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The Velvet Underground|The Complete Matrix Tapes - Recorded November 26 & 27, 1969

The Complete Matrix Tapes - Recorded November 26 & 27, 1969

The Velvet Underground

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The Velvet Underground are arguably the most important American band of the second half of the '60s, but few seemed to think so at the time. The Velvets flew under the radar of public recognition through most of their career, and no one bothered to professionally record their live shows between 1966 and 1970. There have been plenty of authorized and illicit releases of Velvets live tapes (mostly audience recordings) since the early '70s, but one thing they had in common was compromised fidelity; in terms of audio, "pretty OK" is as good as they get, and for fans, listening for the music through the murk is a frustrating challenge. In November 1969, the Velvet Underground played a two-night stand at the Matrix, a club in San Francisco that had a four-track recording rig wired into its sound system; the four sets the band played were taped, and rough mixes of those shows were featured on the fine collection 1969: Velvet Underground Live, and they ranked with the very best VU live documents despite the hiss that hovered over the music. More than 40 years after that album was released, the original Matrix four-track masters have been remixed and remastered, and the four-disc box set The Complete Matrix Tapes marks the first time this material has been released in full. Though extensive excerpts from the new mixes appeared on the expanded 45th anniversary edition of the VU's self-titled third album, and many of these performances are familiar to folks who know 1969: VU Live well, this set's fidelity is a major selling point, even if you're not an audiophile. The Complete Matrix Tapes offers over four and a half hours of the Velvet Underground playing well and recorded with unobtrusive clarity, allowing the listener to hear the details of the performances and the ambience of the room as never before, and it's a remarkably exciting listen. As four sets appear in full, several songs are repeated (each disc includes takes of "Heroin," "Some Kinda Love," and "We're Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together"), but each performance has a personality of its own, and hearing how the band reshaped the longer numbers in repeated versions is a delight for fans into the minutia. (Lou Reed also changes up the lyrics on a few numbers here.) And while conventional wisdom has it that the post-John Cale edition of the band was less fiery and inventive, this lineup -- Reed on guitar and vocals, Sterling Morrison on guitar, Doug Yule on bass and organ, and Maureen Tucker on drums -- plays with strength, commitment, and a sense of adventure that ranks with their best and most purely enjoyable work. The bulk and repetition of The Complete Matrix Tapes will scare away a few casual observers, but anyone who wants to know how this band sounded on-stage on two good nights will find this to be a revelation; it's the best and best-sounding VU live release to date.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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The Complete Matrix Tapes - Recorded November 26 & 27, 1969

The Velvet Underground

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1
I'm Waiting For The Man (Version 1 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:13:07

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

2
What Goes On (Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:08:52

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist

℗ 1974 The Island Def Jam Music Group

3
Some Kinda Love (Version 1 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:04:56

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

4
Heroin (Version 1 / Live)
00:08:07

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Robert Quine, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 The Velvet Underground

5
The Black Angel's Death Song (Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:06:18

John Cale, ComposerLyricist - Lou Reed, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

6
Venus In Furs (Version 1 / Live)
00:04:37

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

7
There She Goes Again (Version 1 / Live)
00:03:12

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

8
We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:03:19

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist

℗ 1974 The Island Def Jam Music Group

9
Over You (Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:02:22

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist

℗ 1974 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Sweet Jane (Version 1 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:05:10

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

11
Pale Blue Eyes (Live)
00:06:05

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground Trust

12
After Hours (Version 1 / Live)
00:02:56

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

DISC 2

1
I'm Waiting For The Man (Version 2 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:06:33

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

2
Venus In Furs (Version 2 / Live)
00:05:10

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist

℗ 2001 Universal Motown Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Some Kinda Love (Version 2 / Live)
00:04:04

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

4
Over You (Version 2 / Live)
00:03:01

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground Trust

5
I Can't Stand It (Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:07:53

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist

℗ 1974 The Island Def Jam Music Group

6
There She Goes Again (Version 2 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:02:50

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

7
After Hours (Version 2 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:02:29

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

8
We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 2 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:03:39

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

9
Sweet Bonnie Brown (It's Just Too Much) (Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:07:49

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist

℗ 1974 The Island Def Jam Music Group

10
Heroin (Version 2 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:10:04

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

11
White Light/White Heat (Version 1 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:09:26

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

12
I'm Set Free (Live)
00:04:46

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

DISC 3

1
We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 3 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:03:13

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

2
Some Kinda Love (Version 3 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:04:38

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

3
There She Goes Again (Version 3 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:02:58

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

4
Heroin (Version 3 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:08:27

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

5
Ocean (Live From The Matrix, San Francisco, CA / 1969)
00:10:59

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist

℗ 1974 The Island Def Jam Music Group

6
Sister Ray (Live)
00:36:53

Sterling Morrison, ComposerLyricist - Maureen Tucker, ComposerLyricist - John Cale, ComposerLyricist - Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

DISC 4

1
I'm Waiting For The Man (Version 3 / Live)
00:05:30

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

2
What Goes On (Version 2/ Live)
00:04:31

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

3
Some Kinda Love (Version 4 / Live In San Francisco / 1969)
00:04:02

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2015 The Velvet Underground Trust

4
We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 4 / Live)
00:03:23

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

5
Beginning To See The Light (Live)
00:05:29

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

6
Lisa Says (Live)
00:06:00

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

7
New Age (Live From The Matrix, San Francisco, CA / 1969)
00:06:27

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist

℗ 1974 The Velvet Underground Trust

8
Rock And Roll (Live)
00:06:53

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

9
I Can't Stand It Anymore (Version 2 / Live)
00:06:51

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

10
Heroin (Version 4 / Live)
00:08:15

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

11
White Light/White Heat (Version 2 / Live)
00:08:42

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

12
Sweet Jane (Version 2 / Live)
00:04:19

Lou Reed, ComposerLyricist - The Velvet Underground, MainArtist - Peter Abram, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tardon, Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2014 The Velvet Underground

Album review

The Velvet Underground are arguably the most important American band of the second half of the '60s, but few seemed to think so at the time. The Velvets flew under the radar of public recognition through most of their career, and no one bothered to professionally record their live shows between 1966 and 1970. There have been plenty of authorized and illicit releases of Velvets live tapes (mostly audience recordings) since the early '70s, but one thing they had in common was compromised fidelity; in terms of audio, "pretty OK" is as good as they get, and for fans, listening for the music through the murk is a frustrating challenge. In November 1969, the Velvet Underground played a two-night stand at the Matrix, a club in San Francisco that had a four-track recording rig wired into its sound system; the four sets the band played were taped, and rough mixes of those shows were featured on the fine collection 1969: Velvet Underground Live, and they ranked with the very best VU live documents despite the hiss that hovered over the music. More than 40 years after that album was released, the original Matrix four-track masters have been remixed and remastered, and the four-disc box set The Complete Matrix Tapes marks the first time this material has been released in full. Though extensive excerpts from the new mixes appeared on the expanded 45th anniversary edition of the VU's self-titled third album, and many of these performances are familiar to folks who know 1969: VU Live well, this set's fidelity is a major selling point, even if you're not an audiophile. The Complete Matrix Tapes offers over four and a half hours of the Velvet Underground playing well and recorded with unobtrusive clarity, allowing the listener to hear the details of the performances and the ambience of the room as never before, and it's a remarkably exciting listen. As four sets appear in full, several songs are repeated (each disc includes takes of "Heroin," "Some Kinda Love," and "We're Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together"), but each performance has a personality of its own, and hearing how the band reshaped the longer numbers in repeated versions is a delight for fans into the minutia. (Lou Reed also changes up the lyrics on a few numbers here.) And while conventional wisdom has it that the post-John Cale edition of the band was less fiery and inventive, this lineup -- Reed on guitar and vocals, Sterling Morrison on guitar, Doug Yule on bass and organ, and Maureen Tucker on drums -- plays with strength, commitment, and a sense of adventure that ranks with their best and most purely enjoyable work. The bulk and repetition of The Complete Matrix Tapes will scare away a few casual observers, but anyone who wants to know how this band sounded on-stage on two good nights will find this to be a revelation; it's the best and best-sounding VU live release to date.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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