Lou Reed’s Deep Noise

One of the year’s most unique tours begins April 17 in the U.K. as Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Trio honors one of most unusual albums in music history – Reed’s own “Metal Machine Music.”

In an evening described as “a night of deep noise,” Reed, accompanied by Ulrich Krieger on tenor sax and live electronics and Sarth Calhoun handling live processing and the Continuum fingerboard controller, will not play the album in its entirety. Instead, the trio will present a show “influenced and inspired” by the controversial 1975 work.

Photo: Amy-Beth McNeely

Adding to the tour’s uniqueness, each night’s performance will not include any individual songs or vocals as the trio relies on improvisation to create “soundscapes” using guitars, saxophones and Continuum.

How controversial was Metal Machine Music? That depends who you talk to. Back in the day Rolling Stone called it the worst album of the year, but more recent descriptions hail the work as a forerunner to punk, noise and metal.

There are also conflicting accounts as to how the album was recorded. In 1975 there were claims that, in order to fulfill a contractual obligation, Reed parked a tape recorder in a factory and used the machinery sounds captured on tape as the basis for the album. In later years Reed described the album as featuring various guitar feedback recordings played at different speeds.

Photo: Amy-Beth McNeely

But no matter how Metal Machine Music came into existence, there’s no denying the influence the album had on bands such as Sonic Youth, Nine Inch Nails and Butthole Surfers.

The tour begins April 17 in the U.K. at Cambridge’s Junction, followed by April 18 in Oxford at the O2 Academy. April 19 brings the trio to London for a show at the Royal Festival Hall and then it’s off to Paris for an April 21 gig at La Cigale.

Other stops include Belgium’s Domino Festival in Brussels April 22; Copenhagen at the DR Concert House April 24; Oslo at Sentrum Scene April 26; Bergen, Norway, at the Ole Bull Scene April 27 and Palma de Mallorca in Spain at the Teatre Principal De Palma April 30.

Photo: Amy-Beth McNeely

Coinciding with the tour Reed is releasing a re-mastered Metal Machine Music on 180 grams double gatefold vinyl, audio DVD and Blu-ray. For more information on the album as well as the tour, click here for the Lou Reed Web site.