Year Zero Remixed





Rock Sound


Xmas 2007


 Album of the Month


Autor: Neil Gardner






‘Year Zero‘ came as something of a surprise to seasoned Nine Inch Nails watchers. Not only was it released a mere two years after With Teeth‘, an unusually fast turnaround for the normally tardy Trent Reznor, but it was also pretty damn good. A fully realised dystopian concept album, mostly written on a laptop on tour and a reversion to a more streamlined electronic sound, it felt less like a retread of past glories and more like a portal to a new beginning. And with this album fulfilling his Interscope contract, leaving NIN to follow Radiohead‘s lead in direct marketing to their fanbase, the fact Reznor is already talking about a new record suggests this frenzied burst of creativity has not yet reached its peak.


As usual, however, first it‘s time for the obligatory remix album, and having declared that “remix records can be disposable garbage“ - not at all a reference to ‘Things Falling Apart‘ and its THREE versions of ‘Starfuckers Inc.‘ - ‘Y34RZ3ROR3MIX3D‘ is a determined attempt by Trent to do something a little different, commissioning mixes from the likes of hip-hop poet Saul Williams, New Order‘s Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, multi-tasking chamber group Kronos Quartet, NYC bass legend Bill Laswell, Swedish electro act The Knife and even a fan (Pirate Robot Midget) who submitted a remix via the internet. Morris and Gilbert, who get two stabs here, turn ‘Year Zero‘ standout ‘Zero Sum‘ into a burbling electro-ballad and ‘God Given‘ into an old-fashioned EBM stomper, while Christian Fennesz smothers ‘In This Twilight’ in a heat haze of feedback. Williams, long championed by Reznor, transforms ‘Gunshots By Computer’ into an edgy rant, while Ladytron deliver a darkly disco-fied ‘The Beginning Of The End‘ that‘s significantly more impressive than anything they‘ve managed under their own steam of late. Real World‘s Stefan Goodchild beefs up ‘The Warning‘ with some stunning percussion from Senegalese drummer Doudou N‘Diaye Rose, as Kronos Quartet, who have recently also covered Sigur Rós, turn ‘Another Version Of The Truth‘ into a nicely austere chamber piece, On the negative side, The Faint deliver exactly what you’d expect from a fading electroclash act, and The Knife‘s Olof Dreijer opts for the minimal techno approach, distilling ‘Me, I’m Not‘ into a ghostly smear that, like one of Ricardo Villalobos‘ more self-indulgent moments, doesn‘t do enough to justify its 14-minute existence.


More intriguingly, while the triple-vinyl version features additional remixes including one from Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino, the CD also allows fans to reinterpret ‘Year Zero‘ themselves by offering up the masters via Ableton or Garageband. These will then be posted on a specially designed website - and given that the Pirate Robot Midget bass-heavy overhaul doesn‘t sound at all out of place in this exalted company, that could be a very smart move on Reznor’s part. As with all remix albums, ‘Y34RZ3ROR3MIX3D‘ neither adds nor subtracts from the original source, but as Reznor moves into a new and (at present) uncertain future, this is a pretty good stab at kissing the old NIN goodbye.


FOR FANS OF: Nine Inch Nails, Fennesz, New Order, Sau! Williams