Traveling with Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Mariqueen Maandig and Rob Sheridan again. The long anticipated debut album finally it’s here and we’ve got 13 steps to go on, 13 levels of exploration, 13 ways to drowning and surfacing back to the light. Eventually.
About this Reznor’s post Nine Inch Nails project I wrote in details last year when they released their second EP entitled “An OMen”, so, if you’re interested in the full story of the bang, go back an read it HERE. Although, not really surprisingly, “An Omen” made it to my list of favorite releases of 2012 and it was definitively one of the most interesting musical experiments of the last year, a bold and ingenious method to leave the past behind, but staying true to themselves and digging into the wilderness and unknown of the future.
“Welcome Oblivion” it’s even further experimental, unconventional and disturbing. A dark and twisted out collision of post-industrial forces and trip-hop flavoured turbulences.
01 – The wake-up
02 – Keep it together
03 – And the sky began to scream
04 – Welcome oblivion
05 – Ice age
06 – On the wing
07 – Too late, all gone
08 – How long?
09 – Strings and attractors
10 – We fade away
11 – Recursive self-improvement
12 – The loop closes
13 – Hallowed ground
The album was posted for streaming in its entirety on Pitchfork on February 19, 2013, leaked to the internet very next day and it is set to be released on March 5, 2013 on Columbia Records.
Can pre-order vinyl, CD or digital download HERE.
Introduced by “The wake-up”, “Welcome Oblivion” starts abrupt and dissonant, sounds like a warm-up made of noises at the beginning of a gig then a real song on a CD.
“Keep it together” it’s a build-up made out of noises and smartly shaped fragments of sounds. Not what conventionally people use to call a song, but an exploration of possibilities, playing around smoothly with rhythmic and musical elements to discover new doorways into some mysterious, unknown universe. Feels like touching each-other in the dark.
“And the sky began to scream” have something from the gloominess of the “Ghosts” era Nine Inch Nails, only the ghostly vocals of Mariqueen Maandig and the menacing intervention of Reznor bring a different vibe and add a different flavour to this cinematic escapade.
“Welcome Oblivion” it’s a perfect example of post-industrial fluorescence, while everything feels like falling apart, mysteriously, the song still stick together.
“Ice age” sounds like a twisted in and out Led Zeppelin song with a charming folk vibe except the nicely messed up rhythmic build-up. Mariqueen Maandig’s singing it’s definitively charming and gave to the song a friendly, but airy feel.
“On the wing” came like a whisper and smells like a lullaby. Quite minimalist and build upon pulses and rhythms, it has a Post-Industrial taste, but the sharp and hard edges are all rounded down and got soften. Once again, this isn’t a song, but a journey on the wing of a dream.
“The sleep of reason produces monsters” it’s one of the most abstract moments, eventually soundtrack taste like, near to the quieter moments of “Ghosts” and some score tracks written by Reznor and Ross.
“Too late, all gone” it’s a surprisingly classy, simple and catchy song, build upon quite minimalist sonar elements and glitchy rhythms, this one might reach out to a larger audience. The chorus is absolutely addictive and Reznorish, it’s almost impossible not to sing-a-long and even harder to get rid of it.
“How long?” stays in the same, more “listener friendly” area of glitch flavoured trip-hop with shining through, powerful vocals, strong choruses and groovy, minimal verses as a simple and nice contrast.
“Strings and attractors” return to the strange side of the exploration, the verses are build upon glitchy rhythmics and floaty vocals while the chorus is surprisingly smooth, releasing.
“We fade away” feels like everything coming backward and twisted out – we’re lost at the end of a half-way forgotten dream.
“Recursive self-improvement” it’s a fever burned race against the sound and probably, everybody against everybody, but mostly against himself. Glitchy and tumultuous, feels like a constant seek and hide.
“The loop closes” have reminiscences of the Nine Inch Nails spirit, the groove is definitively more nervous and the some of the noises are cutting through, and as the song it’s intensifying we’re expecting the deadly stab, a painful Reznor scream or a twisted off guitar. Nothing of this happens, still, this might be anytime a great NIN song which still holds the positive tension of “The Fragile” era songs.
“Hallowed ground” feels like the cinematic experiments of Reznor and Atticus Ross which bring them the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2010 and the award for Best Original Score at the 68th Golden Globe Awards. Chilled, still kind of fearful, outer-space feels-like trip.
A little bit over 65 minutes of adventure.