100 Coolest Rock Stars : Trent Number One!!
More than anyone, Nine Inch Nails' mainman Trent Reznor deserves credit for
the open-minded, eclectic and adventurous state of Planet Rock in 1998. In
addition to shaping Marylin Manson's warped electro-goth vision and
revolutionising the way movie soundtracks are assembled on 'Natural Born
Killers', the Cleveland-born studio whizzkid is almost single-handedly
responsible for breaking down the boundaries between rock and dance music.
He has encouraged Luddite rock musicians to embrace technology by proving
that dance beats can be as skull-crushingly intense as filthy riffs, that synths
don't necessarily suck, and that computers arent the work of the Devil.
A self-confessed loner, Reznor was inspired by the disquieting electronic
ambience of David Bowie's 1977 album 'Low' and Lou Reed's 1972
masterpiece 'Transformer'. He spent his early 20's raging with the machines,
perfecting the art of perverting samples, programming beats and
deconstructing conventional ideas of melody and tonality at Cleveland's Right
In 1990, he released Nine Inch Nails' debut album, 'Pretty Hate Machine'. An
awe-inspiring collage of grinding synths, scarring guitars and angst-filled 'tunes'
chronicling bad trips, loveless sex and bleak moods, it peaked with the
awesome streamlined rush of 'Head Like A Hole'- a mechanical masterclass in
manipulating mood and dynamics. Following two incendiary, hate-filled
mini-albums - '91's 'Broken' and '92's 'Fixed' - which veered perilously close
towards unlistenable self-indulgence, Reznor's years in self-imposed isolation
spat forth his master opus, 1994's 'The Downward Spiral'.
"All I know is I made a small-scale, personal, potentially ugly record that
reflected how I felt," Reznor told Kerrang! after its release. One listen to the
nihilistic thoughts contained within the album is enough to leave you in no doubt
that at the time, its creators mind nust have been a terrible thing to taste.
A flood of wan NIN imitators have emerged in the four years since '... Spiral',
but typically Reznor has moved onto another creative plane. In 1998,
electronic rock's dark prince is taking on board techno, drum 'n' bass and
experimental influences as he seeks to move the whole notion of hard-edged
music one step beyond yet again. The next NIN album - working title 'The
Fragile' - is scheduled for release later this year. "It has," says Reznor, "the
sound of a stereo exploding."
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.