Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lou Reed "Hudson River Wind Meditations" (2007)

Every now and then, usually reliable iconic figures put out a project that completely perplexes even their most stalwart adherents. Lou Reed did it in 1975 with Metal Machine Music. Released as a double LP and mostly conjured from pure feedback and some guitar effects, it sounded to many like a symphony for garbage disposals and jackhammers. At the time, Reed claimed most people wouldn't like it, and he was right, although if you drilled beneath the surface, it was strangely triumphal and exultant with almost psychedelic melodies. Three decades later, he returns with the follow-up. Hudson River Wind Meditations is the yang to Metal Machine Music's turbo-distortion head-crush ying. Which isn't to say it's smooth and soothing. Hudson River's two primary tracks consist of Doppler-effect sine waves, Tibetan-singing-bowl-like sounds, and deep subharmonics that threatened to crack my speakers. They all do slow-motion, abstract barber-pole dances around each other over the course of their half-hour or so duration. Listening deeply, one can get lost in the harmonic relationships in a way that recalls LaMonte Young's Theater of Eternal Music or Alvin Lucier's Music on a Long Thin Wire. Lou Reed is a practitioner of Tai Chi, and he says this music is meant for body work and meditation, but while the Hudson River itself can be a comforting, reflective place, this sounds more like the underground groans and electronic nervous system of Manhattan. The album was originally called Inner Spaces, but I suspect for most people, it might just be boring spaces. It's music for deep listening, but the rewards are highly rarefied.



At 3:55 PM , Blogger Cucumber Jones said...

Metal Machine Music Rides again -



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