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A brief and incomplete history of sonic terrorism

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Image "Pendrecki notation" via WFMU

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1973, Raw Power, The Stooges:

Arguably the defining document of the Stooges, Raw Power was conceived by Iggy Pop as an album that would be so searingly loud, so extreme and unyielding, that it would physically injure the listener when played. Though the end result is something slightly short of that, it is none the less a masterpiece of aggressive, hard-edged guitar, unrelenting bass, and—of course—Iggy’s absolutely unhinged vocal performances. He sings of nuclear war, death, and failed redemption, a caterwauling lost soul calling out from a dark and bloody America.

1975, Metal Machine Music, Lou Reed:

Perhaps the most obvious choice for this list, Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music is among the most notorious recordings ever released. The release was comprised of two LPs, both sides of which held just a single long track, made up entirely of reverberating feedback and screeching noise. Often read as a sort of “fuck you” at the time, Metal Machine Music now seems to predict the noise of such bands as Sonic Youth, the Boredoms, and Merzbow. If nothing else, MMM is an extreme, straight-up ballsy experiment from a man who has built his reputation on doing just that.

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