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Nine Inch Nails - Quake

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Quake

Nine Inch Nails

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Groundbreaking upon release, the interdimensional gothic horror video game Quake also made waves in the music world for its soundtrack and unlikely creator: Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. More than a decade before he hit the Academy Awards stage with an Oscar in hand, Reznor took his first steps into the world of scoring with this project, crafting an unnerving ambient soundscape for the violent first-person shooter. Legendary for NIN fans -- what with the NIN logo featured on in-game ammunition boxes and Reznor himself providing vocalizations for the protagonist -- the textures and tones are immediately apparent, bound to the sounds of the band's breakthrough era of The Downward Spiral (1994) and Further Down the Spiral (1995). With creepy piano chords, mechanized pulses, ghostly wails, and a deeply sinister energy seeping into every crevice, the Quake soundtrack is unbearably tense and anxiety-provoking. Through this ambient, industrial doom, Reznor uses sonic space to amplify dread, experimenting with the unknown as sounds rush in from behind and from the side, catching listeners off-guard as jarringly as the foes in the game itself. As the distorted vocalizations fade in and out of focus, the paranoia sets in and it's uncertain whether those noises are coming from the music or the voices in your head, which is part of the attraction. Aside from the recognizably NIN "Quake Theme" -- one of Reznor's most corrosive and heavy deep cuts -- and the late-album sections "Life" and "Falling," the experience sticks close to that scary minimalism and suffocating claustrophobia. As a taste of things to come, it offers a fascinating peek into later works like the Ghosts volumes and Reznor's soundtrack work with partner-in-crime Atticus Ross (think The Social Network and Watchmen). While this is clearly not something one would choose for dinner ambience or a relaxing bath, it's an effective dive into hell that gave both video game enthusiasts and music fans a reason to celebrate.
© Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo

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Quake

Nine Inch Nails

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1
Quake Theme
00:05:09

Trent Reznor, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Nine Inch Nails, MainArtist

An Interscope Records release; ℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Aftermath
00:02:25

Trent Reznor, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Nine Inch Nails, MainArtist

An Interscope Records release; ℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
The Hall of Souls
00:08:19

Trent Reznor, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Nine Inch Nails, MainArtist

An Interscope Records release; ℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
It Is Raped
00:06:04

Trent Reznor, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Nine Inch Nails, MainArtist

An Interscope Records release; ℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Parallel Dimensions
00:07:24

Trent Reznor, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Nine Inch Nails, MainArtist

An Interscope Records release; ℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Life
00:08:38

Trent Reznor, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Nine Inch Nails, MainArtist

An Interscope Records release; ℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Damnation
00:05:35

Trent Reznor, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Nine Inch Nails, MainArtist

An Interscope Records release; ℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Focus
00:06:28

Trent Reznor, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Nine Inch Nails, MainArtist

An Interscope Records release; ℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Falling
00:03:31

Trent Reznor, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Nine Inch Nails, MainArtist

An Interscope Records release; ℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
The Reaction
00:05:13

Trent Reznor, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Nine Inch Nails, MainArtist

An Interscope Records release; ℗ 1996 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

Groundbreaking upon release, the interdimensional gothic horror video game Quake also made waves in the music world for its soundtrack and unlikely creator: Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. More than a decade before he hit the Academy Awards stage with an Oscar in hand, Reznor took his first steps into the world of scoring with this project, crafting an unnerving ambient soundscape for the violent first-person shooter. Legendary for NIN fans -- what with the NIN logo featured on in-game ammunition boxes and Reznor himself providing vocalizations for the protagonist -- the textures and tones are immediately apparent, bound to the sounds of the band's breakthrough era of The Downward Spiral (1994) and Further Down the Spiral (1995). With creepy piano chords, mechanized pulses, ghostly wails, and a deeply sinister energy seeping into every crevice, the Quake soundtrack is unbearably tense and anxiety-provoking. Through this ambient, industrial doom, Reznor uses sonic space to amplify dread, experimenting with the unknown as sounds rush in from behind and from the side, catching listeners off-guard as jarringly as the foes in the game itself. As the distorted vocalizations fade in and out of focus, the paranoia sets in and it's uncertain whether those noises are coming from the music or the voices in your head, which is part of the attraction. Aside from the recognizably NIN "Quake Theme" -- one of Reznor's most corrosive and heavy deep cuts -- and the late-album sections "Life" and "Falling," the experience sticks close to that scary minimalism and suffocating claustrophobia. As a taste of things to come, it offers a fascinating peek into later works like the Ghosts volumes and Reznor's soundtrack work with partner-in-crime Atticus Ross (think The Social Network and Watchmen). While this is clearly not something one would choose for dinner ambience or a relaxing bath, it's an effective dive into hell that gave both video game enthusiasts and music fans a reason to celebrate.
© Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo

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