Lou Reed’s legendary Metal Machine Music in a new interpretation

A sonic journey with Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen into the American rock-icon’s universe of noise, new sounds, strange timbres and a timeless, monumental beauty

Wednesday 7 October 2020 at 20:00 Dronningesalen / The Queen's Hall
Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen conveys disputed work
Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen conveys disputed work


Standard  150 kr.
Diamantclub    90 kr.
Students    70 kr.

Lou Reed’s album Metal Machine Music appeared on a double LP in 1975, and was immediately considered to be one of the worst albums ever. Now it is to be played on stage in The Queen’s Hall by Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen.

The reviewers back in 1975 used such formulations as: “it sounds like the tubular groaning of a galactic refrigerator”, and said that it was “as displeasing to experience as a night in a bus terminal”. Another reviewer wrote that it was “guaranteed to clear any room of humans in record time”. In the book The Worst Rock ‘n’ Roll Records of All Time by Jimmy Guterman and Owen O’Donnell it was ranked no. 2.

100,000 sold copies in three weeks
Despite this reception, the album sold 100,000 copies in three weeks it was on the street, before being withdrawn.

Lou Reed first performed the work live in 2002, together with the German ensemble Zeitkratzer, which has since performed it in various versions.

Time has been kind to Metal Machine Music, as it has for quite a lot of highly innovative music. It is now possible to hear that inside the noise-based album a dynamically new kind of music is concealed that combined the energy of rock music with elements from such contemporary American composers as La Monte Young.

Various versions have been created, both with and without electronic amplification or instruments, and on this occasion Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen is collaborating with Reinhold Friedl from Zeitkratzer, who long ago convinced Lou Reed that it was possible to play Metal Machine Music with non-electronic musical instruments.

The audience can expect a sonic journey into a universe of noise, new sounds, strange timbres and a timeless, monumental beauty like that which one can find in a mountain slope that is lapping up sunshine.

Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen:
The leading ensemble in Denmark within new compositional music. Since its foundation in 1990, the ensemble has commissioned and given first performances of a number of works and, apart from first performances of completely new works it has also played a whole series of 20th century classics. Athelas picks up new trends, presents them to a music-interested audience and is thus helps communicate potential directions the music of the future may take. It is here that today’s composers can hear their own music and that of their colleagues, here that young musicians and conductors can get exciting assignments and chances, and here that the audience can gain a glimpse of what preoccupies today’s composers.

Lou Reed (1942-2013): Metal Machine Music arranged by Reinhold Friedl (1964-)

The concert lasts approx. 60 minutes, without intermissions.