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Metal Machine Music features no songs or recognizably structured compositions, eschewing melody and rhythm for modulated feedback and noise music guitar effects, mixed at varying speeds by Reed. It garnered terrible reviews and RCA withdrew it after 3 weeks though by then it had already sold 100,000 copies to people who wanted to see if it was really as bad as everyone said it was.
Lester Bangs said "as classical music it adds nothing to a genre that may well be depleted. As rock 'n' roll it's interesting garage electronic rock 'n' roll. As a statement it's great, as a giant F*CK YOU it shows integrity—a sick, twisted, dunced-out, malevolent, perverted, psychopathic integrity, but integrity nevertheless."
Later The Wire magazine's Brian Duguid wrote that the albums is "at once the pre-eminent deranged noise record, an impossibly cacophonous screech of electric torment, and also a classic of Minimalism; some of the most enigmatic, exquisite harmonies ever documented."
The language of the Star Trek aliens known as the Breen was inspired by Metal Machine Music, which the post-production sound staff were instructed to listen to when creating the electronic cackle that served as the Breen's voices.
Me? I think it is extraordinary. It takes you to another place, the way a huge Rothko painting does. It challenges the listener to deconstruct everything they think music is and forces us to confront the chaos that we only just keep at bay. It is great noise art and as such, an important statement. Just don't go listening for a tune to hum.
Lou Reed Metal Machine Music T-Shirt DJTees Originals
Also available on Womens Tees
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