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Little introduction is needed other than to note that Nine Inch Nails has been a personal favorite of mine since 1992/3. Trent Reznor is a classically trained pianist but has also written some of the most aggressive and disturbing songs ever recorded, not simply out of just choosing that genre of "heavy" music but out of pure anguish and hatred. Probably moreso than any other artist, I've been able to relate to Nine Inch Nails on a personal and intrinsic level, having vocalized both lyrically and sonically various of my thoughts, feelings and emotions as well as being inspirational to myself as an artist. And above all composing music which is both equally beautiful and terrifying, many times simultaneously, and for being the soundtrack to rage, helplessness and destruction when one oft needs it most.
The following is a collection of various findings, parallels and evocations I've found independently over the years which have appeared throughout Nine Inch Nails' works. I read books, not messageboards; so if someone wants to bitch about xxxxxx being previously noted at xyz.com, then that's your tough shit.
JOEL-PETER WITKIN & CLOSER VIDEO IMAGERY INFLUENCES | Confirmed in the 'Making of Closer' bonus featurette on the Closure DVD, director Mark Romanek discussed several inspirational elements within the 'Closer' video. Among various anachronistic memorabilia Romanek acknowledged the artists Francis Bacon and Joel-Peter Witkin, who most importantly the video is the latter's works come to life. Witkin is an American photographic artist who depicts darkly surreal visions, oftentimes inversions of classical artist themes throughout history. The overall feel of Witkin's photography is matched aptly by video's silent film camera treatment and the decayed aesthetic throughout. Most prominently, Witkin is also the originator of the infamous crucifix face mask which has become such a well known symbol by the video's popularity.
ERASER / DISSONANCE OCCULT IMAGERY | Aside from Trent's lifelong interest in horror/sci-fi films and the macabre, there have not been any overtly occult references throughout Nine Inch Nails' work aside from the dark and implied esoteric nature of much of the early imagery. After all, the name 'Nine Inch Nails' itself sounds inherently occult along with the NIN logo which just genuinely looks like an occult seal. Most likely taking influence from John Balance and Peter Christopherson of Coil, who are themselves adepts of the occult, co-founders of Industrial music and long-time audio/visual collaborators, briefly during the Self Destruct era was where two actual occult seals were employed in the form of the 'Eraser' tour t-shirt. What is additionally noteworthy in this case is that Coil later contributed three remixes of 'Eraser' to the remix EP 'Further Down The Spiral.'
NIN - AUDIO & VISUAL SAMPLES | Video and still images of various filmic & musical influences of Nine Inch Nails. Contains video clips of films which were sampled in 'The Downward Spiral', visuals which influenced various 'Broken' era imagery and much more to be added soon.
CLOSURE - ELEPHANT ELECTROCUTION | The 'Closure' boxed set home video, which additionally features Manson in both the unreleased video for 'Gave Up' and also backstage throughout on the Self Destruct tour, contains all of Nine Inch Nails videos up to 1997's 'The Perfect Drug', with great connective interludes between the videos, courtesy of Peter Christopherson of COIL, who also directed all of the Broken era videos. One interim piece of video footage, before 'March of the Pigs', is vintage film footage from 1903 by Thomas Edison of an elephant being electrocuted.
Originally published in February 2001 on the (then) premiere Nine Inch Nails / Marilyn Manson / Nothing Records news authority site, SeemsLikeSalvation.com.
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