Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music is an unrelenting assault on your senses.
The original two record set, released in 1975, was mostly noise: feedback squalls, amplifier hums and the tortured screech of electronic gadgets.
Now it’s been adapted for live performance by Reinhold Friedl, Ulrich Kreiger and the 11-member Zeitkratzer ensemble from Berlin, transcribing the sounds to create an acoustic music score for their ensemble to play live.
“Let me give you a little background. Metal Machine Music was made 32 years ago. It was taken off the market three weeks after it was released,” says Lou Reed. “Still, time goes by and people get more used to what you call loops and electronics and noise and feedback.”
“ZEITKRATZER gets in touch with me, ‘Can we play Metal Machine Music live?’ I said, ‘It can’t be done.’ They said, ‘We transcribed it. Let us send you a few minutes of it and you tell us.’ They sent it, I listened to it, and the results were unbelievable. I said, ‘My God! Okay, go do it.’ They said, ‘Will you play guitar on the third part of it?’ So Metal Machine Music finally got performed live at the Berlin Opera House. It’s extraordinary, because all those years ago it was considered a career ender. And it almost was, believe you me.”