Nine Inch Nails may be dead as of 2009, but Reznor is alive an well and that’s really all I care about. A long-standing fan of literally everything Reznor has ever created (yep, even down to that stint in Light of Day), I was excited to discover that the reason he was back in the studio again was to record what is to become music for his latest project How to Destroy Angels (later referred to here as HTDA) with his new wife (and frontwoman of West Indian Girl) Mariqueen Maandig.
Without assuming too much, I’d like to think this is homage (or direct reference actually) to the early album and 17 minute song of the same name by the band Coil, which when their “HTDA” was recorded Peter Christopherson had just come on as a member (after being part of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV). Christopherson later went on to collaborate with Reznor (John Balance of Coil also did as well) both musically as well as visually. By the debut of Coil’s first LP, they had also picked up J.G. Thirlwell (who once again went on to collaborate with Reznor). Christopherson certainly isn’t working with Reznor on visuals anymore, that’s now in the capable hands of Rob Sheridan who Reznor seems to have employed since as long as I can recall. Sheridan is clearly behind the artwork surrounding HTDA given the signature style he’s developed.
All that’s been made available in promotion of HTDA is the following (with the exception of a couple cryptic photos of broken glass and uneaten rice with roses. (Find those at Twitter). These are only 40 second teasers, but man do they make you want to hear more. Let’s review…
This may be the coolest instrument I’ve heard Trent Reznor break out yet, and the teaser of it just makes me want to hear more. I have absolutely no idea what it is, other than something that obviously is pitchshifting. Apparently, I’m not alone in my quest to uncover the secrets of Reznor’s new sound though, on HTDA’s new Facebook page there is actually a discussion on this very topic. Though not definitive by virtue of the discussion thread, the speculation is that the instrument is “rare.” I’m not so sure about that since Mariqueen recently Tweeted about playing Reznor’s MS20 (the keyboard in the video) and something called a “Dewanatron Swarmatron,” which he had just purchased from Big City Music. So I Google search this instrument and voila!
So this installment of the teaser series gives more than just a sneak peek at a woman’s hand (assumed to have been Mariqueen’s), and reveals a face! The face of Atticus Ross I believe? (I don’t know, I haven’t seen Ross’s face enough to recall – sorry.)
Teaser #3 invites us to sneak peek at Reznor’s part in some of this, tearing up and down the fret giving us the shiny fuck you slide finger. This is great clip of a classic sounding, textural guitar FX. It almost makes we want to go back and re-listen to the “Fixed” EP. But first…
Number four is a very cool clip indeed. Finally, some light is shed on what the combination of Mariqueen + Atticus + Trent equals. If this is a highlight into a final cut of one of their EP tracks, this album will be pretty awesome. At this point, adding up all that I have heard (the four pieces above, that is), it’s almost like a new updated Coil album, if Coil were to ever make industrial or EBM music that were more repeat-listenable like this.
I’ll update this blog (and repost) as new materials are made available.