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- White Light/ White Heat by The Velvet Underground
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8/10 Penrith Steve Customer review, 31st July 2015
“White Light/White Heat” was the second album to be released by The Velvet Underground. Andy Warhol and Nico had stopped working with the band after tensions resulting from the lack of interest in their debut album. Tom Wilson was drafted in to produce the album although I’m not sure what he did as the record is extremely lo-fi. Instruments bleed all over the place and there are regular untamed feedback squeaks. He did apparently walk out and left them to it as they recorded “Sister Ray” as he couldn’t stand the noise. It does sound like he never actually walked in.
There are two short songy songs on here, namely the title track and “Here She Comes Now” but the other tracks are longer and very experimental in nature. “The Gift” features John Cale telling a story whilst the band work around a chugging bass riff. The closing track is the 17 minute-plus epic “Sister Ray” on which the band plays what would now be regarded as a fairly typical 3-chord Velvet Underground riff with an equally typical Lou Reed vocal. The structure gradually breaks down and things become way more free-form, improvised and cacophonous for most of the 17 minutes. You’ve got to love it.
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