NIN (n):Nine Inch Nails, a pop-ish alternative industrial-esque band which consists of one constant member, Trent Reznor of Cleveland, Ohio, and any number of people who perform live with him. Each album seems to follow the "I hate myself" line of thought. Released so far (ignoring remix singles) have been "Pretty Hate Machine" (I hate myself and want to die), "Broken" (EP) (I hate myself and I want to kill), and "The Downward Spiral" (I hate myself and I want to f*ck). Singles include "Head Like a Hole", "Sin", "March of the Pigs", and "Closer". Also released was "Fixed", a remix album of "Closer": only recommended for die-hard NIN fans. Recommendations on listening: pick up "Pretty Hate Machine" and "The Downward Spiral" (in that order) and listen. Listen again. Listen again. If you are not an addict yet, perhaps NIN is not for you. If you are, then pick up the "Head like a Hole" single and "Broken", and whatever else you can get your grubby little hands on.
-- Tyler Haulenbeek (originally written for the RMUSIC-L mailing list, subsequently posted to alt.music.nin by Robin the Mad Photographer, according to a message I got from Tyler after he saw this page. (grin) Small world...)
my personal collection, in approximte chronological order:
This is a bootleg studio 'live' recording from 1988, the year before pretty hate machine was released. Contains some interesting early versions of material from phm, along with two tracks never put on an album, "maybe just once" and "purest feeling."
halo one: down in it
The first release from nin. A three song single, just mixes of "down in it."
halo two: pretty hate machine
Trent's first full-length album. My first introduction to nin, in early 1990, just a relatively short time after phm had been released, and before "head like a hole" started appearing on emtpy-v.
halo three: head like a hole
The first track off of phm to really get lots of radio and video play. Various mixes of "hlah," "dii," "terrible lie," and one non-album track, "you know who you are," an instrumental mix of noises, most taken from "hlah."
halo three: head like a hole (import)
This version of the "hlah" single has the artwork Trent intended for all releases of the single, according to posts attributed to him on Prodigy some time ago. Three tracks, one of which (the 'opal' mix) is one of my favorite remixes of "hlah."
halo four: sin
The second single from phm. Three mixes of "sin," and a remake of Queen's "get down make love." The remake has samples from the original Queen version, and a quick sample of "We Will Rock You" thrown in at the end.
Pigface is a constantly changing band, usually made up of musicians from the industrial/alternative scene - basically, whoever wants to be in it when they get around to touring or recording an album. This is their first album, and the only album that Trent worked on with Pigface. Has two tracks with Reznor's name in the credits, "The Bushmaster, and "suck," the latter of which was later re-recorded by nin, to some controversy. Note: I'm guessing at Gub's chronological spot in this mess, there's no copyright date on the fool thing. However, it was just pointed out to me that on the packaging for broken, "suck" is given a copyright of 1991, so this would be about right.
1000 Homo DJ's: Supernaut
A four-song ep, this is a collaboration of Reznor and other folks, I believe including Alain Jourgensen, Martin Atkins, Jelo Biafra...and a couple others. Damn, I used to have it written down, they all use aliases on the album. Trent plays guitars here...was originally supposed to do the vocals on the song "supernaut," but contract problems with TVT had Jourgensen re-record the vocals himself instead.
Wax Trax Black Box
While this set was released recently, I include it here because it has the original recording of "supernaut" - the one with Reznor on vocals. Almost identical to the released version, enough so that there is ongoing controversy as to whether or not Jourgensen really re-recorded the vocals, or just sent them through another couple layers of distortion. Personally, I think they were re-recorded.
Machines of Loving Grace: Burn Like Brilliant Trash (at Jackie's Funeral)
MLoG released an album on their own around this time. As far as I can tell, Trent got ahold of it, liked it, and got in touch with the band. What resulted was this single, three mixes of "BLBT" re-produced and mixed by Trent. I thought this was out of print, but lately have started seeing it on the shelves again. Hmm...
A single from Curve, has a remix of "Missing Link" (the 'screaming bird' mix) by Trent. Probably the closest I've heard Trent come to experimenting with ambient.
Megadeth: Foreclosure of a Dream
I never thought I'd buy any Megadeth, but this import single has a 10-minute long attack by Trent on their "Symphony of Destruction." The first Megadeth I've found that I've really liked...I wonder why. :)
halo five: broken
After a long wait, Trent finally released new material from nin. This six-song ep is much harsher, meaner, and faster than phm was - the kind of stuff you'd want playing while you ripped someone's throat out with your teeth. Yg. Also includes two extra tracks, "too physical," an Adam Ant remake, and "suck," a more fleshed out version of the Pigface song. The first pressing of broken had the two extra songs on a mini 3" cd, subsequent pressings have the tracks as either 7 and 8, or 98 and 99 (with 7-97 being blank). Yes, I have the mini-cd...
halo six: fixed
A collection of remixes of the material on broken. The first three are more 'standard' mixes, the last three get downright bizarre...I like them, but it's not really reccommended as an introduction to nin, unless you count Skinny Puppy's "Download" as one of your favorite songs. Had a limited domestic release, then went to import-only, not sure if it is back in domestic release yet or not.
solid gold hell
This is live bootleg recording I picked up. One of the better ones...the first four tracks are extremely good quality (soundboard?), the rest are okay...but almost more crowd noise than concert.
The Crow soundtrack
One song from nin here, a remake of an old Joy Division (I think) song, "dead souls." Good remake, but not one of my favorite nin songs...did fit extremely well with the movie, though.
Tori Amos: Under the Pink
So, does Tori seem a little out of place on this list? :) The fourth track on this album, "Past the Mission," has Trent doing backup vocals...very soft and subdued. Quite nice really. Apparently Trent and Tori are very good friends...nifty, eh?
Marilyn Manson: Portrait of an American Family/Get Your Gunn
One of the first bands on Reznor's private label, nothing, their first album was fairly heavily produced by him. He also contributed backing vocals and horns (he plays sax, believe it or not) to a couple of the songs, and did a remix of "Get Your Gunn" called "Mother Superior Got Her Gunn" for their first single.
A single off their album Angst, Trent contributes the 'fat back dub' remix of "Light."
halo seven: march of the pigs
The first single off of nin's second album. A good long mix of 'motp' (though I wish they'd kept the 7/4 time), and some other mixes, including two of 'reptile.'
halo eight: the downward spiral
The second full-length album. Kind of a mix in sound between phm and broken...elements of both, plus some new twists. Not a cheerful album, though...very violent, leading up to a suicide. An extremely good album, I like it a lot...just not happy. Not that Trent makes much happy stuff... :)
halo nine: closer to god
The second nin song to get truly major radio and video play...kind of amusing when the chorus is "I want to f*ck you like an animal." Anyway, mostly remixes of 'closer' on this disc, also has one sweet remix of 'heresy.'
Another live bootleg, this one includes more recent material. All decent quality, somewhere between the good and the bad on solid gold hell.
Natural Born Killers soundtrack
An amalgamation of tons of music, this album blends songs into songs into other songs, along with dialog from the movie. Just as twisted and fun as the movie is.... Includes two pre-released nin tracks, "something i can never have" from phm and "a warm place" from tds, and one new track, "burn." Sweet song...
demo's and remixes
One of the best bootlegs released yet. Some early bits from around the time of purest feeling, 'supernaut' and 'suck' from the halo00 bootleg, and various dj mixes of stuff from phm, broken, and tds (though it usually just means any curses are edited out). Apparently there are at least two pressings of this disc, one of which has annoying hiss all through it, and the other doesn't. Seems I was lucky enough to get the better pressing...nifty. :)
Credited only to "The Hitman," this is a bootleg disc mega-mix of nin songs. Decently done, though there are a few rough spots that pop up now and then. Packaging is a little sloppy on my copy...the front slipcover is probably a color print or copy (only printed on one side of a piece of paper), and is very sloppily cut. (shrug) The music's cool, though. Overall, decent, though it strikes me as a little unpolished. I'm also notoriously picky, though...(grin).
halo ten: further down the spiral
Similar in concept to fixed, this is a compilatin of remixes of songs from tds. Contributions came from some of the same people that helped with fixed, and quite a few new names. A very impression collection of takes on reznor's work, with mixes of "piggy," "mr. self destruct," "downward spiral," "hurt," "eraser," and whatever other sounds they decided to include.
halo ten v2: further down the spiral
Version two of fdts is the import version. Has a few tracks duplicated from the domestic version, and some tracks of its own, including two incredible remixes (one of "heresy" and one of "ruiner") by Charlie Clouser, who has recently been brought into the current nin touring lineup. If you can only get one version of fdts, this is the one I'd reccommend...but it's better to get both. :)
rusy nails ii
A sequel to the rusty nails bootleg, again by The Hitman. Much better quality than the first, both in packaging and (more importantly) musically. Includes some material from the fdts discs in the remixes. Cuts between songs are much smoother than the first...more of actually blending the songs in and out of each other, rather than just cutting between (the first did both, also, just not as smooth). This one's definitely worth getting if you can find it, imnsho.
Nine Inch Richards: Closer To Hogs
Basically, imho, funny as hell. An Austrailian group's take on 'closer,' this is one of the better parodys I've seen. The words are barely altered, but the music is set to this goofy hick-country twang, an incredible drawl to the voice, and ends up being a none-too-subtle take on bestiality. A well-produced disc, even uses the same design style, font, and so on as the 'closer' single. From the liner notes:
The song you have just heard is true...the manes have been changed to protect the innocent.
No animals have been harmed during the making of this sound recording.
It is not our intention to promote wanton sex with animals. We believe that an emotional component is necessary for successful relationships between consenting mammals.
This track was recorded without the use of any drugs whatsoever except for some chocolate cake...and the one beer that Mike had on the Thursday night.
David Bowie: The Heart's Filthy Lesson
The first single off of Bowie's latest album, Outside, this was released about the time the David Bowie/nine inch nails "Outside" tour kicked off. Bowie's sound for this album has taken on a more mechanical, darker sound than much of his other recent work, prompting people to wonder just how much reznor might be influencing Bowie. I think it's amusing, given that reznor's stated before that Bowie's been a big influence on his music, and has a tendency to play old Bowie albums before his concerts at times. In any case, it's fun to see two such innovative musicians working together. The single for 'THFL' includes one remix by reznor and Dave Ogilvie (the 'alt.' mix - mayhaps a nod to the various internet newsgroups? ['alt.'music.bowie, 'alt.'music.nin, and so on...])
Other nin stuff:
last: the butch vig remix
According to what I've heard, this remix of last was done at the request of reznor, who asked butch vig to make it more 'rock' like, when work was being done on the fixed ep. When trent got the finished remix, though, he wasn't too fond of it. A while ago, someone (I wish I knew who) got ahold of this mix, recorded it, and posted it on the Internet. That site has since been lost in the annals of Internet lore, but I was able to grab the soundfile while it was around. Interesting mix...I'd like to get it here on the page for y'all to download, but right now my service provider only sets aside one meg of drive space for webpages, and the soundfile is something around two megs. Gerf. I'll talk to them and see if I can get it up, but I'm not sure if I can without jumping my rates...we'll see.
piggy: the rick rubin remix
One of the mixes of 'piggy', off of tds. Don't know of any story behind this one, aside than it is the first track on halo ten, further down the spiral. This was recorded and posted on the net quite a while (a couple of months) before fdts finally appeared, and could be found at the nin import homepage...I'm not sure if it's still there or not.
nine inch nails: cerebral destruction
A bootleg (I assume) video tape, marked on the label as 'halo vision one'. Pretty good for a bootleg, though. High quality copies of all nin videos up to (but not including) hurt, both censored and uncensored versions (when there are such), and the much-discussed 'broken' mini-film, by reznor and peter christopherson. Twisted. Very much so.
the downward spiral
Limited release on vinyl. Still in mint condition...haven't even broken the shrink wrap.
march of the pigs
Limited release 7" etched vinyl. motp on one side, and the spiral design from tds etched into the other. Mint condition.
march of the pigs
Limited release 9" vinyl. Just kind of a goofy size. Mint condition.
the reznor heater t-shirt
Just too nifty. A shirt created by Robin the Mad Photographer, one of alt.music.nin's regular denizens. The front is a collage of Reznor industrial heaters, with "hey, trent...is it me, or is it hot in here?" below. The back says, "alt.music.nin burning this whole world down." Very cool, only available through Robin on the 'net. According to a note I got from Robin along with the shirt, this is only one of two reznor heater shirts in Anchorage...and the other belongs to her sister! Woo...
Related non-nin bits:
The debut album (I think), this was relesed on reznor's 'nothing' record label, and the first five tracks were produced by trent. I believe he lends his voice to at least one of the tracks. Decent stuff, imho obviously nin-influenced.
Filter: Slow Bus
Another debut album. This is the work of Richard Patrick, formerly a member of the nin live act, during the phm tour days. Sounds kind of like a bizarre combination of nin and nirvana, at times. Still has some pretty fun stuff.
Hope & Vasoline is an online magazine put together by some of the people on a.m.nin...and I have to admit, is usually pretty damn impressive. Well put together, good graphics, and I've found some really interesting stuff in it from time to time. Worth a look, definitely.
Lots more nin information can be found in the nin faq!