Sunday, 23 October 2011

BH- Nine Inch Nails, A history of...

Nine Inch Nails 'formed' in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio whilst Trent Reznor was working as a cleaner at Right Track Studio, Trent recorded his first demo's in the studio after hours- playing most of the instruments himself he made a demo set later known as 'Purest Feeling', heavily influenced by industrial artist 'Skinny Puppy', later released as a bootleg in 1994 by Hawk Records. Their live shows have ranged from the violent and muddy to hi-tech light shows as time has gone on leading to much more advanced sounds- as close to studio as possible; Trent Reznor writes all music but often hires a band when it comes to the recording and live shows (wouldn't make a very good one man live show...)
Reznor however has moved onto other things- his new project with his wife; How to Destroy Angels and scoring several films- having previously been involved with David Lynch film Lost Highway and Natural born Killers directed by Oliver Stone.

 His more recent forays have been with long time collaborator Atticus Ross to create the score for Social Network by David Fincher- (who also directed the video for 'Only') and more recently Renzor and Ross have been working on the score to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo also by Fincher. Reznor and Ross also won an Oscar for their work on Social Network last year- and Reznor has been working on a HBO adaptation of his dystopian Year Zero with the writer from Fight Club being roped in to help based on Reznors 2008 album and ARG (alternate Reality Game) used to help market the album. 

In 1988 Reznor was working as a cleaner at Right Track Studios when he created his first ever demos later known as 'Purest Feeling' a very early version of Pretty Hate Machine- the first big release by Nine Inch Nails spawning singles like 'Head Like a Hole', 'Sin' and 'Down in It'- this wave of more mainstream industrial, combined with the very pop feel to some of the songs proved a success, one which launched Nine Inch Nails into the early 90's. 
This lead to an intense touring period, this and creative issues between Reznor and TVT records led to a huge delay util Reznor released...

Broken, which was much heavier than their previous work, in 1992, following Reznors absence over the arguments with the record company. Which led to this statement by Reznor to be put in the sleeve of each vinyl record.

Broken was secretly recorded from march to august 1992 in a variety of locations
without the permission of
the record label
to ensure it could fester without Divine intervention
now They just leave me alone and let me do what I want

"Broken was a hard recording to make
Broken is an ugly record made during an ugly time in my life
Broken marks phase three of nine inch nails: the becoming
I am starting to realize what this is all about
and I don't like it

Flood starting out producing but I ended up
I'm not sure why

maybe I am what everbody seems to think I am

nine inch nails is still not a real band with real people playing real instruments
there will be no touring for Broken

I am starting work on my new full-length recording - The Downward Spiral - which I
hope will be finished the beginning of 1993

some will come along for the ride, some won't

Trent Reznor, 1992

From Ninwiki 

Happiness in Slavery

These new- darker tracks gave way to something much darker- the Broken film- which to this  day has still never officially been released due to the extreme and graphic content of the video which depicts a slow and ritualistic killing filmed on a very low-res camera- leading some to believe that it was infact a real killing...seriously. 

And as Reznor said the next release was The Downward Spiral- the big 'hit' for Nine Inch Nails with the song 'Closer' combined with a controversial video by Mark Romanek made it gold dust.
A concept album about the general destruction and fall of one man led to some seriously overwrought tracks filled with noise and screams. The 90's proved to be the biggest decade for Nine Inch Nails who at that point seemed to be going from strength to strength- a new sound with each new album as it appeared at that point.

(turn your speakers up)

Cue a five year gap in which Reznors problems became news and he all but vanished from 

the musical scene until 1999 with The Fragile which cut opinion in two- some seeing it as overwrought and far too depressing and others seeing it as a work of art spread over two discs of goodness. 

Although defiantly more depressing than the prior album The Fragile did contain some single material such as 'We're in this together now'  and the censored 'Starsuckers'

Cue another vanishing act from Reznor- who goes into rehab for alcohol addiction and 6 years go by until the release of 'With Teeth' a much more mainstream album- filled with catchy songs with plenty to make them far more catchy then the Fragile with more hooks to boot but it seemed almost that Nine Inch Nails had lost its bite or to others had adapted to a more modern audience.It generally divided fans.

Year Zero appeared 18 months later- a slick concept album on what Reznor perceived to be flaws on the american society. He said that the album was 'for a movie that never existed' This, however, is on the way, with Reznor producing a show for HBO with a hopeful air date of late 2012.
To compliment this Reznor created a vast online viral marketing scheme. Focusing on the proposed end of the world with a totalitarian US government in control- and various drugs used to control the masses with daily terrorist attacks taking place in protest- something not too far detached from today- releasing websites and codes for fans to trawl through. 
Here is one example:  

However Reznor took issue with the record companies pricing of it and prompted fans to 'steal it' leading to another huge fallout between Reznor and Universal Records. Signaling his departure to the foundation of 'Null Corperation' through which Reznor published Ghosts I-IV and the Slip for free for charge and launched the NiN remix site (more on this in future blog posts)

Following this seperation he begin to work on film soundtracks with Atticus Ross- on Social Network by David Fincher and the upcoming Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Thus concludes 20+ years of Nine Inch Nails history with Reznors promise that there's more to come...

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