Oscar Winning “Social Network” Score: Treasure For Ambient Music Lovers And Synth Fans

(from 2011)

Drawing on his considerable skills as a master of the synthesizer and studio, Trent Reznor along with collaborator Atticus Ross created the Oscar-winning score for the film “The Social Network.” Incorporating a variety of influences, including the ambient works of Brian Eno, video games, and of course his own Nine Inch Nails Albums (with a strong debt to “Ghosts I-IV”) the album stands on its own as a highly listenable collection of musical moments.

Now that Reznor is in the same league as more chart friendly Oscar winners including Giorgio Moroder, Elton John and Phil Collins, the pressure is on. He is reportedly “stunned” by the victory. But then again, Reznor’s synth-driven oeuvre has always relied heavily on themes of pressure, in the form of angst, despair and general agitation. Indeed, it is this complex mix of psychological factors that makes Reznor’s score so appropriate to this film about the rise of Facebook.

In addition to the synths and programmed drums, the album features some nice guitar work that provides a welcome contrast to the ambient pianos. But mostly, the album is synth driven. Overall, the disc is somewhat more ambient than earlier, more aggressive Reznor releases. The most dominant sounds on the album are pianos, ranging from ethereal Eno-influenced keyboards to that warm and lovely Fender Rhodes sound. Synthesizer fans will love the spacey string sounds that seem to hover in and around, techno-flavored electronic percussion, and square wave synths that playfully suggest the 8 bit days of early video games. Film lovers, including the Academy, apparently loved these things too.

Who Is Atticus Ross?

The collaboration of Reznor and Ross was fortuitous. Though Reznor has collaborated extensively in the past, and worked on soundtracks for the likes of Oliver Stone and David Lynch, with the British composer Ross he has found perhaps an ideal counterpart for his more aggressive American musical sensibilities. In fact, since 2005 Ross has produced four Nine Inch Nails albums and helped co-write “Ghosts I-IV.”



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