At the time of the spring 2007 release of Hudson River Wind Meditations, four years had transpired since the release of The Raven, Lou Reed's extremely ambitious collaborative take on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, and three since his last live album, the excellent Animal Serenade. What transpired during those years is anybody's guess, but if one had to judge by this, his debut album for Sounds True Audio, one would have to guess that it was somewhat drastic, at least by evidence presented. Reed states in his brief note to the album he co-produced with Hal Willner that "I composed this music for myself as an adjunct to meditation, Tai Chi, bodywork, and as music to play in the background of life -- to replace the everyday cacophony with new and ordered sounds of an unpredictable nature." Fair enough. The bottom line is that the music found here is electronic and not in any manner associated with Metal Machine Music. It follows -- loosely -- the dictums of Brian Eno's notion of ambient music in that it can be listened to in the background and perhaps ignored, but not without very low volume, and not without trying. These four pieces -- the first two, "Move Your Heart" and "Find Your Note," last over an hour -- are movement-oriented, albeit very slow movement. They match the breath, they match the pulse, and if listened to in meditation or with movement, offer a base, a starting point, a way of moving through the time and space of sitting or slow action that can actually focus your attention on your practice. They are not cold or emotionless, and if anything, resemble the work in Reed's photographs of the Hudson River. They are nearly still but move -- the listener -- into places in the heart itself. Sure, this isn't the crazy dog of rock from the past 40 years, but he doesn't need to be. With Willner as a sympathetic editor and co-producer, Reed can let these pieces unfold by themselves with no set end point other than the silence between each track. Certainly this won't be for everyone, but for those seeking out a recording to help induce quiet in the midst of a crazy busy life, it will be indispensable. For those seeking an accompaniment to nearly any kind of spiritual practice or bodywork, this will deepen the atmosphere. For those seeking rock & roll, it's best to look elsewhere. This one may score Reed some new fans, while causing some of his other ones to guffaw in cynical delight, but that's OK -- it's a sure bet he could still take 'em in an alley fight.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek