So many negative reviews seem to only pretend to know much about ambient music, and it's really sad because this is an excellent collection of ambient/drone/noise compositions. I personally am an enthusiast of experimental/non-conventional music, and am perhaps one of the biggest fans of Metal Machine Music around, so when I first learned of this release I jumped at it; mind you that I didn't simply say to myself 'Lou Reed does ambient music? I already love it!' or something similar and equally pretentious; actually, I heard Wind Coda on Reed's myspace page a few years back (decades past in terms of social networking)and I really liked it.
The big point in defense of the noisy equivalent, MMM (it even looks menacing when abbreviated!), or any ambient/noise record, is you have to listen and appreciate the subtleties, the quiet moments that bring about the atmosphere or change it somehow, the warming or cooling of the tone, or your ear suddenly picking up on a sound that had always been there; these are all things I listen to and look forward to every time I pop on a record of this sort, just the same as with MMM, or really any other Lou Reed album (because he has profound subtleties, whether he lets you in on them or not).
To name, for example of ambient music gone bad, the latest David Lynch album (yes, the mastermind behind Eraserhead), called Polish Night Music, is a totally bland 'finger holding a note on a keyboard while another randomly pokes at the keys of a piano' that goes on for an hour, it's really, really awful: no subtleties, the contrast between piano and ambient tones are irrelevant and often conflicting enough to be painful, and virtually the same thing the entire way through. This album however has two very lengthy compositions filled with quiet electronic wisps and howls, but changes gradually, almost evolving as an organic thing. The other two tracks, much shorter, are slightly less 'involving' in way of meditation but are equally relaxing.
The last thing I would like to point out is my terrible problems of insomnia; one reason I enjoy ambient music is that it helps my mind at ease as I try to sleep. This album does just that, I can enjoy while reading, walking, etc, or use it as a functional tool. As a piece of plastic, it does more for me than others can.
And now, really the final thing is this: this is not The Velvet Underground, Transformer, Rock N Roll Animal, etc. It simply isn't meant for that specific--or rather the Lou Reed--audience. I luckily can enjoy Lou Reed and this in equal shares, but it most likely won't be for the vast majority of Lou Reed fans. I think a good test to see if you like this is ask yourself how many times you've willingly listened to the entirety of 'Like A Possum'.