This Slip’s for You

At, James Hannaham writes about Nine Inch Nails’ The Slip, which takes Radiohead’s In Rainbows one better by not only making the album available as a free download (among other formats), but its component tracks are available for download for amateur remixers.

For another artist with a less cultish following, letting fans complete an official release could turn into a kind of suicide: Imagine what might happen if Britney Spears tried it. Taken in another way, however, Reznor could also be working through some ambivalence toward his status as an aging rock star. “Got these lines/ On my face,” he sings on “1,000,000.” “After all this time/ And I still haven’t found my place.”

From the simplicity of some of the songs, built mostly on relatively unexciting breakbeats, distorted guitar chuffing and fuzzed-out vocals — pretty standard for NIN — it seems like Reznor’s revisiting the more straightforward constructions of his early songs, or at least scaling back. Instead of using freaktified studio or laptop gimmicks and whiplash dynamics to add verve, he has opted for industrial ambience — even on that badly mixed ballad “Lights in the Sky” and the final song, “Corona Radiata,” which could be the soundtrack for a 7.5-minute slasher movie, complete with a sinister electronic heartbeat at its core. This minimal, familiar music has left lots of room for NIN fans to splice in their own musical DNA.

Nine Inch Nails headline the Voodoo Music Experience the weekend of Oct. 24-26.