Finally, the Asphodel label is releasing officially the Lou Reed & Zeitkratzer performance of Reed’s Metal Machine Music, recorded Live At The Berlin Opera House on March 17, 2002. Reed is playing guitar on this reworking of his noise album, Metal Machine Music.

The consensus at the time was that it was not music, but a protest by Reed to his then record label, RCA. People may not know that avant-garde musicians like John Cage, Lamonte Young, Iannis Xenakis and his Velvet Underground partner John Cale had a considerable influence on the way Reed approached composition, even his more accessible rock and roll songs. Metal Machine Music was in some way a logical extension of atonal romps like “Heroin” and “Sister Ray.”

Today Metal Machine Music has become accepted by the avant-garde and highly regarded for its contribution to the “free music” movement in popular culture. The 11-member Zeitkratzer Ensemble from Berlin gave Reed’s album a thorough listen and transcribed the sounds to create an acoustic music score for their ensemble to play live.

Then they sent Reed a copy of their version and invited him to the show: “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 played it, and there it was. It was unbelievable. I said, ‘My God! Okay, go do it.’ They said, ‘Will you play guitar on the fourth 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.”

The 50min CD is now on sale. It comes with a DVD of the show.

Click here to order.