Choose Price for Saul Williams/Trent Reznor Collaboration

By Eliot Van Buskirk for Wired on November 9, 2007

Saul Williams opened for Trent Reznor on a European tour, and after the second show, Reznor asked him to collaborate on "a song or an album, whichever [he saw] fit." The result is an album called The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust.

Like Radiohead's In Rainbows, the album can be downloaded for free or purchased online from the same site. But rather than naming your own price, you choose between two options, both of which come with high-res album art:

: uncompressed FLAC, 320 Kbps MP3, or 192 Kbps MP3 -or- : 192 Kbps MP3

Williams writes he "was very inspired by the recent Radiohead release and felt compelled, almost instantly, to follow my gut and expand on their concept."

The sales method is interesting, but what about the music? Well, you can preview it on MySpace (their cover of U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is a good place to start). Fans of Nine Inch Nails will recognize Reznor's aesthetic -- taut, heavy, electronic melodies and atmospherics on top of ominous beats -- which turns out to be a great match for Williams' equally heavy lyrics and skillful delivery, which varies to an incredible degree: rhymes, song, computerized voice, falsetto, and so on.

At times, their sound resembles NIN, Public Enemy, TV on the Radio, and Tricky, but it always retains its own distinct flavor -- definitely worth the I just paid for the 320 Kbps MP3 version.

Of the potentially controversial album title, Williams writes that he has "thought long and hard about all the discussion surrounding racial epithets etc. and chose this title as a means of furthering the dialogue while also showing how creativity will outlive and outshine hatred of any kind."

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