At this particular moment in time we’re living, if you are one of those who get easily depressed, I would never recommend Nine Inch Nail’s new albums Ghost V – Together and Ghost VI – Locusts.
Nevertheless, Trent Reznor have been releasing an immense amount of intimist, emotional music since 2008 Ghost I-IV, so If you are a thoughtful person, here’s something made for you. Since that album, Halo 26th, Reznor and, especially, his band mate Atticus Ross, have been producing mainly instrumental tracks, opening a new chapter in NIN’s repertoire. I don’t think I speak falsely when I say that there’s a Nine Inch Nails before Ghost I – IV and a Nine Inch Nails afterward. After 2008, Reznor and Ross have always been giving their best when focusing on pianos and atmospheres. That is why their old friend David Fincher commissioned them three soundtracks in ten years: The Social Network (which also won as best soundtrack at the Oscars in 2011), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (which full length is longer than the movie itself!), Gone Girl. All of these works are deep reflections, sometimes obscure and dark, sometimes full of hope and prospect.
This is probably what mainly differ also between Together and Locusts. The first new album seems to be an attempt to recall joy and positive feelings, the second one is what happens when dark clouds gather around in your mind and soul. These newborns LP are much closer to Reznor and Ross recent soundtrack experiences than Ghost I-IV, in which echoes of Nine Inch Nails classics were more rumbling.
The inquisitiveness towards the world of movie scoring is not something not seen before. 1980’s movie Flash Gordon was scored by Queen. That experience pushed Freddie Mercury to say they really appreciated the job, and were willing to repeat it (6 years later, with the album A Kind of Magic, they’ll score Highlander). Flash Gordon’s soundtrack is a magnificent space experience, blending atmospherical tracks with rock’n’roll power. Brian May will also work, solo, on other movie soundtracks (Furia, 1999).
One of the most interesting experience in this field, is the one of Clint Mansell. Pop Will Eat Itself frontman, after the first band hiatus in 1996, a bunch of indie albums and collaborations like the one with The Prodigy, was called by a young Darren Aronofsky to score is masterpiece Requiem For a Dream. The movie main theme “Lux Aeterna” became a real hit, reused in many other movies, tv ads, documentaries. Mansell enjoyed that experience pretty much if you consider that he continued releasing almost a couple of Movie Scores every year (In 2001, he released four movie soundtracks). Among his best works we cannot forget Moon and Black Swan OST. As Reznor and Ross became an ispiring soundtrack partner for David Fincher, Angelo Badalamenti for David Lynch, Hans Zimmer for Christopher Nolan, Mansell became Aronofsky’s muse.
Many others have been experiencing this bond in between music and cinema: Massive Attack with Danny The Dog (2005), Daft Punk with Tron Legacy (2010), Graham Coxon scoring Netflix’s TV series The End of The Fucking World (2017) Big Beat artist Junkie XL, who scored many movies included Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Not only artists from the music scene have been intrigued by the world of movies. Recently composer Ramin Djawadi, nowadays renowned for scoring Game of Thrones, in his soundtrack for HBO Westworld reinterpreted many nineties success such as Soundgarden Black Hole Sun, Radiohead No Surprises, Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box, The Cure A Forest, just to name a few, to be used in the tv series.
Too many I’ve not mentioned in this “portrait”, but what’s interesting is the silent, sometimes neglected, union between this two worlds. Occasional funny experimentations and hidden, firm, long lasting relations between movie directors and music artists are another fascinating phenomenon which push curiosity, especially for those who don’t switch to another channel when the end credits begin, waiting to discover who took care of the score.