There are two records I love and cherish, both of which also possess the finest liner notes ever written. One, by Black Flag, is a 12" EP which should have been extended to the length of a double LP: The Process Of Weeding Out. The other is a double LP I have never listened to all the way through, and for all intents and purposes, could have been a flexi disc (given the number of times I've actually played it), but whose double-LP status only elevates it further into the pantheon of flip-the-bird greatness: Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.
'Flag's EP from '85 features the trio of Ginn, Bill Stevenson and Kira. Purely instrumental, it's Ginn and co.'s stab at what I could only label as "free rock". It's about 20 minutes long and 60 minutes too short. It's a goddamn blissful sound, one which rock-crit-w/-a-brain Robert Palmer quite rightly noted as being like a post-HC take on Tony Williams' Lifetime, or Ornette's Prime Time ensemble from the late '70s. The playing is free and loose, and even skinsman tightwad Bill Stevenson - a great drummer, though a stylistically conservative rock player - gets a little crazy. Whilst I dig the Crimsonoid hysterics of 'Flag's tight-as-nails instrumental prowess as displayed on the B side of Family Man, for myself TPOWO really delivers the goods.
Dig the liner notes, too:
"The revolution will probably be televised. But I don't have a TV and I'm not gonna watch. With talk of rating records and increased censorship it may be getting dificult for some to speak their minds. Black Flag already has enough problems with censorship coming from the business sector. Some record stores have refused to stock and/or display certain Black Flag records because of objectionable cover art and/or lyrical content. Now, with additional government involvement, the "crunch" is on. Hope does lie in the fact that fortunately these straight pigs show little ability in decoding intuitive data. For example, even though this record may communicate certain feelings, emotions and ideas to some, I have faith that cop-types with thier strictly liner minds and stick-to-the-rules mentality don't have the ability to decipher the intuitive contents of this record. Of course, there may be a problem in that much of the public, most of whom comply with the whole idea of hiring the pigs in the first place, seem equally unable to intuitively feel and listen to music. Still, here it is, "The Process Of Weeding Out" - Greg Ginn
Lou Reed's MMM, as you know, was released in 1975 and can be interpreted three different ways: 1) As Lou trying to get dropped by his record label by releasing the most unsellable pile of noise imaginable; 2) As Lou attempting to record and release a "serious" piece of avant-garde music only understood and appreciated by the few; or 3) As Lou having a laugh and simply being Lou (ie. an A-grade asshole). I love what it is - 60 minutes of screech from a major recording artist - though I rarely listen to it. It does however, have some awesomely incoherent, rambling and frequently grammatically-incorrect liner notes. I'm not going to quote them all; I shall simply leave you with the very last line, one that is so obnoxious I have been known to throw it around myself if such an occasion begs for a suitable insult: "My week beats your year". Can that be beat?