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Nine Inch Nails Is Back Onstage, With a Vengeance -

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He added: “The incentive has changed. It’s not about, ‘I’m going to kill myself if I don’t get this out of my head.’ But the excavation and the architecture behind it, the motivation behind it, is similar.”

“Hesitation Marks” was a year of patient effort. Mr. Reznor composed music on his laptop, using it largely as a drum machine and coming up with austere, brittle, sneakily evolving grooves. “It feels sparse, and it feels minimal,” he said. “It’s hard for me to do that. I’ve realized over the years that if I have 100 tracks, I’ll use 110 tracks. This was really about economy. It was just a weird puzzle of grooves.”

And in the context of the Nine Inch Nails catalog, where a whisper tends to lead, sooner or later, to a scream, Mr. Reznor found himself following other impulses. “It didn’t dawn on me until I was almost done with the record that I don’t really even raise my voice on this album that much,” Mr. Reznor added. “The mechanism of screaming choruses doesn’t exist here. And that wasn’t by design.”

He said: “I don’t think it’s a gentle record. I do think it’s more subversive in how it gets you. It’s not about everything being at 11 and the pyrotechnics of sound and scare tactics, which I’ve definitely used in the past. But it doesn’t feel like the middle-aged, I’ve-given-up record either.”

Subversive is better than screaming. I'm going to have to give this a whirl.

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