The New Yorker Profile of Trent Reznor. He Talks About a New Streaming Service Called “Daisy,” Among Other Things

You know you’ve made some fans when the freakin’ New Yorker does a profile on your career.  I guess that what happens when you win an Oscar.  

Unfortnately, it looks like we’ll have to subscribe to the online edition or buy the newsstand copy if we want to see the whole thing.  Still, here’s an abstract of the piece followed by a quote about this new streaming service he’s working on with Beats by Dre called Daisy.

Daisy?  Really?

ABSTRACT: PROFILES about Trent Reznor, who has sold sixteen million records as the vehement, brainy, obstinate, and modernist one-man band Nine Inch Nails. Aficionados who like to categorize popular music have had a hard time categorizing Nine Inch Nails; it has been inaptly described as a heavy-metal band, a hard-rock band, and an alternative band.

Part of the difficulty is that Reznor’s range is broader than that of most popular musicians, and that he has written both songs and instrumental music. His songs are feral, titanic, rancorous, meticulous, subversive, finely textured, and often deeply affecting; his instrumental music tends to be subtler, sometimes hypnotic, and layered with abstruse remarks. He seems to consider silence as important as noise, although noise, in all registers and of all types, is central to the Nine Inch Nails canon.

The territory into which Nine Inch Nails most comfortably fits is an agitated backwater called industrial music, which includes bands such as Einstürzende Neubauten, from Germany, Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle, from England, and the American band Ministry.

Reznor introduced melodies within industrial music’s strident attack; as Genesis P-Orridge, of Throbbing Gristle, explains, Reznor “made the public finally get industrial music.” Describes the genesis and recording of Reznor’s first album, “Pretty Hate Machine”; the recording of a cover, by Johnny Cash, of Reznor’s song “Hurt,” from the album “The Downward Spiral”; Reznor’s marriage to the singer Mariqueen Maandig; and his composition, for the director David Fincher, of the soundtracks for the films “The Social Network” and “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Writer visits Reznor at his home in Los Angeles, where he has a recording studio, and learns about his creative process, and about some of his new projects (he has formed a band, with his wife, called How to Destroy Angels, and he is currently collaborating with Beats Electronics on the design of a music-streaming service. Writer speaks with a number of people about Reznor, including Fincher and Reznor’s father, Mike.

Here’s a quote on the Daisy service (via Pitchfork):  

The service “uses mathematics to offer suggestions to the listener… [but also] would present choices based partly on suggestions made by connoisseurs, making it a platform in which the machine and the human would collide more intimately.”

Comparing Daisy to Spotify, he told The New Yorker, “Here’s sixteen million licensed pieces of music,’ they’ve said, but you’re not stumbling into anything. What’s missing is a service that adds a layer of intelligent curation.”

“That first wave of music presentation which felt magical, the one where the songs are chosen by algorithms that know who you listened to… has begun to feel synthetic.”

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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