Lou Reed Archive

Hudson River Wind Meditations (Light in the Attic)

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Light In Attic Records (LITA), in cooperation with Laurie Anderson and the Lou Reed Archive, proudly announces a definitive reissue of Reed’s Hudson River Wind Meditations, out January 12, 2024. Originally released in 2007, the deeply personal project provides the best example of Lou Reed’s decades-long exploration into drone and ambient music, as well as the pioneering artist’s final solo album. 


For more than five decades, Reed (1942-2013) never stopped exploring new creative avenues. From his broadly influential albums with The Velvet Underground to his groundbreaking solo works, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer remained stylistically fluid as a singer, songwriter, musician, and poet. Reed experimented with minimalist drone feedback music in the early 60s while in the Velvet Underground, and released the highly provocative double-album Metal Machine Music in 1975. From there he further developed his passion for drone music using both guitar and keyboards, including “Fire Music” on The Raven in 2003. This experimental side of Lou’s musical life led to Hudson River Wind Meditations in 2007, and after that, live performances with the Metal Machine Trio and trios with Laurie Anderson and John Zorn. Reed was also a spiritual being, who devoted his later years to Tai Chi and routinely integrated yoga and meditation practices into his life. It was inevitable that his two passions would eventually mingle. Inspired to create a soundtrack for these quiet – yet powerful – exercises, Reed composed four compelling works, which comprise his 20th and final solo album, Hudson River Wind Meditations.


Released in 2007, the ambient compositions were initially created for Reed’s personal use, to accompany spoken-word meditations that his acupuncturist recorded for him. Over time, they transformed into music for Reed’s beloved Tai Chi and yoga practices. Eventually, the artist chose to share them with his fans, crafting them into an album with producer Hal Willner (Saturday Night Live). 


Available for pre-order today on 2-LP, CD, and digital, Hudson River Wind Meditations has been produced for re-release by GRAMMY®-nominated producers Laurie Anderson, Don Fleming, Jason Stern, Matt Sullivan, and Hal Willner; restored by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Steve Rosenthal; remastered by the GRAMMY®-nominated engineer John Baldwin with vinyl pressed at Record Technology Inc. (RTI). The 2-LP and CD sets are presented in a gatefold jacket designed by GRAMMY®-winning artist, Masaki Koike and features new liner notes by renowned Yoga instructor and author, Eddie Stern, who guided Reed’s practice for years. Also included in the physical editions is a fascinating conversation conducted earlier this year between author/journalist Jonathan Cott (Rolling Stone, New York Times, The New Yorker) and Reed’s wife, artist Laurie Anderson, who discusses Hudson River Wind Meditations, as well as her husband’s devotion to Tai Chi — one of the album’s primary inspirations.


The 2-LP is available in three different vinyl variants, including Black Wax, Coke Bottle Wax and Glacial Blue Wax, while the Deluxe Edition includes the CD or 2-LP, a set of five 8×10 photos of the Hudson River photographed by Lou Reed and printed on 10-pt High Gloss Kromekote C1S cover stock and housed in a glassine envelope, plus a 24”x36” fold-out poster designed by Yolanda Cuomo. 


“Listening to Hudson River Wind Meditations as a whole piece is moving through several modes and states of a sixty-five-minute meditation,” explains Reed’s wife, artist Laurie Anderson. Echoing that sentiment is yogi and author Eddie Stern, whose weekly sessions with the musician always included Meditations. “The sounds immediately drew you into an inner flow of awareness; something was happening with the music, but at the same time something was happening inside of you,” recalls Stern. “As Lou began to move with the yoga postures and began to deepen his breathing, the sounds of Hudson River Wind Meditations moved with him or, perhaps, just simply moved him.”


Meditations were also composed with the musician’s Tai Chi practice in mind. Anderson shares that Reed’s teacher, “[Master Ren GuangYi] was one of the main forces in Lou’s life, and Lou wanted to express that, to honor him.” She adds that when Reed initially shared the music with Master Ren, many of his pupils were hesitant about the modern compositions. “The music wasn’t well-received at first,” she reveals. “But Master Ren… kept playing it, and then, eventually, people were agreeing. ‘This is the best thing we’ve ever heard for Tai Chi.’”


Hudson River Wind Meditations is comprised of four parts: “Move Your Heart” and “Find Your Note” (both of which clock in at around 30 minutes each), plus two shorter selections: “Hudson River Wind (Blend the Ambience) and “Wind Coda.” 


The original release of Hudson River Wind Meditations included a brief introduction by Reed, in which he wrote, “I first composed this music… to play in the background of life – to replace the everyday cacophony with new and ordered sounds of an unpredictable nature.”


Anderson muses, “I guess by ‘life,’ he meant something like what Brian Eno might mean – ambient music that colors the air in very interesting ways. For me, it resets my brainwaves.” She continues, “In Tibetan Buddhism teachings, heart and mind are the same word – citta – close to the chi of Tai Chi, which is pure energy. This music is pure energy; it breathes in and out. It’s not like here’s the beginning: dum da da! And now it develops, and now it ends! Rather, it’s one long loop that keeps changing in subtle ways.”


Similarly, Stern writes, “We exist in a continuous flow of creation…But underneath all of that is the steady, ever-present current of life that is what makes us alive and pulses in us like a gentle drone, the drone that Lou has so aptly captured through [Hudson River Wind Meditations]. It’s the harmony that you keep with you once you leave the Tai Chi practice room, the harmony that whispers its music after you finish your yoga practice. It’s a song, and you only hear that song when you listen.” He adds, “On more than one occasion – and I don’t know if it was true or not – Lou said, ‘I don’t even know how I made this, and I couldn’t repeat it if I tried.’ How marvelous that is, to make a piece of music so profound that it can’t be repeated yet has been captured for future generations to enjoy.”