It’s no secret that here at VT we put equal weight on the avant and the rock and when it comes to avant rockers Lou Reed remains the goddamn king. The whole VT aesthetic simply wouldn’t exist without him. What with alla the pasting he’s been getting for Lulu, his new album with Metallica, we hadda rise to his defence. Not that he needs it, you understand, or probably even appreciates it, but the quality of the criticism, not to say the bandwagon aspect of the mud-slinging, well, it kinda sticks in our throat. Ever since he tried to haggle with us over the purchase of a Magic and Loss t-shirt that we insisted was not for sale at the last Instal festival, we have had a profound respect for Mattin’s commitment to Lou Reed fandom so he was the first person we got on the line when we needed someone to set the record straight. Mattin’s back catalogue remains one of the most rigorous – and routinely ass-blasting – marriages of avant garde and rock aesthetics, from his amazing reconstructions of sociopathic oppositional rock with Billy Bao, his solo experiments with language and compositional binds, his stunning new study in surreal aleatoric riff damage with Exquisite Corpse, not to say a ton of collaborations, he continues to bolster the tradition by breaking out and freaking with it. We’re proud to host his review of Lulu, a piece that underlines how Lou Reed’s week still beats (insert random Pitchfork band here)’s year.
Lou Reed & Metallica
The beauty of our times: this record is the most hated record ever and it has only just been released. Lou Reed and Metallica took a risk and Lulu is generating some of the most passionate and intelligent writing on the internet. For sure the cruelty of the reviews matches the cruelty of the record. Both seem to be an ethnographic study of our times. One of the reviewers said that Lou Reed and Metallica are amongst the most perverse musicians around. Why do people get surprised when they get the ultimate perverse record? So perverse that you cannot take it? There is a famous saying in downtown New York which goes: if you are a Lou Reed fan you must be ready to go all the way. Yes, he is going to take you to places that you have never dreamed of, even in your worst nightmares. If you are a Lou Reed fan you go through shit, shit records, shit playing, shit covers, shit lyrics... He takes you psychologically to the wild side even if you might be comfortably playing the record in your cosy home with a cup of tea. He is going to make you reconsider your values of judgement to the core and beyond. Once you go through this then you might agree with Lou when he says about Lulu: "This thing is the best thing ever done by anybody". And he insists in an interview that he is not being egotistical. I am a Lou Reed fan and I believe him. When Lou does something he puts himself into it 100% and as we know this is too much for the majority of human beings, from his solo on “I Heard Her Call My Name” that made him the best guitarist ever by bridging feedback noise rock with a Coleman free jazz sensitivity to Metal Machine Music where the guitar did not even need a guitarist (artistic de-subjectification probably taken from Warhol's filmmaking: he didn't need to be behind the camera). But here we get a blunt and confident Lou Reed happy to have a partner to rock with. And this is what Lou Reed and Metallica are becoming: Rock'n'roll animals in the perverted zoo of the internet. Yes, Lulu is about sex. It is a 69 between Lou Reed and Metallica. Lou's tongue is a chainsaw with rusted links (for infection and maximum durability). Metallica gets cut in two and will never recover. They say in interviews that now that they have discovered improvisation with Lou they will implement it on their 10th record. Who knows, maybe next year Metallica will play at the Konfrontatitonen festival? Lou has previously made amazing noise with the guitar but that has already made it into the proper canon of Noise (as an established genre of music). Now he uses his voice as a device for achieving unreified noise which still contains alienation. But this is not concrete poetry, somehow it sounds even seems more abstract, it is relentless, beautifully out of tune and it hurts. And then the lyrics: sniff your shit in the wind, coloured dick, pathetic little dog... these sentences are snubs to any form of taste. Reed lyrics achieve a level of vulgarity so brilliant that it will probably beat the number of quotes that a single record can get on the internet. Yes, James, you are a table, where Lou can rest his fuckin' feet on. What Lulu produces is a radical equalisation: a teenage Metallica cover band are the backing group to a drunken 100 year old ranting about how viciously prostituted a prostitute was who he met when he was 14 while angels in furs play violins and the neighbourhood dudes in a basement are making noise while looking at amateur German porn which contains some scatological moments. In fact on this record you get the whole canon of interesting music: drone wrong, Henry Chopin-style language deconstructions, improv-thrash, heavy literary cock rock, contemporary classical Brainbombs, geriatric-metal... The headfuck continues with the gender politics: what could be more queer than a young feminist girl shouting for sexual liberation in the body of an old male Jew with cut legs and tits? (Whether this body has sperm or not is another question...) Lulu is more Lou Reed than Lou Reed and that surely means that this is the best thing ever done by anybody.