Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lou Reed & Zeitkratzer ~ Metal Machine Music (live)

(Click on heading to visit official website of Lou Reed.)
Style: experimental, classical, instrumental, tribute, drone, German
Label: Asphodel
Year: 2007
Home: Germany & California

Members: Lou Reed ~ electric guitar
Reinhold Friedl ~ piano
Burkhard Schlothauer ~ violin
Christian Messer ~ viola
Ulrich MaiƟ ~ cello
Alexander Frangenheim ~ contrabass
Ulrich Krieger ~ saxophones
Franz Hautzinger ~ trumpet
Melvyn Poore ~ tuba
Luca Vnitucci ~ accordeon
Adam Weisman ~ percussion


There's albums of distorted feedback ... then there's the infamous Lou Reed hit-or-miss 1970's classic Metal Machine Music which brought feedback to a new level of pure unlistenability. All thanks to a couple of guitars positioned in front of amps to loop back & forth with the recordings later cut & spliced to form new disjointed sounds across four tracks of 15 minutes apiece. Whether it was done as a joke to end a recording contract or it really is Lou's secret masterpiece with hidden classical music excerpts, it's hard to tell with him & I'm a diehard fan, the general conscensus is that if you can listen to the entire album without getting physically sick you're probably mentally deranged. It's also been often called one of the worst albums in rock music, albeit it's not really rock nor really music though its by a rock icon. But, if this legendary recording already wasn't strange enough the beast was brought back to life & given a facelift via this re-recording by a German symphonic ensemble, yes, symphonic as in classical symphony ensemble with not a bit of feedback or even any electric cords. The story goes that they asked Lou to perform the piece & he said it wasn't transcribed, let alone impossible to transcribe. They said they'd already done three parts. Considering how similiar each part sounds on the original release it's always struck me as curious why they left out one movement. Once you've suffered through 45 minutes of it why not go all the way for the final 15?So, the result is this live recording with Lou guesting on electric guitar & includes a DVD for those that don't believe feedback can be transcribed & played on acoustic instruments. Though, honestly, it can't be. If this is a note per note recording the difference between a distorted guitar & a plucked violia make for almost a new recording while Lou's playing is his typical rambling solo far from the cocaine induced playing of decades ago. But, the idea is attractive to consider none the less while imagining that you're hearing the same recording decades later. Further, this is far from unlistenable. Actually, the DVD is quite enjoyable & even includes a post-show interview with Lou & probably more enjoyable than just the CD alone. If this was ever supposed to be a joke the punchline has been killed. This album may not be a rock album, though on some level it might be heavy metal, but Lou Reed's influence on the rock world is undeniable so for him to do something like this, or the Zeitkratzer orchestra to reinterpret his work, definetly makes it unique & interesting rock/metal worth sharing.



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