Thursday, June 9, 2011

Halo Collection Part 1

This will begin a series of posts about the Halo Collection. No, I am not talking about Master Chief, as power armor is for pussies, as Duke Nukem points out above. I am talking about the discography of Nine Inch Nails. The entire discography. All singles, everything. There are 27 Halo'd releases. They span over the 20 years that Trent Reznor was releasing music as Nine Inch Nails. Over the next few weeks I will review the entire collection.

Of course, We begin with Halo 01, Down In It. This represents the first release by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. The US release has three mixes of the first single of Pretty Hate Machine which is obviously Down In It. The UK version has 6 mixes. I own the US CD release and the US Vinyl release. The vinyl isn't really pressed on any audiophile quality material, it is a simple 130g pressed vinyl, but due to the short nature of the release, the sound fidelity is quite amazing. I think its due to being pressed on a 12" record. The vinyl is semi-translucent and contains 2 mixes on side A and 1 mix on side B. The standard album release is of course included, and the two mixes are the Shred mix and the Singe mix, respectively. The shred mix is a more subdued mix of Down In It, a lot of the electronic elements seem to be shredded from the song (lol). It's total time is also double that of the original. After the lyrics end, the song is shredded into an industrial mix for the last half of the song. Overall a really awesome remix. The Singe mix starts with drums and electronical elements only, as the rest of the song slowly is built on top of that. Rather than be focused on the lyrics, this mix is more of a soundscape composed from the various elements of the original song. In a lot of ways it is more remeniscent of Trent's more recent work, such as Ghosts. I look at it as a representation of what Ghosts I-IV would have been like had it been written in 1989. Overall, a great introduction to Nine Inch Nails and a great starting point for a Halo collection.

Pretty Hate Machine is the first full length release by Nine Inch Nails. Being the second release, it has been released as Halo 02, and more recently 02R for the remastered version released in 2010. As an entire album, it is closer to With Teeth then The Downward Spiral or The Fragile. Specifically, it is a completely song-oriented release. I have heard it described as more easily accessible. You can pick any song out of the CD and enjoy it, there really isn't any over-arching story in the album. The original mixes for this CD were recorded by Trent Reznor when he worked at Right Track Studios. He played all of the instruments himself and recorded a demo CD which he called Purest Feeling. The demo was shopped around and Reznor was signed to TVT Records. Pretty Hate Machine could be considered the polishing of Purest Feeling. The album is classified as industrial, and retains some synth elements from Purest Feeling, though very little. The electronic/industrial songs age really well, and many are still a staple of live performances. Something I Can Never Have may be my favorite song by Nine Inch Nails. This is the beginning of Nine Inch Nails as it evolved and as fame and pressure shaped the man behind it. The overarching theme could be said to be sex, and with the fame that ensued after Trent began touring, this album was catapulted into the mainstream like few indie releases before it.

Stay tuned for more posts in the coming weeks!