Not the Actual Events

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Not the Actual Events
Not the Actual Events.jpg
EP by
ReleasedDecember 22, 2016 (2016-12-22)
Recorded2015–2016
Genre
Length21:11
Label The Null Corporation
Producer
Nine Inch Nails chronology
Halo I–IV
(2015)
Not the Actual Events
(2016)
The Fragile: Deviations 1
(2016)
Halo numbers chronology
"Halo 28"
(2013)
"Halo 29"
(2016)
"Halo 30"
(2016)

Not the Actual Events is the fifth extended play (EP) by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. It was released physically on December 23, 2016, under Trent Reznor's own label The Null Corporation, while those who had pre-ordered received a download link a day early. [1] The second Nine Inch Nails EP of original material following Broken (1992), it marks longtime collaborator Atticus Ross's first appearance as an official member of the band. The digital pre-orders included a "physical component" that was shipped in early March 2017. [2] The EP is the first in a trilogy released between 2016-2018, preceding Add Violence (2017) and the band's ninth studio album Bad Witch (2018).

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Industrial rock music genre

Industrial rock is an alternative rock genre that fuses industrial music and rock music.

Nine Inch Nails American industrial rock band

Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated as NIN, is an American industrial rock band formed in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio. The band was founded by lead singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Trent Reznor, who was the band's only official member until adding English musician Atticus Ross in 2016. The band has signed with several major labels over the course of three decades, the current being Capitol Records, under the name The Null Corporation.

Contents

The EP received positive reviews from critics, who praised the return to Nine Inch Nails' older, more abrasive sound, and debuted at number 26 in the US.

Background

In an interview promoting Apple Music, Trent Reznor mentioned he has started "messing around with some things" in regard to a new Nine Inch Nails album, stating, "It's not a record I'm trying to finish in a month. It's more just feeling around in the dark and seeing what sounds interesting." [3] [4] In December 2015, Reznor reported that "Nine Inch Nails will return in 2016". [5] He and Atticus Ross later scored the soundtracks for Before the Flood and Patriots Day in 2016.

Apple Music is a music and video streaming service developed by Apple Inc. Users select music to stream to their device on-demand, or they can listen to existing, curated playlists. The service also includes the Internet radio station Beats 1, which broadcasts live to over 100 countries 24 hours a day. The service was announced on June 8, 2015, and launched on June 30, 2015 in over 100 countries worldwide. New subscribers get a three-month free trial period before the service requires a monthly subscription.

Trent Reznor American musician

Michael Trent Reznor is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and film score composer. He is the founder, lead vocalist, and principal songwriter of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, which he founded in 1988 and of which he was the sole official member until adding long-time collaborator Atticus Ross as a permanent member in 2016. His first release under the Nine Inch Nails name, the 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial and critical success. He has since released nine Nine Inch Nails studio albums. He left Interscope Records in 2007 and was an independent recording artist until signing with Columbia Records in 2012.

Atticus Ross English musician, composer and record producer

Atticus Matthew Cowper Ross is an English musician, songwriter, record producer, and audio engineer. Along with Trent Reznor, Ross won the Oscar for Best Original Score for The Social Network in 2010. In 2013, the pair won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for their soundtrack to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He has worked with Reznor's band Nine Inch Nails since 2005, and became an official member of the band in 2016.

In December 2016, Reznor commented on his statement regarding Nine Inch Nails' return by the end of the year: "Those words did come out of my mouth, didn't they? [...] Just wait and see what happens." [6] Three days later, Reznor announced Not the Actual Events, [1] along with reissues of Nine Inch Nails' previous releases. [7]

In June 2017, in an email that was issued out to customers waiting on delayed vinyl orders, Reznor confirmed that Not the Actual Events would actually make up the first part of a trilogy of EPs, with the second installment entitled Add Violence being released July 2017. The final EP of the trilogy grew into a studio album, Bad Witch , which was later released on June 22, 2018.

<i>Add Violence</i> 2017 EP by Nine Inch Nails

Add Violence is the sixth extended play by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. Released through The Null Corporation and Capitol Records on July 19, 2017, it is the second in a trilogy of releases, following the EP Not the Actual Events (2016) and preceding the band's ninth studio album Bad Witch (2018). It was produced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

<i>Bad Witch</i> 2018 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

Bad Witch is the ninth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released by The Null Corporation and Capitol Records on June 22, 2018. It is the last of a trilogy of releases, following their two previous EPs Not The Actual Events (2016) and Add Violence (2017). Like with their previous releases, it was produced by frontman Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Music

The EP marks a return to Nine Inch Nails' 1990s sound, [8] departing from the texture and groove-oriented style of the previous album, Hesitation Marks . [9] Nevertheless, it also preserves electronic elements of the Hesitation Marks and Year Zero , but features "more organic elements" such as "noisy guitars, nostalgic piano lines and heavily distorted bass used on The Fragile and With Teeth ." [10] Reznor described the record as "an unfriendly, fairly impenetrable record that we needed to make." [8] The sound of the EP has also been labeled as industrial metal. [11]

<i>Hesitation Marks</i> 2013 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

Hesitation Marks is the eighth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on August 30, 2013, by Columbia Records. It was the band's first release in five years, following The Slip (2008), as well as their only release on Columbia. Like previous albums, the album was produced by frontman Trent Reznor alongside longtime collaborators Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder.

<i>Year Zero</i> (album) 2007 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

Year Zero is the fifth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released by Interscope Records on April 17, 2007. Conceived while touring in support of the band's previous album, With Teeth (2005), the album was recorded throughout late-2006, and was produced by frontman Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It was the band's last album for Interscope, following Reznor's departure the same year over a dispute of overseas pricing.

Fuzz bass style of playing the electric bass or modifying its signal that produces a buzzy, distorted, overdriven sound

Fuzz bass, also called "bass overdrive" or "bass distortion", is a style of playing the electric bass or modifying its signal that produces a buzzy, distorted, overdriven sound, which the name implies in an onomatopoetic fashion. Overdriving a bass signal significantly changes the timbre, adds higher overtones (harmonics), increases the sustain, and, if the gain is turned up high enough, creates a "breaking up" sound characterized by a growling, buzzy tone.

The intro track, "Branches/Bones", features the modern polished production [12] and formulae of Nine Inch Nails' post-The Fragile output. [8] It was compared to previous NIN tracks, including "1,000,000", "Discipline", [8] "Wish" and "Starfuckers, Inc.". [12] "Dear World," is a synthesizer-driven track, [8] enhanced by sequencers and percussion as Reznor "speaks his thoughts on the downward path the society has taken." [10] “She’s Gone Away” features guest vocals from Reznor’s wife, How to Destroy Angels vocalist Mariqueen Maandig. [13] The song was specifically written for then-upcoming Twin Peaks series, at the request of David Lynch. [14] Dave Grohl drums on "The Idea of You", which has been described as "a merger of industrial and alternative rock; [13] the track also features a drum solo and polyrhythmic chorus. [12] "Burning Bright (Field on Fire)" is a sludge track [8] and has been compared to the music of Godflesh. [15] [13]

Discipline (Nine Inch Nails song) song by Nine Inch Nails

"Discipline" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their seventh studio album, The Slip (2008). It was released on April 22, 2008 as a single from the album. It is the band's first single since severing its ties with Interscope Records and publishing music independently.

Wish (Nine Inch Nails song) song by Nine Inch Nails

"Wish" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their debut extended play (EP), Broken (1992). It was released in 1992 as a promotional single from the EP. The track features a drumming work performed by Martin Atkins.

Starfuckers, Inc. single

"Starfuckers, Inc." is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from its fourth studio album, The Fragile (1999). Although the song does not have an official halo, an edited promotional single for "Starfuckers, Inc.", retitled "Starsuckers, Inc.", was distributed with exclusive radio edits, and a video for the song was produced.

Reznor said of creating the EP:

Release

Physical component

The digital pre-orders included a "physical component" that was due to be shipped in January 2017 but was delayed until March. It featured a black envelope containing liner notes on card posts along with a see-through photograph of Reznor and Ross. The release was controversial as it contained some form of black powder that caused a mess for a lot of fans. A warning label stuck on the back of the envelope read:

To be read IN ITS ENTIRETY before opening. Actions have consequences! N.T.A.E. may contain subversive elements that produce feelings of euphoria and may be harmful and unsettling to the consumer. Likewise, this physical package may lead to unrealized expectations or unexpected results upon opening. Caution should be exercised with both. AND THIS IS IMPORTANT… This will make a mess. By opening this envelope in any way, you assume all risks to your person and/or property, and waive any claim against The Null Corporation, any of its subsidiaries or affiliated entities from any and all damages or harm you may incur. [2]

Vinyl

The pre-orders for the vinyl version were released in August 2017. [17] The vinyl A-Side contains the five tracks listed in the track listing, while the B-Side consists of the final three tracks of The Downward Spiral ("Reptile", "The Downward Spiral", and "Hurt") recorded in reverse.[ citation needed ]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic? 6.7/10 [18]
Metacritic 74/100 [19]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [20]
The A.V. Club B- [12]
Alternative Press Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [15]
Consequence of Sound C [13]
Exclaim! 6/10 [21]
Pitchfork 6.3/10 [8]
Sputnikmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [10]

Critical reception for the EP was generally positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 74, based on 14 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [19]

Jason Pettigrew of Alternative Press praised the record, describing it as "everything we would expect from Reznor and Ross, offering textures we’ve never visited and contexts with conscience." [15] Consequence of Sound critic Zoe Camp thought that the EP "stands, alas, as a pyre dependent on the kindling of nostalgia, as opposed to innovation," and wrote: "between the abundant déja vu and the periodical redundancy, Not the Actual Events' purported 'impenetrability' manifests as a riotous retread instead." [13] Pitchfork's Benjamin Scheim described it as "slight", but stated: "At moments it delivers the kind of visceral fury that NIN hasn't recreated since its mid-'90s Downward Spiral heyday." [8] Sputnikmusic staff writer Raul Stanciu praised the record, writing: "The fairly impenetrable wall of sound Nine Inch Nails created here is admirable, especially since everything is presented in just over 21 minutes." [10] AllMusic senior critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine thought that "it seems somewhat less than the sum of its parts -- maybe it's the brevity, maybe it's how the arrangements are more memorable than the melodies -- it's nevertheless worthy, not so much as a cacophonous palette cleanser after 2013's Hesitation Marks but as an effective demonstration of craft." [20]

Ian Gormely of Exclaim! thought that "there is a more atmospheric quality to these songs that adds a sense of dread to the proceedings, pushing these songs beyond album filler material." Gormely also wrote that the tracks "felt like tentative first steps towards something bigger, rather than offering a bold new step in Reznor's long, winding career." [21] The A.V. Club critic Dan Bogosian wrote: "Even with its moments of flawed excess, Not the Actual Events is so full of new ideas compared to the relatively 'this again?' nature of Hesitation Marks or The Slip that it deserves its place in the NIN catalog." Bogosian also stated that the release "might be the beginning of something greater." [12] Describing the record as "probably the grimiest Nine Inch Nails release since The Fragile , Spin's Winston Cook-Wilson wrote: "Rather than running the gamut between overdriven steamrolling and receding, glitchy ambience as on most of the work Reznor loosed between 1994 and 2008, the EP realizes a specific, portentous mood from several equivalent angles." [22]

Track listing

All tracks written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

No.TitleLength
1."Branches/Bones"1:47
2."Dear World,"4:07
3."She's Gone Away"6:00
4."The Idea of You"3:27
5."Burning Bright (Field on Fire)"5:50
Total length:21:11

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Not the Actual Events. [23] [24]

Charts

Related Research Articles

<i>The Downward Spiral</i> 1994 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

The Downward Spiral is the second studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on March 8, 1994, by Nothing Records and Interscope Records in the United States and by Island Records in Europe. It is a concept album detailing the destruction of a man from the beginning of his "downward spiral" to his death by suicide. The Downward Spiral features elements of industrial rock, techno and heavy metal music, in contrast to the band's synthpop-influenced debut album Pretty Hate Machine (1989), and was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Flood.

<i>The Fragile</i> (Nine Inch Nails album) 1999 album by Nine Inch Nails

The Fragile is the third studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released as a double album on September 21, 1999 by Nothing and Interscope Records. It was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and longtime collaborator Alan Moulder. It was recorded throughout 1997 to 1999 in New Orleans.

Were in This Together 1999 single by Nine Inch Nails

"We're in This Together" is a three-disc single by industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails for the song of the same name released in 1999. It is the 15th official Nine Inch Nails release and is a single for the album The Fragile.

<i>With Teeth</i> 2005 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

With Teeth is the fourth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on May 3, 2005 by Nothing Records and Interscope Records. The album was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and long-time collaborator Alan Moulder. It also features contributions from musician Dave Grohl.

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References

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