Gone Girl Gone

I didn’t find myself a fan of Nine Inch Nails until around 2005. Before that I always felt that the nihilism and angst was too overwrought. I couldn’t get into Trent Reznor’s techno/industrial dirges, even when he had a line in a song like “I want to fuck you like an animal/I want to feel you from the inside”. With a line like that I  thought for sure I’d dig it. Turns out, nope. But in 2005 something changed. NINs With Teeth connected with me. I dug the live feel of the record. I dug Reznor’s more clear-eyed vision of anger. He didn’t seem to be submerged in a pool of self-hate anymore. He seemed to be aiming that anger outward, into the world. I could appreciate that. The following year he dropped Year Zero, a little electronic classic in my book. He was aiming directly at the Bush administration and their turning the country towards a “Big Brother”-like future. That very next year Reznor put out Ghosts I-IV. This record was a double album that was a series of soundscapes, presented as little vignettes of music. It truly came across as a score to some long lost movie.

13576319_1033705853403327_465641357_nI think Ghosts was Reznor and Atticus Ross getting their feet wet in the idea of film scoring. In 2010 that idea came to fruition when Reznor and Ross scored David Fincher’s The Social Network. That score was a heavy dose of synthesizer and cinematic techno. It’s a stunning score, and one that helped to move that film along wonderfully. With Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo I wasn’t as impressed. A well done film, but the Swedish original was a much better portrayal of Stieg Larsson’s novel. And Noomi Rapace captured Lisbeth’s analytical and methodical personality better than Roony Mara. The Reznor/Ross score was good, but as a standalone it was a rather repetitive listen. Fortunately Fincher worked with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross again with 2014s Gone Girl. For my ears, it’s the finest work Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have done thus far. It was also one hell of a movie.

So just a quick aside about David Fincher. I had been on board with Fincher ever since I saw Se7en in the theater back in 1995. I felt it was a masterful film; dark, taught, and suspenseful as hell. Andrew Kevin Walker’s script helped, but Fincher’s vision came through. I loved The Game as well with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. Then in 1999 he laid on us Fight Club, a tour de force(at the time) of gutter violence, jet black humor, and a biting social commentary on conformity and commodity. So then a few years later, after the wife and I had a couple kids, we pop in the Fight Club DVD one night for shits and giggles and I got maybe 35 minutes into it and realized I absolutely hated that film. At first I thought I’d lost my taste for Fincher, but I realized it wasn’t him but the source material. Chuck Palahniuk’s novel left a nasty taste in my mouth. Maybe I was getting too old for that much snarkiness or the sharp sarcasm just wasn’t getting through my brain anymore, but I’d just as soon line someone’s litter box with that movie than watch it again. Fortunately Fincher got me back with Zodiac. Then from The Social Network on he’s been back in my good graces. With Gone Girl he seems to have solidified his visionary style. The story, without giving anything away, is about a husband and wife who’s marriage and lives crumble when the wife goes missing and the husband is the prime suspect in her disappearance. The story is told in various flashbacks that tell differing views on their marriage and relationships together. It’s one of those movies that grabs you by the short and curlies and never lets go.

13576437_1033705830069996_864947323_nBesides the film itself, the score by Reznor and Ross is understated, sometimes minimal, and ever evolving. Listening to it today I’m reminded of so many different composers’ styles. Unlike their scores for The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl is an understated piece. There’s more space in the pieces that allow it to breathe and stretch out around you, slowly filling in the nooks and crannies. Musically it’s like a cross between John Cage, Philip Glass, and Thomas Newman. With Reznor you always get Reznor. He’s never trying to be anyone else but himself. He hides beautiful melodies under the moaning of distortion, feedback, and drone. Ross takes the individual elements that Reznor gathers and turns them in a sonic tapestry. One of my absolute favorite pieces on this double LP is “Like Home”. It’s this slowly building piece of agonizing beauty that as it moves along begins to be engulfed by a sonic howl, until the mournful synth melody that opens the piece is completely devoured. For me, this piece sums up the whole feel of the film itself. A quiet turmoil that ends up swallowing itself.

While I’ve come to appreciate the older work of Trent Reznor and NIN, I’m still more partial to his later output. In particular, his work as a film composer has made me a super fan. His Gone Girl S/T is one of the best film scores I’ve heard in a long time. It’s a great standalone piece as well, and it’s enjoyed many spins on my turntable since I first picked it up(and it will probably continue to get spins for some time.)

Editor’s Note: I’d only recently watched the film Gone Girl. I’ve had the score quite some time before the movie made its way to my Blu Ray player. This is actually a good way to approach a film score. If you can listen to it on its own before you see the film you can come to appreciate its place in the film far more than had you never heard it going into the movie.

Just my geeky opinion, folks. 

 

January Sabbatical

Today was the first official day of my week off. Well, yesterday I was off as well but that was a company-wide holiday. I’m on my time now. Why am I off? My wife is gone all week for work-related stuff so I decided I’d stay home, get the kids off to school, enjoy some great coffee, and do some music-related work. I’ve been working on and off on some songs for a new record and this seemed like a great week to stay home and start laying the groundwork for the album. I’ve got songs up in my head that I’ve been playing for months now that are ready to be recorded and refined. Having the house to myself all day lets me bring the recording equipment upstairs and set up in the dining room to get some nice room sound with the hardwood floors. It also gives me access to the piano in the living room. Day one was a success. I recorded acoustic guitar and piano for a new song and they turned out great. I’m hoping to have the framework of three songs done by the week’s end. I have a good friend of mine doing some drum programming for me. I’m looking to make this album something more atmospheric and dreamy than the usual pop rock bombastic stuff I’ve done in the past. I’ll still record some acoustic drums, but I want to mesh some Boards of Canada vibes in with my pop-centric melodies. A nice mix of organic instrumentation and electronic beats.

So how did I start the day? Well I got up around 6am and made breakfast for the kids. My oldest got on the bus around 6:40am and I took the younger ones to school. I got a good workout in before heading back home to get started on the music. After getting cleaned up I made a pot of Just Coffee Coop’s ‘The Reanimator’, a great dark roast brew, and got busy on the music. If the rest of the week goes like today I should have some serious tunes well on their way to completion.

What else have I been doing? Well pretty much all weekend I’ve been listening to the Gone Girl soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It finally was released on vinyl and I grabbed my copy a couple days early. It’s absolutely amazing. I think Reznor has found his retirement plan right here. I loved the last NIN album he put out, but his film scoring is where its at for me. If The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo scores weren’t like $200 on vinyl I’d have those as well. I’m hoping for some reissues at some point. Hoping. Regardless, his scores are jarring, beautiful, haunting, and just puts you in a completely different frame of mind. I haven’t seen Gone Girl yet, but I know I’ll enjoy it that much more because of the music.

I also picked up Flying Lotus’ Until The Quiet Comes, another great electronic record. I picked up his You’re Dead! right before Christmas and have been loving it. Flying Lotus’ music is so frenetic and out there. To my ears, it’s this great space where jazz, hip hop, and EDM all come together and make some pretty amazing sounds.

What else? I plan on finishing up the second season of Maron and starting up Louie. I just received my Criterion Collection Blu Ray copy of Michael Mann’s Thief in the mail, so I’ll watch that as well. My dad’s coming over tomorrow for some pour-over coffee. He’s never had it and I think he’ll quite enjoy it. My mom is having the kids and I over tomorrow for beef and noodles. Thursday my buddy Shane Darin Page is coming over in the evening and we are starting a new Cambodia Highball album. Looking forward to that. The weekend will be taking my oldest to pep band on Friday and Saturday nights for the Varsity Basketball games.

I’m just gonna chill. That’s what I’m gonna do. No other plans. Oh, and of course some writing. I’ve got some record reviews coming real soon, so stay tuned.

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The coffee nook.
The coffee nook.