record ever made. Thirty years after the fact I can appreciate its appeal, but for me, it’s kind of dull. Artists have taken Reeds work as a blue print and made records that are far more interesting than this. But if you are a noise fan then you do need to hear this, It will either blow you away or like me, you will find it really interesting but kind of unsatisfying and a bit of a slog.

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