I haven't been able to put into words yet how incredible the Watchmen series has been so far, so I'll let TR + AR's version of David Bowie's "Life On Mars?" do the talking for me. I'm planning on doing some sort of write-up once the season has wrapped up so until then, enjoy.
While you wait for your vinyl copy to arrive, you can listen to the second installment of the Watchmen score on Apple Music and Spotify. You can also sneak a peek at the packaging of the vinyl over at Birth.Movies.Death, where NIN enthusiast Scott Wampler goes over the details of the press copy he received this week.
If you haven't picked it up yet, Volume 2 is still available for pre-order on Amazon. If you didn't pull the trigger on that sweet deal from Target, you've missed the boat there, as their preorders are marked as sold-out - a fulfillment status I hadn't actually run into in my 13+ years working as an ecommerce developer.
The blurb on the NIN store for the release is as follows:
Currently only available in digital format, Trent and Atticus are at their most abstract, deconstructed and beautiful with this suite of music that glues Trey Edward Shults' emotionally devastating film together.
In related news, Volume 2 of Watchmen has started appearing on Spotify for folks where it's already Wednesday.
$80 + shipping seems like a lot for two hours of harrowing score music - and it is! But when you plonk down for the extended version of the Bird Box soundtrack, what arrives is unlike any other vinyl I've come across. The die-cut box is heavy (four 180gm records will do that, I suppose), and aside from "NULL 09 EXTENDED TRENT REZNOR AND ATTICUS ROSS" there are no markings on the box - although there's a gritty texture to the container itself, which features six holes cut into the top - a reference to the box in the movie that served as an organic warning system.
Inside the box, sandwiched between bubble wrap, each record comes in a unique semi-transparent sleeve with gritty patterns overlaying the translucent outer sleeve - an inner sleeve further protects the records. The album comes with a download card (because the Highway Hi-Fi wasn't designed for 180gm 12" platters), and the inside-bottom of the box has track names.
Aside from the titles on the side of the box, there didn't appear to be any credits. The official unboxing video posted earlier mentioned something about "being contaminated" and, honestly, I didn't see any evidence of that at first.
Oh hey. Did you hear? With Teeth has been given the Definitive Edition treatment, having been remastered, and apparently some subtle fixes have been made in the mixes. I don't know what that means in this case, but for the sake of comparison, when The Downward Spiral DE was released, there was a panning hiccup at the beginning of Heresy that I'm pretty sure only I noticed, and that got corrected.
Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) shared a promo video that gives you a look at what you get alongside to slabs of 180 gram vinyl, including a 12 page booklet and a new lyric poster - art director John Crawford worked with former art director Rob Sheridan to produce a new take on the enormous poster that had been offered to members of The Spiral over a decade ago.
In January, we saw the digital release of Bird Box (abridged), a selection of 10 songs from the soundtrack to the Netflix film Bird Box, as scored by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, with a run time just over an hour. Today, the unabridged Bird Box score dropped on nin.com, with twice as much music and deluxe physical packaging. The four records come in what appear to be semi-translucent sleeves, and are packaged in a cardboard box resembling the box from the film.
With your $80 purchase, you can download the album as MP3s, or losselessly in FLAC or WAV formats. The digital artwork is a pixelated photo of the top of the box, and the tracks have slightly different lengths than what is in the abridged release from earlier in the year. Given the different track order, the segues are no doubt going to be different as well.
This is not easy listening. If you want to make any situation more tense and anxious for two hours, the Bird Box score is here for you.
Over at Birth. Movies. Death., Scott Wampler opens up his press copy of Watchmen Vol 1, including a card that only went out with promo copies. Scott breaks down the Sons of Pale Horse/The Book of Rorschach connections to the world of Watchmen, and shares copious photos of the album packaging.
A couple of interviews came out today that are worth your time reading through. First, over at Rolling Stone, Kory Grow spoke with Trent and covered topics ranging from Pretty Hate Machine, playing The Fragile as a live set, the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, and of course, scoring Watchmen.
In a less traditional setting, Steve Baltin does a thoughtful Q&A over on Forbes, going in pretty deep about scoring Watchmen as a television series compared to scoring film, but also talking about things like sequencing your album, music that reveals itself over time, and more. It's a very good read - nice job Steve.
Now that (spoiler alert) the amazing packaging has been unveiled for volume 1 of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score for Watchmen, you may have revisited Amazon hoping to get an order in, only to find that the first volume is no longer accessible from Amazon.
Important caveat: It is entirely possible that, given that shipping is free, the order may not ship until the final of the three volumes is released. I would even go so far as to say it is probable that if you have three items in a cart with free shipping, they are going to be shipped together, which means your order will be put aside until December 26, and you'll receive all three records at once.
Of course, the digital releases will be available soon at the official NIN website, so you could snag those while you wait, and you might just about break even.
Over on Twitter, pianist Mike Garson - who you may remember from his contributions to David Bowie's Aladdin Sane and Nine Inch Nails' Just Like You Imagined, among others - shared this tidbit about contributing to the music in HBO's Watchmen, along with the clip he scored:
Remember when it was hard to come by details about NIN releases? As fun as the hunt sometimes was, I really appreciate how nin.com gets right to the point these days, so I'm going to just quote them here:
The score will be available in three unique volumes, released at strategic times over the rollout of the series. The only physical media will be 180g vinyl.
Created in collaboration with the show’s writers, each LP features the score from Academy Award Winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, as well as artwork and packaging exclusive to this vinyl release that explores the culture of Watchmen America and provides revealing insights into the saga’s mythology and mysteries
The artwork for each volume will be revealed as each volume is reelased, and the official store actually links to a special Amazon pre-order page, where each vinyl album is $25.98. It's worth noting that while the artwork is unique for the vinyl releases, what you pre-order is going to be the same as what becomes available in stores later this year.
Release dates are November 4, November 25, and December 16, and have 15 tracks, 13 tracks, and 11 tracks, respective to the order of release.
Paul Guyet got in touch, having finagled his way into a press seat at the New York Comic Con last week. Not only was the first episode debuted - with an opening that Guyet describes as "THE BEST pairing of Reznor and Ross' music with imagery that I have ever seen", but during the talkback and Q&A, an audience member asked about the score. Lindelof replied, and I'm quoting:
I have a rule about composers, that they're different from show to show...one of the things that I didn't know about Watchmen was what it was going to sound like and every time I imagined what it would sound like, it sounded like Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. So I called HBO and said "these guys have never done TV before but do you think we could take a shot at them?" and Francesca Orsi said "that is so weird, Trent and Atticus' manager called this morning and they were asking about Watchmen".
One of the first things Trent said was "so...are you doing the squid?" and I was like "oh this guy is all the way in". They wrote a lot of this music and sent it to Nikki (director of some of the episodes) and I before we started shooting. They said "we read the script and these are some of the things we were thinking". I'd say close to 80% of the music they wrote before we even shot is in the pilot. We were just trying to make stuff worthy of those guys, they're amazing.
Sounds like we have a lot to look forward to with this one, and with any luck, maybe we'll see an original score made available in the not-too-distant future. Thanks again, Paul!
"I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes... the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply evil."
Now, I'd likely wager that this is for the corrected version and not the accidental first release that included a WIP version of the theme. BUT, and this is a big but, if you were bummed that you missed this either time around, now is your chance to get this sucker on vinyl. The b-side is the original theme, BTW.
Last Friday saw the release of two new albums - the first being from Josh Eustis under the Telefon Tel Aviv banner called Dreams Are Not Enough. This is the first major follow-up to 2009's Immolate Yourself. This is a wonderful record that recalls everything I've always enjoyed about TTA, but also moves into new territory that I'd like to think was influenced by Josh's other band, The Black Queen. Check out a sample below and order the album here.
The second of our mentioned releases comes from Alessandro Cortini under his solo banner entitled Volume Massimo. The natural evolution of Cortini's sound post-SONOIO, this album has really reminded me of a mixture of Stranger Things influence with his signature Buchla sounds. Like much of his other solo work, it's been fun listening for new things and allowing myself to kind of drift away and fade into the music. Again, check out a sampling below and order the album here.