02. October 2009

Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche

Lou Reed's Metal Machine Trio - CANCELLED! A night of deep noise

Lou Reed: guitars, electrics; Ulrich Krieger: tenor saxophone, live-electronics; Sarth Calhoun: live processing, fingerboard continuum

Now one of the for a long time underrepresented dimensions in the oeuvre of the Rock eccentric and sound avant-gardist Lou Reed is triggered off. Tonight the co-founder of the gloomy sixties band The Velvet Underground plays in the Minoritenkirche with his Metal Machine Trio. Energetic streams are emerging from the heart of slow-motion guitar feedbacks. A perceptible urge for the outer frontiers of electrically amplified sounds is leading into a territory of overlapping sound textures. Feedback engines and glissando generators strung to breaking point are permanently producing new musical condensations. Anarchic radicalness is transforming into subtly differentiated intensity The center of gravity of this sensational project dates back to 1975. Or that is to say, in the halo of what Lou Reed recorded in his New York apartment for a double album titled Metal Machine Music in the same year. Initially, this recording was rather irritating and disturbing for many. Meanwhile it is regarded as a significant interface in the history of music at one of those early esthetical crossroads from which several routes towards Industrial, Noise Music and Ambient emanated. Nowhere else the influence of John Cage, La Monte Young or Tony Conrad on the pop performer – and at the same time critic of pop music – Lou Reed, who always operates in alternative fields, becomes as manifest as in this recording.

For in the off zone of more and more routinely performed Rock music Lou Reed pushed to the max what had already been looming in the extended monotonous and repetitive passages in the Velvet Underground live shows. Alone in his apartment he produced a dynamics of feedback effects where the instruments and amplifiers increasingly interact in uncontrollable ways moving back and forth sound packages of different pitch. What Lou Reed back then mixed himself as his Metal Machine Music on a 4-track tape machine eventually showed growing influence on formations such as Sonic Youth or Merzbow while David Bowie or the Die Krupps used sound samples from this highly significant musical work.

Numerous adaptations, such as recently a completely differently orchestrated version performed and recorded by the Berlin ensemble Zeitkratzer, inspired doyen Lou Reed in such a way that he re-recorded Metal Machine Music – after a number of re-releases have already come out – in an esthetically no less stringent new version together with the saxophone player and composer of electronic music Ulrich Krieger and the electronic musician Sarth Calhoun, and now also performs it live. After La Monte Young’s legendary performance at the same location 15 years ago, the Metal Music Trio featuring Lou Reed will now measure the sound space of Krems on the other end of gravity’s rainbow.

© Amy-Beth McNeely

© Amy-Beth McNeely

Lou Reeds Metal Machine Trio