The unlistenability of Lou Reed‘s Metal Machine Music is one of the great overstatements of pop culture. Some 30-plus years have passed since its release, and we now live at a time when the noise of Merzbow and the Boredoms and countless death-metal bands regularly draw sold-out crowds; many listeners today came of age to singles by Aphex Twin and Kid 606 that are nearly as aggressive as Reed’s 1975 double album. In the process, Metal Machine Music has gone from lonely outlier to strong precursor.
But if you still find its unadulterated, maniacally mashy splatters to be, well, unadulterated, maniacally mashy splatters, then the person who runs globalvariables.net/audio.out provides a useful service, having just yesterday posted two remixes of Reed’s timeless hot potato. There’s an ambient version (MP3) and a dance one (MP3), though the latter proves more sedate than the former. The dance version takes a denuded edit of Lou Reed’s original and applies a kind of audio strobe effect that lends it a steady, slowly pulsing tempo. In the ambient version, there are still quite a bit of sudden, split-second sounds that could prove nerve-wracking to some.
As an added treat, there’s also a mashup (MP3) of Plastikman (the B-side from his thumping “Spastik”/”Helicopter” techno single) and Karlheinz Stockhausen (an excerpt apparently from his conceptual and logistic feat, “Helicopter String Quartet”).