It seems absolutely fitting that Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor and his musical partner in crime, Atticus Ross, would finally collaborate with graffiti artist and provocateur, Banksy. When you think about it, you have to wonder how something hasn’t happened sooner.
Banksy’s latest project, perhaps the most audacious of his most audacious career, is the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, an architectural art installation/renovation adjacent to the wall separating Israel and Palestine. Guests at the hotel are promised rooms with “the worst view in the world.” Of course, that only pertains to what is visible outside. Inside the Walled Off Hotel, guests can browse an extensive collection of original works by one of the contemporary art world’s most controversial creators.
A good lounge act can, of course, raise the profile of any hotel, and today Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have announced their musical residency at the Walled Off. The duo will be “performing” nightly for the next several weeks. I say “performing” because technically, the duo will not physically appear. Rather, they have created a musical soundtrack to be played on the hotel’s player piano in the lobby.
As part of the announcement, Reznor and Ross have shared an excerpt from the performance, a new piece called “Green Lines.”
According to the announcement, the performance will include both new and old music, all arranged specifically for the player piano. No other song titles have been revealed yet.
For fans of HBO’s Westworld, the idea of player piano versions of alt-rock songs will be very familiar. That show artfully integrated player piano versions of songs by several acts, with Radiohead being the most frequently featured.
And while they were not part of the player piano repertoire on the show, an instrumental version of Nine Inch Nails “Something I Can Never Have” was used during one episode.
Another recent musical endeavor the Reznor/Ross project calls to mind in Beck’s “Song Reader” in 2012. Originally, Beck released the Song Reader album exclusively in the format of printed sheet music, with no actual recording available. Eventually, the songs were recorded and released by various artists, with Beck himself only recording one of the 20 included songs.
The soundtrack from Westworld is available to order here. Beck’s Song Reader is available in its original sheet music format or on CD. No word on whether Reznor and Ross will make the music from their Walled Off Hotel performances available in any format… digital, CD, vinyl or piano roll.