March 25, 2010
All About Jazz
Ulrich Krieger: Bringing Metal Machine Music to Life
By John Eyles
Lou Reed's 1975 release Metal Machine Music—often referred to as "MMM"—is one of the most notorious and misunderstood albums in rock history. Its four sides of guitar feedback were not well received by Reed fans used to songs and vocals. The album was critically panned and withdrawn three weeks after release. Many who bought it returned their copies.
In the years that followed, the album gradually acquired cult status, as others listened to the album at length and digested its contents. In 1975, categories such as "noise" and "industrial music" did not exist. MMM spawned them and others, and has exerted a huge effect ever since.
One key player in the increasing influence and rehabilitation of MMM is German-born saxophonist Ulrich Krieger. In 2002 Krieger, then a member of the Berlin-based ensemble Zeitkratzer, transcribed the album for the ten-member grouping. Lou Reed said he thought the task was impossible, but when he heard the results he agreed to appear with Zeitkratzer in a live performance of MMM in Berlin. A CD and DVD of that performance appeared on the Asphodel label in 2007. Read More.