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David Royko Psy.D

Ugliest Pieces of Music: Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music


Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2010

Subject: Re: Ugliest Pieces of Music

"What are the ugliest pieces of music, in your estimation?"

Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music (especially side 3).

I remember reading about it as a high schooler when it was a new release in the mid-1970s, and it almost immediately ended up in the cut-out bins, where I picked it up for a buck because I'd never seen anything reviewed so extremely, vigorously negatively. When I heard it, I took it to be a joke and a fuck-you to his record company. I loved that it was 4 sides, to me the best part of the joke.

I didn't think anybody ever really listened to it all the way through its full hour--I sure didn't. I don't remember anyone that I read taking it seriously or as anything other than a laugh. But these days, I now see it's taken quite seriously as a precursor to "industrial music, noise rock, and contemporary sound art" (so sayeth the wikis). I guess Lou was ahead of his time, or outstanding in his field, or out, standing in his field. Or just out -- I still can't imagine listening to this all the way through.

On Aug 9, 2:49 pm, MiNe 109 <smcelr...@ wrote: Lou Reed is touring with a "Metal Machine Music Trio": > Not as noisy as the original, at least to start. And he recently made news at the Montreal Jazz Festival for his free jazz performance with John Zorn and Laurie Anderson.

John Zorn's among my favorite musicians, and least favorite, depending on what he's up to. I'm not surprised that they're collaborating, and would only be surprised if this is the first time. In many ways Zorn and Reed are made for each other. Thanks for the heads-up.

Dave Royko