Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - The Social Network Soundtrack Sampler (2010)
Finally got around to checking out the free five-track instrumental sampler for The Social Network soundtrack, produced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The involvement of these two in the film's score was as much a reason for me to see it as it's near-flawless Rotten Tomatoes rating, and when I saw the movie, the music did not disappoint one bit. Now that I've had a chance to listen to the first five tracks on the sampler by themselves without the movie to color impressions or distract attention, let's dissect.
First of all, the whole thing very strongly reminds me of the more electronic segments of instrumental Nine Inch Nails release Ghosts I-IV - the same aesthetic is here, and unsurprisingly so, as the same duo was behind that release. The instrumentals are haunting, powerful, and sort of dark, full of interesting sound textures and interesting samples. Pieces Form the Whole, the first track, plays host to a sound that reminds one of Atari or NES blips, while the much darker follower, Eventually We Find Our Way, relies more on groaning and wailing synths reminiscent of sirens to evoke a tense, uncomfortable mood before dropping the beat and floating for a bit on the back of plunky bass and swells of sharp feedback.
The aptly titled On We March starts with small, ambient sounds establishing a midtempo beat before a rumbling acid bass punctuates things with a fun little riff, and is soon joined by small piano tags to complete the overall mood. The synths take on various different textures throughout this determined walk through electronic sizzle. The Gentle Hum of Anxiety, another excellently titled track, carves out its tense, eerie, atmospheric wave slowly with scratchy pads and a slowly progressing harmony. The piano that comes in halfway through sounds like an outtake from The Fragile - not that that's a bad thing. It takes on a more unique character in the last quarter of the song.
The final track of the sampler, Soft Trees Break the Fall, brings a bit more of a positive mood to the mix with its slowly arpeggiated piano progression and another fat, sharp-edged bass, joined this time by bell-like sounds tracing a whimsical path through the musical air, creating an aura of dreamlike hope.
This sampler rocks, and really makes me want to hear the full soundtrack. It was great in the movie, punctuating well the moments created onscreen by the cast, and it's even more enjoyable as a separate work. Since this is only a 5-track sampler and an off-content-day post, I'm loathe to give this article anything in the way of a numbered rating, as these tracks are only a small part of the soundtrack as a whole. Needless to say, if you're a fan of dark ambience at middle tempos, or a fan of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, check this one out.
At the time of this writing, you can stream the whole sampler for free HERE.