pick of the week

year zero remixed

By Ben Rayner for Toronto Star on November 20, 2007

As meticulous as he is with his own records, Trent Reznor has never been too precious about offering up the finished product to multiple remix treatments after the fact.

Indeed, early companion releases to such early Nine Inch Nails discs as The Downward Spiral and Broken, which featured radical reimaginings of Reznor's material by folks like Aphex Twin and Coil, were arguably instrumental in solidifying the remix as an art form in itself.

Year Zero Remixed enlists a commendably eclectic assortment of artists – "slam" poet Saul Williams, avant-dub overlord Bill Laswell, electro-popsters Ladytron and the Faint, New Order's Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert – to slice, dice and otherwise rearrange the component parts of NIN's finest album in years.

The results are an intriguingly cerebral hodgepodge of buzzsawing dancefloor throwdowns (Epworth Phones' rave-ready take on "Capital G"), rumbling experimental electronics (Laswell turns "Vessel" into an ominous industrial-dub meltdown) and general freakiness (Kronos Quartet and Enrique Gonzalez Muller turning "Another Version of the Truth" into a modern-classical horror show).

Perhaps the real selling point to Year Zero Remixed is a bonus disc that offers up exactly the same raw materials to the amateur remixer. All you've got to do at home is plug the disassembled tracks into GarageBand or Ableton Live or an audio-editing program and, voila, you can give "God Given" the savage treatment Morris and Gilbert failed to produce. And then show it off at remix.nin.com, to boot.

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