Sunday, October 12, 2008

Atmospheric Sunday: Nine Inch Nails, 'A Warm Place'

Trent Reznor is no stranger to having praise heaped upon him, the Los Angeles Times considers him one of the most acclaimed creative figures of his generation and Spin magazine described him as “the most vital artist in music”, he’s had people like David Bowie clamouring to work with him, taken on the record industry (now technically an unsigned artist) and managed to transcend genre barriers to become something of a hero for groups as diverse as indie kids and industrial metallers.

In other words he’s sickeningly talented.

To record his third album “The Downward Spiral”, Reznor rented the house actress Sharon Tate was murdered in by members of the Manson Family in 1969, this should give you an inclination as to the the despair and often nihilistic visions found in the music.

It seems as though Reznor can write the perfect melody, deconstruct it and put it back together to make something new, something ugly, but Reznor finds beauty in the slaughterhouse vibe. Every thing on the album is designed for aural abrasion, clouds of static coloured by low-tech futurism producing a thrilling, synthetic version of hard rock. One track stands alone amid all the chaos, ‘A Warm Place’ is like a little bubble of calm in the middle of an apocalyptic riot.

On closer inspection the track lacks none of the unsettling qualities of its more brutal neighbours, if one listens closely, you can hear muted lyrics: “The best thing about life is knowing you put it all together” a document of Reznors conscious descent into oblivion(he became something of a recluse after the following tour). This makes the drifting ambience all the more disturbing, Reznor has found a womb of inevitability amidst the carnage. Menacing stuff.

Where to find: The Downward Spiral (1994)

No comments: