If Metal Machine is anything, it's energy and physicality, and you should be able to physically feel it, and it takes a lot of energy to perform it. So when Ulrick Krieger, who's the guy who transcribed it for Zeitkratzer-- he's an independent musician, he plays with a lot of different bands-- he called and said, "I want to do this, I've always loved the piece and I want to transcribe it." I said it can't be transcribed. It defies transcription. And he said, "Well, you know, I've always loved this thing, I know I can do this, and I know we can play this. Let me transcribe a little bit of it and we'll record five or ten minutes of it and you listen to it and decide whether it's OK or not."I don't think I've read an interview with him where he talks so seriously about his music (as opposed to saying things like "that's a dumb question"). It reminds me that at the heart of the Advanced Theory is an appreciation of true genius. Also, Lou Reed really is as great as I think he is.
But if you go in, and you scope it, and put your attention here, there, wherever you think the fun is, then it has shape. And that's what he did. He took off from the same starting point I did, but [from there] it depends on how you focus it, because you could parlay it in a lot of different ways. It was obvious that he could really hear it, that he could notate this for real. He was really paying attention to the harmonics. I just didn't even realize that guys into the electronics had gotten that far. I really didn't know. Within the past couple of years, I've been meeting a lot of younger musicians, and they collect a lot of analog pedals, a lot of electro-harmonic stuff. And I'm like, "Why are you doing this? How come you don't have the new versions?" And they say, "Well, the sound is really great on these old analog pedals." But they don't play guitars, they don't play keyboards, they play machines. And they all know. So they say "Oh, on Metal Machine, there's this, this, and this.'' It's pretty astonishing to me.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
There is a serious (and sort of old) interview with Lou Reed about Metal Machine Music in Pitchfork. Here's some: