Lou Reed 

Hudson River Wind Meditations

Forty years ago, as frontman for the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed convinced us that the path to bliss was through a needle to the vein. In 1975, he released Metal Machine Music, a two-disc solo album composed entirely of guitar feedback: proof he was still an innovator and still stoned out of his mind. Now Reed is peddling ambient instrumental music designed for relaxation and mediation. The 65-year-old art-rock icon seems to have found an all-natural high — so maybe we wouldn't fault him if he dropped a seventy-minute pile of New Age bullshit on us. But Hudson River Wind Meditations actually works. Warm swells of pitch-modulated synthesizer ebb and flow through the 29-minute "Move Your Heart." "Find Your Note" emanates pulsating tones and penetrating feedback squalls over another half-hour. These compositions, and the two that comprise the final seven minutes, are quiet enough to command focus and random enough to erase time and place. One question remains: Will Reed's audience follow, or will he find a new one on the less wild side?

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