If you’re anything like me, then you truly believe everything Trent Reznor has released is a mark of genius. If it wasn’t already enough that the musician is the iconic frontman of Nine Inch Nails and an industrial-rock god, he is now also an oscar-winning film composer.
Since joining forces with Atticus Ross on the 2008 Ghosts I-IV, Reznor has made some interesting stylistic discoveries in his music. Ghosts, being purely instrumental, and at times, quite experimental, allowed the intense and musically type-A artist to play with his creative side. Having since scored three major movies, (The Social Network, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl), with partner, Atticus Ross, it is clear that Reznor had found a new style to obsess over.
We haven’t heard much from the musical powerhouse since his work on Gone Girl in 2014, aside from his role in Apple Music as Chief Creative Officer. Now, Reznor and Ross have put their compositional skills into something that is quite literally out of this world: Juno.
On July 4th, NASA successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit with the Juno Spacecraft. A few days prior, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross released what would become the single for "Visions of Harmony", a short film produced in combination by Apple and Nasa. The film highlights the importance of both creativity and analytics necessary for any sort of innovation. Juno’s Principle Investigator, Scott Bolton, Corrine Bailey Rae, as well as a couple other musicians, link the fantastical idea of exploring other planets with both the technicalities and artistry that it takes to make music, or in general, sound. Trent Reznor, being a visionary in both aspects of this craft, was a perfect fit to score the film.
The score, not unlike the iconic sound of the compositional duo, is full of moments of tension, airy breathlessness and a quality that gestures at the unknown. For this piece, it is clear the two musicians were lost in outer space. Already known for their dark mystique, the team fills this score with spacious soundscapes, delicate, yet buyout piano notes, and a hypnotic energy to boot. As the pace quickens, we can feel the action rise as NASA prepares for this empowered mission. The instrumentation that echoes in the background throughout is both remarkable and unsettling, as if to leave us on the edge of our seats. What will happen when Juno breaks through Jupiter’s orbit?
The piece is magnetic and inspired, a perfect fit for the message that Apple and Nasa present to us through this short film. Reznor and Ross prove to us once again that the magic in filmmaking is in a large part contingent on the score that hides behind everything else.
You can watch Visions of Harmony on the iTunes Store, or Apple Music now.