Aug 26, 2003

REAL-TIME MUSIC REVIEW #1... Still by nine inch nails

REAL-TIME MUSIC REVIEW #1... Still by nine inch nails
Currently (as of right this minute) listening to the first tracks of Still by nine inch nails... it’s really something – the equivalent of an acoustic album for an electronic/industrial group, it’s really quite powerful. I’m in the mood for quiet, introspective work that may have something else lurking beneath the surface. I’m not sure if this album is an anti-mix collection of older stuff, and in the interest of being as true to life as I can, I’m posting my thoughts as writing, rather than the cleaned up version that would come after I go online to check what the heck this album really is. It’s a bold move for Trent Reznor, considering how much of his work thrives on the rhythms that he creates, and the mechanical constructs in which his wounded persona lives. But perhaps at the end, this is the most raw, the most brutally honest that he could create because he has discovered that his voice in itself is the best instrument to capture the pathos that his menagerie of characters are living.

Wait – there’s a live band coming in, or at least that’s what it feels like – fading up in the aftermath of the fragile. There it is – there’s the volume that I was looking for – and it’s just his voice coming up over the explosive (live?) thunderclaps of percussion that wave over the track. And the feedback of the guitar that lives beyond that one track... that may be the beginning of a more electronic album that I... wait. Now we are in The Becoming, and it is again a piano... playing a rhythm that repeats.

OK – now I hear the electronic sounds that I was expecting all along. What a ride. “It’s a part of me – it’s inside of me. It’s changing me. I am becoming.” His vocals are still very much at the forefront of this track. It’s great to hear a real piano (or realistic piano sound, at any rate) be used in this context. I wish that I had the whole album. Damn file sharing has given me a listening experience without the climax that I would have hoped for.

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