Personnel: Lou Reed (vocals, guitar); Robert Quine (guitar); Fernando Saunders (bass, background vocals); Doane Perry (drums).
Producers: Lou Reed, Sean Fullan.
Reissue producers: Paul Williams.
Recorded at RCA Studios, New York, New York in October 1981. Includes liner notes by Michael Hill.
Personnel: Lou Reed (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Robert Quine (guitar); Doane Perry (drums); Fernando Saunders (background vocals).
After a dispiriting early-'80s slump at Arista Records, Lou Reed renewed himself artistically by changing labels and releasing THE BLUE MASK on RCA in 1982. This was a brave move, since THE BLUE MASK is a resolutely uncommercial album, making no concessions in either its stark, flatly recorded ambience or harrowing themes. However, grace notes abound for the patient listener.
Performing with a no-frills setup for the first time since the Velvets, Reed keenly matches words and music with the sparest of means to achieve the maximum end. THE BLUE MASK pits a hard-earned contentment ("My House," "Women) against the dizzying abyss lurking beneath the surface of life ("Underneath The Bottle," "Waves Of Fear" and, most compellingly, the awesome title track itself). Running through all this, Reed and second guitarist Robert Quine intertwine their instruments, sustaining meditative interludes and codas closer to jazz than rock. Bassist Fernando Saunders' vibrant tone and supple lines also adds a new element of flexibility to Reed's music. Saunders' gentle falsetto backing vocals also make a nice contrast to Reed's famously edgy song-speech.
Rolling Stone (p.194) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Reed lets the casual poetry of his songs shine again."
The Wire (6/00, p.40) - "...The one great Lou Reed record of the 80s....it marks Reed's rediscovery of his love for electricity..."