Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nine Inch Nails

"I've been considering and wanting to make this kind of record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn't have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective - dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams."
-Trent Reznor

I first listened to Pretty Hate Machine in 1991 during my Freshman year at college. More important that my engineering classes was the musical awakening I undertook through new friends from far off lands (New Jersey). PHM was different from anything I had yet encountered in my life up to that point and I was enthralled by it. In those pre-wikipedia days, information on bands was hard to find, and the liner notes to the album offered little more than the lyrics.

In 1992, I remember buying Broken the day it came out (the version with the 3" mini-disc), going home, playing it, and being blown away. Absolutely blown away. To this day, Broken epitomizes Trent Reznor for me.

I can remember getting the single for March of the Pigs the day before The Downward Spiral was released, and then going back the next day to pick up the album. Once again, NIN had re-imagined itself and put together an album completely unexpected.

NIN fell of my radar screen after The Downward Spiral with the five years elapsing before The Fragile came out and it wasn't until With Teeth was released that I revisited them. I guess my point in taking the trip down memory lane is to illustrate the point that Trent has never grown stagnant in the close to 20 years he's been creating under the moniker Nine Inch Nails. With the release of Ghosts I-IV last month, he continues with his evolution.

Two discs. Two "Ghosts" on each disc. Nine tracks in each ghost. "A soundtrack for daydreams," he calls it. Completely instrumental. Who saw that coming? Surely he's played with instrumental tracks before, but in the manner of transitions. Songs to move you from one place to the next on the album. Here, the instrumentals are the place. Some are hazy and indefinite. Some are throbbing industrialism. Others cold electronica. Others...

Even without lyrics, it still feels like Trent. It's not created to listen to at one sitting though, at least not with you intently focusing on it. I'm guessing Trent has divided up into the four sections to represent them as four separate entities, although I'd be hard pressed to figure out how/why the tracks were divided up into the four Ghosts they way they are. That being said, the two tracks are I picked out below are somewhat arbitrary are by no means able to represent the Ghosts they come from, the discs they're on, or the album as a whole. They're simply tracks that I particularly enjoyed for themselves.

You can either purchase the two discs physically for fairly cheap, or you can download them all digitally for the insanely cheap price of $5 from Amazon. $5 doesn't get you much now-a-days. It will get you these 36 tracks though. Plan on listening to it when you can completely focus on it though for you to really hear it. Be prepared for something different, again.

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1000 Homo DJs - Supernaut
: Black Box: Wax Trax! Records, The First 13 Years


Sean H. said...

That version of Supernaut is not by NIN. It is by 1000 Homo DJ's which was a collaboration between Al Jourgensen of Ministry and Trent Reznor. The version was released around 1994.

Sean said...

Quite right Sean - incorrectly labeled by me.