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Artist Spotlight: Nine Inch Nails

This post was originally going to be about Saul Williams' excellent new album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! However, I just visited that site for the first time in a couple of months and discovered that it is no longer available for free. At $5 it is still an excellent deal and I would highly recommend the album, but since this blog is about free music, I will say no more about it here.

Trent Reznor, the producer of that album, is better known as the mastermind behind Nine Inch Nails, who have consistently been one of the most popular alternative and industrial artists of the last 20 years or so. Remixes have always been an important part of the Nine Inch Nails catalogue, with singles often containing half a dozen or more remixes of various songs, and most albums also spawning a remix EP of their own. Recently, Reznor has decided to take the concept of the remix a step further and release multi-track files for selected Nine Inch Nails songs on his website (and also on a DVD-ROM included with Y34RZ3R0R3MIX3D, which contains multi-tracks for all of the songs on the 2007 album Year Zero); this allows anyone at all with access to the proper software to create their own remixes of these Nine Inch Nails songs.* Recently, a new section has been added to the official Nine Inch Nails website to host remixes created by both fans and professionals alike; point your web browser to to check it out.

One thing about the remix site that has not been highly publicized is that, in addition to containing some excellent fan-made remixes, it also contains a treasure trove of officially released Nine Inch Nails remixes. In the bottom right corner of the website is a little playlist browser. Clicking on "featured" brings up a list of "Featured Playlists". Currently featured are the singles for "March of the Pigs", "The Perfect Drug", and "Closer to God", as well as the remix EPs Fixed (companion to Broken), Further Down the Spiral (companion to The Downward Spiral), and Things Falling Apart (companion to The Fragile); all of these playlists feature the majority of the tracks from these official releases. There is also a "Rare and Unreleased" playlist, which is a kind of odds and ends compilation of various official remixes; there are a lot of gems here, but my favourites are the Butch Vig remix of "Last" (which was originally intended to be included on Fixed), and "Right Where It Belongs v2". Finally, Reznor has included instrumental remixes of 2 complete albums: The Downward Spiral and Year Zero. In addition to being able to listen to all of these remixes directly on the site with the included Flash player, those who register for the site (registration is free) are able to download MP3 versions of them for free.

A little more digging around can reveal a few more official releases. Clicking on any song in one of the playlists mentioned above should show you that the remix was uploadeed by the user TRENT_REZNOR; this is in fact Trent Reznor himself, and clicking on the username brings up a list of all the remixes he has uploaded. A perusal of this list will yield an instrumental version of "Dead Souls" (NIN's contribution to the 1994 soundtrack of The Crow) and the tracks from the "Everyday is Exactly the Same" single, which includes two remixes each of "Only" and "The Hand That Feeds". There is also a note on the main page stating that "as we sort through more archives of older material we'll be posting what we come across." Given the quality of what is already available, that sounds very promising indeed.

All of this is not to take away from the main purpose of the site, which is for fans to create and share their own NIN remixes. To aid in finding the best of these remixes, playlists are available to show the highest rated fan mixes, both of all time and of the current day. If you find a remix that you really like, you can also click on the user's name to find other remixes created by the same person. You can search for remixes by title. By clicking on MIX at the top of the page, you can also gain access to multi-track files for a number of songs, including two Saul Williams songs. is an extremely cool website. I hope that other artists will be inspired by this and create similar sites that allow fans to interact and share their own creations. In the meantime, please feel free to share your favourite NIN finds by leaving a comment here. Happy listening!

* Want to try creating your own Nine Inch Nails remix? Grab some multi-track files from and load them into Audacity, a free digital audio editor application. Play around with the files in Audacity to make them sound however you want. You can then upload your remix to for the whole world to hear. If anyone who reads this post has made their own remix, please post about it in the comments, as I would love to hear it.

Saul Williams NiggyTardust site:
NIN remixes:

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