Graham Reid | | 1 min read
The title of the latest Lou Reed biography probably confirms how many see him.
It is The King of New York (by Will Hermes) and immediately we picture Lou in leather on the dirty boulevard, being aggressive and cantankerous as he strides out sneering at lesser intellects, goes on about the poet Delmore Schwartz and somewhere in the background Waiting for the Man is playing as an image of Andy Warhol hovers overhead.
But there was another Lou Reed, a softer and more thoughtful version of the tetchy and flinty Lou of Velvet Underground and his solo work in the Seventies and Eighties.
In his later life he embraced yoga and Tai chi, meditated, exercised regularly, had a home in the East Hamptons where he and his wife Laurie Anderson would walk in the woods and his final words when he died at 71 in 2013 were apparently “take me into the light”.
His penultimate album four years prior to his collaboration with Metallica on Lulu was the instrumental ambient album Hudson River Wind Meditations which is the polar opposite of his controversial instrumental Metal Machine Music of 1975.
Hudson River Wind Meditations was co-produced with his longtime friend Hal Wilner and consists of two half hour pieces Move Your Heart and Find Your Note with 110 second title track and a five minute Wind Coda.
Reed took the beautiful cover photograph of the Hudson River as dusk.
It is, in Reeds own words, electronic background music for life, to replace the “everyday cacophony”.
At a tempo which is like a slow heartbeat and with atmospheric sound which moves in and out like breathing, the opening piece Move Your Heart is music/sound for meditation, the massage room or simply to play quietly in the home when the listener is seeking some rest and emotional respite.
Such changes as there are in the pieces are slight and subtle.
The equally lengthy Find Your Note is gentle, slightly spaced out but often barely audible electronica.
This isn't Lou in leathers but Reed at rest, not New York but New Age.
The 2007 album has been given its first vinyl release (as a limited edition double album with a booklet of Reed photography and a Q&A with Laurie Anderson) and will also appear on CD on January 12.
Hudson River Wind Meditations is available on pre-order from Southbound Records here.