REZNOR GETS REMIXED, WITH VARYING RESULTS.
THE RECENT news that Trent Reznor gutted his
longest standing touring band of two years to return Nine Inch Nails back to a
solo venture shouldn‘t come as much of a surprise to his fans. Reznor has
always tinkered and tweaked with the NIN machinery always searched for new
definitions of his work, never satisfied to let anything be. Since 1994‘s The
Downward Spiral, he‘s released albums filled with definitive songs only to
dismantle the music several months later with extensive remix projects, while
his revolving door policy now counts a list of former members 18 strong. And
then there‘s the fact that his last full-length, Year Zero, released earlier
this year, came in tandem with a deliberately complex Orwellian conspiracy
theory/multimedia experience that extended even the cover art beyond the
physical medium of ink and paper to include anyone who discussed it.
It also helped that it was some of his best
work in years, and that‘s part of the problem with this sister release of reinterpretations.
Whereas Year Zero was a record full of risks
and daring Imagination from one mind at a creative high, Y34RZ3ROR3MIX3D, like
1995‘s Further Down The Spiral and 2000‘s Things Falling Apart, sees Reznor
throwing out his tracks to a host of disparate sources with names largely alien
to the rock world, with equally contrasting visions. Though there‘s few
missteps - alt-rapper Saul Williams‘ transformation of Hyperpower into an
apocalyptic MC shockwave (retitled appropriately enough as Gunshots By Computer
here), or Pirate Robot Midget‘s sleazy clubland treatment of My Violent Heart
are respectable enough variations - Reznor‘s own dexterity with studio gadgetry
makes his initial ideas hard to match. NY avantgarde groove guru Bill Laswell
brings little to Vessel‘s electro grind, while New Order‘s Gillian Gilbert and
Stephen Morris approach God Given‘s mutant dance pulse and Zero Sum‘s warped
gospel tones with a disappointingly tepid ear. Only Fennesz and Ladytron (the
former giving the beautiful In This Twilight a trippy, eye of the storm
reshape, the latter working darkwave alchemy with The Beginning Of The End‘s
grating guitar-rock) present themselves as replace-the-album track adversaries.
Ultimately, there‘s still plenty here for
committed NIN fans to explore, but the rest might want to wait for the next
instalment proper from the man himself.