Review: NIN, “The Slip”

NIN released another new CD available to download for for free. “The Slip” is 44 minutes long and consists of 10 brand-new tracks. All of the tracks are licensed under a “creative commons attribution non-commercial share alike license,” i.e., remixing and sharing are both encouraged.

The following are my initial impressions of the songs on the album. I have only listened to the album once in its entirety, so my opinions will most likely change as time goes on (for example, I used to skip right some of the instrumental tracks on earlier NIN albums until I learned to actively listen to what was going on in them.)

1. 999,999 (1:25): As if Trent hasn’t created enough instrumentals in the past two months, here is another one. I really like this one, though. It’s short and a great precursor to 1,000,000. The background noises remind me of a warning siren (hard to explain, but not a high-pitched one akin to those on emergency vehicles; more like something I’ve heard in movies) and later a staticy radio.

2. 1,000,000 (3:56): Another quality track with fuzz guitar. Trent is really into the fuzz guitar, I notice, and re-occurring lyrics/themes.

3. Letting You (3:50): More “fuzzy” noises this time on the vocals AND guitar. The voice effect reminds me of something from Ministry, and the track its self has an aggressive, Downward Spiral feeling to it.

4. Discipline (4:19): The dance hit of 2008!! Or as Meathead said, “NIN’s first second third hot new dance number specifically targeted at the gay community.” Well, regardless of what he thinks about this song, I think it is awesome… and filled with fuzz guitar! I think Trent might be abusing that now. Pick a different guitar pedal.

5. Echoplex (4:45): Okay, so there is a slightly different guitar effect on this track. Thanks, Trent; I see you found the guitar pedals that have been stashed away in storage since recording “The Fragile.” Anyway, I listened to this for the first time last week, and I honestly did not like it. It seemed incomplete, and I didn’t like the drum machine beat. After listening to it a second time, I like it a little, but not much more. It is a culmination of previously used sounds and techniques: The piano, the guitar, whispering… that other sound that I can’t describe.

6. Head Down (4:55): The fuzz guitar is back, and Trent sounds angry! And confused! (“There is not a single thing I can recognize.”) I love the instrumental/digital breakdown starting at 2:55. It sounds like a malfunctioning fax machine…

7. Lights in the Sky (3:30): Trent has calmed down and taken a seat at the piano for this one… and I am instantly reminded of “Hurt” or something from “Still.” It’s beautiful, sad, and seamlessly fades into the next track…

8. Corona Radiata (7:34): The second instrumental track and the longest track on the album. This would make a great opener for a concert. It reminds me of something one might hear in a “survival horror” game when creeping around corners looking for horrific, mutated monsters – or in a movie, right before and while a UFO is landing and blinding everyone with bright blue lights. At the end, right around 7:00, I caught what sounded like screeching cats and a baby crying, but it probably wasn’t. Spooky, though.

9. The Four of Us are Dying (4:38): Another instrumental. Reminds me of “Eraser.”

10. Demon Seed (4:59): I thought this track was going to be instrumental, but some vocals kicked in after 45 seconds or so (they were hard to hear.)

Overall: There are so many interesting noises to listen to in these songs and one could conjure (as I have) various interpretations of what those noises could be. Many of these noises, effects, etc. are re-occurring and should be familiar from other NIN songs. The only song that I can honestly say I am not really into is Echoplex, which seems kind of incomplete to me, but other than that I have no real complaints. It is a quality album and definitely a step in a different direction when compared to previous NIN releases.

4 thoughts on “Review: NIN, “The Slip””

  1. I absolutely love, and always will love, Trent Reznor. It’s funny you mention the one song has a voice effect that sounds like Ministry. I love Ministry as well. LOL. I’ve been a fan of both for about 15 years or so. Great post!

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