Jun 2011 20

Cover Image
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Category: Soundtrack / Ambient
Album: The Social Network
Stars: 5
Blurb: A work of abstract ambient brilliance, and a superb complement to the film it scores.


Trent Reznor is no stranger to soundtracks; while Nine Inch Nails has been his primary outlet for well over two decades, propelling the man and his music to the heights of mainstream stardom and bringing even the basic notions of industrial music to the public, he has always maintained an ear for creative experimentation. Having famously produced the soundtracks for Natural Born Killers and Lost Highway, as well as recording music and sound effects for the popular video game Quake, Reznor’s knack for melodic atmosphere and bleak ambience lends itself to the soundtrack format. David Fincher’s award-winning 2010 film The Social Network portrays the founding of Facebook and the subsequent legal pitfalls faced by founder Mark Zuckerberg; Fincher, having famously used NIN in the opening credits to his film Se7en and employing The Dust Brothers to create the edgy score for Fight Club, is also no stranger to using unconventional forms of music to augment his film’s atmospheres. With Reznor and Ross at the helm for the soundtrack to The Social Network, it seems a match made in some silicon-laden heaven.

As to be expected from Reznor and Ross, The Social Network score runs a gamut of musical modes and emotions, all driven by a decidedly electronic yet organic display of production and atmosphere. Beginning with the somber piano melody and gyrating sonic blur of “Hand Covers Bruise,” the entire affair starts on a sparse note of introspective melancholy befitting the film’s themes of isolation and emptiness in social upheaval. Later pieces reinforce these moods, such as in “It Catches Up with You,” a sustained guitar hovering beneath more disquieting pianos that resonate into the ether. Similarly, the fluttery piano of “Penetration” steadily building to a mild but effective crescendo segues nicely into the Wendy Carlos-esque rendition of Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Other tracks like “In Motion,” “Intriguing Possibilities,” “Painted Sun in Abstract,” and “Complication with Optimistic Outcome” move with rhythmic intensity, the energetic bass sequences giving rise to delightfully dissonant melodic accompaniment, perfectly evoking the film’s moments of tension and anticipation. And then we hear tracks like “On We March” with its ominous cadence reminiscent of “The Wretched” off The Fragile, the distorted glitch-riddled tapestry of “Carbon Prevails,” or “3:14 Every Night” with its skittering sound effects and nightmarish ambience, all creating a feeling of unease and mental instability essential to the film’s primary figure.

Given the style of the music, juxtaposing organic and synthesized sound into a framework of avant-garde ambient vignettes, it’s no surprise that the music on The Social Network is eerily similar in tone to the Ghosts I-IV collection released in 2008; indeed the tracks “Magnetic” and “A Familiar Taste” are reworked from that very set, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have crafted a fine album of music with The Social Network, standing on its own as a work of abstract ambient brilliance, and also working superbly as instrumental accompaniment and complement to the film and its subject matter. Credit must be given to David Fincher for approaching Reznor with the prospect of scoring his movie when the standard Hollywood route of a traditional orchestral score would have likely been a simpler, though far less adventurous path to take. Having by this time won the Academy Award for Best Original Score, Reznor and Ross have undoubtedly hit a creative and commercial peak, bringing their unconventional musical vision to the masses with fantastic results.
Track list:

  1. Hand Covers Bruise
  2. In Motion
  3. A Familiar Taste
  4. It Catches Up with You
  5. Intriguing Possibilities
  6. Painted Sun in Abstract
  7. 3:14 Every Night
  8. Pieces Form the Whole
  9. Carbon Prevails
  10. Eventually We Find Our Way
  11. Penetration
  12. In the Hall of the Mountain King
  13. On We March
  14. Magnetic
  15. Almost Home
  16. Hand Covers Bruise, Reprise
  17. Complication with Optimistic Outcome
  18. The Gentle Hum of Anxiety
  19. Soft Trees Break the Fall

The Null Corporation Website http://www.nullco.com
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The Social Network Website http://www.thesocialnetwork-movie.com
The Social Network Soundtrack Website http://www.nullco.com/TSN
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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