Having written in breathless, lusty fashion on Lou Reed‘s Transformer a few days ago, whilst visiting the record shop over the weekend, the cranky rocker was foremost in my mind. A chain of events had been initiated that were too all-encompassing, too powerful and too spookily ordered to resist.
Drawn, magnetically, to the ‘R’ section, I click-clacked the CDs until I found the Reed, Lou tab. It was there. It fluttered its cracked-jewel-case eyelashes at me. It was a paltry £3. It accompanied me straight to the till. It was the album I had always wanted, but was never brave enough to buy. It was Metal Machine Music.
Has another album has inspired so much negativity? In the true spirit of the awkward, deliberately obtuse music fan, there are as many web pages describing how bad it is as there are proclaiming its genius. Here’s what it actually is: an hour-long album of guitar feedback. No, that’s not an abject attempt at wry witticism – it is literally just that, guitar on guitar, howling and feeding back on themselves.
So is it really that awful/great? Well, I listened to it, and… enjoyed it. At the ten minute mark, mild agony sets in, but those brave or dumb enough to stick with will find that it eventually transcends sound itself, and the noise seems to sync with your brainwaves. Like when someone keeps telling the same joke and it eventually becomes funny again. It’s clearly an experiment, taken beyond its logical limitations, and I warmed to it for those exact reasons.
Today’s New Band, Ganz Anders, can take heart from the fact that all they need to do is produce something other than 64 minutes of white noise, and they won’t be hated as much as Lou Reed circa 1974. Ganz Anders make big, long, clunky house music. They’re from Holland, and if you’ve ever been to Holland, you’ll know that a) everyone seems a bit too tall, and b) they know how to have a good time.
Broken is big, grubby, and heavy, like a Victorian steam engine. It sounds along those lines too, intimidating one and all with its unusually hearty beats, pulses and squawks. In the middle it collapses under its own vast mass, before finally clambering back to it’s rightful, relentless pace.
Bells has a section that sounds like one long, extended fart, and yet still has serious house chops – it’d slip into a 1988 setlist at The Hacienda with ease. Autospeck maintains that careful balance between the breakdown and the hands-in-the-air transcendence that all good house music needs.
So Ganz Anders also make abstract noise when they want to. Perhaps Lou Reed was aiming for this, and just got lost on the way. Or wasted. One of these options may be truer than the other. Ganz Anders stayed focused and are having a hell of a time. Rave on!