The Null Corporation is Trent Reznor’s not-really-a-label label, and its most recent release was the soundtrack (by Reznor and Atticus Ross) to David Fincher’s film The Social Network. It was available in several formats, including a freebie five-track sampler and a complete $5 download package; I went up one step to the actual physical CD ($8 plus shipping), which was released last week and which arrived Thursday afternoon. I’d already heard it, of course; NullCorp threw in a 460-MB download, which included all 19 tracks, in MP3 and in Apple Lossless.
After a second hearing — the first one left me more or less speechless, or at least typeless — I think I’ve gotten a handle on it. If you’re a Reznor fan, much of it will sound familiar; a couple of these tracks (“A Familiar Taste” and “Magnetic”) were expansions of tracks on Reznor’s earlier Ghosts I-IV set, also featuring Ross. It’s generally closer to dark ambient than to industrial, with the notable exceptions of a recasting of Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” which builds to a satisfyingly-crunchified crescendo, and the opener, “Hand Covers Bruise,” which ranks as arguably the creepiest Track One since Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack. “Hand Covers Bruise,” in fact, is a definitive NIN-style title, as is “The Gentle Hum of Anxiety.” I haven’t decided whether I like this better than Ghosts or not, and I haven’t figured out exactly how to distinguish between Ross’ contributions and Reznor’s, but maybe that doesn’t matter.
Which leaves one question: What does it say about Facebook when a film about its creation is scored by the likes of Trent Reznor?