By: Simon Vacca
It’s official – the dynamic duo of the industrial music scene, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, have returned. And this time, their music is more experimental than ever. Scoring for David Fincher’s critically acclaimed drama, Gone Girl, the Nine Inch Nails frontman, Reznor, and his notable partner-in-crime, Ross, have created yet another brilliant score, which not only serves as a haunting complement to the well-received film, but is also an instant classic among Nine Inch Nails fans and ambient music lovers alike.
Packed with top-quality production, clustered textures, and occasional orchestral elements, the duo’s third score is, in all regards, unique, despite it’s seemingly familiar sound. Partnering in the past to create scores for The Social Network (2010) and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), Reznor and Ross’ latest project offers listeners a divergent listening experience, in that the pair have pushed the ambience of their music to its limits. While their previous soundtracks emitted a plethora of emotive themes—some of which included happiness, sadness, depression, tension, energy, calmness, angst, or whatever else you want to call it—this particular album focuses on one central mood; mysteriousness, or, better yet, unknowingness.
But what could this mean in a musical sense? For starters, the film is about a woman, who is, in fact, gone. However, the uncertainty that surrounds her disappearance is not only prevalent through the film’s screenplay, but ultimately, through the atmospheric weariness as demonstrated by the duo’s music. Tunes such as the album opener, “What Have We Done To Each Other?” or the minimalistic “Clue Two” evoke a sense of unknowing, as the audience questions the nature of the missing woman at hand. As the album (and film, for the matter) progresses, so does Reznor’s increased use of distorted background noise, some of which was created using handmade equipment to develop stammering, unanticipated beats. One such instance of this occurs in the tune “The Way He Looks at Me”, which includes everything from ticking clocks, to distinct piano notes, to simple, random sounds, which combine to emote an ultimate sense of paranoia upon listeners. The album reaches its’ climactic moment in the tune “Technically, Missing”, which not only amplifies the surprise of film’s pivotal plot twist, but serves as the score’s climax, as Reznor and Ross use a plethora of guitar riffs, keyboard patterns, and background noise to deploy a sense of long anticipated revelation upon listeners and viewers alike.
While the album does not contain a single lyric, which many Nine Inch Nails fans view as Reznor’s strongest talent, it certainly does not disappoint on any ground, as the industrial music star has once again proven that he has found his niche (with Ross’ aid) in creating instrumental soundtracks.
Should the day come where Reznor finally announces an instrumental tour, I for one, will raise my hand in utter support.