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 meditation. 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 70-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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