Putting it into sexual terminology, Trent isn’t basking in the refractory period much. Slightly two months after releasing his swarthily ambient online release “Ghosts I-IV,” and barely a year after releasing the internet virus-like promoted and conspiracy theory-filled dystopian “Year Zero,” Reznor has churned out another full length. This is not a remix; it’s all new material, it’s pretty damn good, and in more ways than just its musicality.Out in blogger land people are saying that this LP is Trent repeating himself ad nauseum, others are saying that this release is right in step with his usual bleeps and blurps style of music, and thus is great, and still others are putting this disc on their top music of 2008 lists–fine, whatever. I would agree with the majority of these characterizations; however, what I feel is missing from many of these reviews is the fact of Trent’s egalitarian notion regarding releasing the LP (it’s free to download after all!) and what it speaks to in terms of music as art itself.
Yet content wise, “The Slip” is quite good, with ups (1,000,000, “Letting You,”)–all layered and perfectly mixed–and a few moody downs (“Echoplex,” “Corona Radiata” or “Lights in the Sky”), which at times remove the vocals completely and thin down the synth to nothing more than beats. To those who say he’s repeating himself, fine. I think that’s a moot point, especially if you pick up a Stones album, a band who takes its style to the pinnacle of repetition.
However, I can’t really argue with the repetition issue–the beauty of art is its subjectiveness–, but can’t one argue that point about most any band? (By the way, pick up Trent’s ambient work Ghosts, which does go in a completely different direction.) But getting back to my original stoke for this album. The fact that Trent is releasing it for free provides me with more fuel to argue against the commercial viability of music itself. Many people say that the music industry is moving towards a singles-only format and that the album is “on life support.” Well, whatever. The music industry should not exist, or in the least it should fill the role of art gallery benefactor, not a competitive group multinational corporations selling culture to the teen masses. That said, I hope more artists release their music for free, and in return I will support their continued artistic endeavors by fraternizing their shows.