With The Social Network Trent Reznor’s recent change of style culminated into an astonishing, Golden Globe- and Academy Award-winning musical composition. Together with long-time collaborator and soundtrack composer of his own, Atticus Ross, he inked the film images into an incredibly melancholy, yet restlessly pulsating sound cloud, that pushed the film in a completely different light. Please have a look at this short documentary to see and especially hear the huge impact Reznor and Ross had with their score.
With David Fincher at helm of the movie one could assume to get a thoughtful and stylish ad campaign. But looking at Reznor’s back catalogue, he very likely might push the boundaries even further for the soundtrack release. Just like Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Reznor and his crew went for a different presentation than Columbia Pictures did with the movie. The album felt more like a new Nine Inch Nails album, than a regular film soundtrack. The final design (#1, #2) cleverly combined both the films’ advertising art as well as the minimalistic but seething design language we’ve come to know from earlier Nine Inch Nails records. Check out this link to learn more about the making of the cover artwork for The Social Network.
If you are reading this post because of the music, it’s very likely that you are a Trent Reznor fan in some way or the other. If so, then I’m sure you’ll remember the last record “Welcome Oblivion” by his side-project How To Destroy Angels. Art director Rob Sheridan did something very interesting with the digital release. Every track had a slightly changed album art which led to this almost GIF-like glitch effect. By arriving at the last track the album art sort of vanished… into oblivion. I did something similar with my customs for The Social Network. I extracted the album title and credits from the original cover and used that as a top layer on various official soundtrack wallpapers (#3 to #9). I’ve tweaked a few bits and bytes here and there, but all in all the background images were left as vanilla as possible. Rob Sheridan and his magic hands already transformed them into digital chaos.
Despite the fact, that there were essentially only two original songs in the movie (that weren’t even featured on the soundtrack), I put together a little compilation with various tracks that in my opinion reflect the film’s themes and moods. For example Scala & Kolacny Brothers‘s version of “Creep”, that was so brilliantly used in the teaser trailer. Well and so with a few other songs added to this list, I had to create not one, but a few custom covers for it (of course!).
I downloaded some promotion wallpapers from the official website and started applying the official logo on it. Most of my time was spent on experimenting with different layering effects and especially the placing of the logo. You have no idea how much time you can spend within a 600 x 600 pixel canvas. For some covers I already had a pretty clear vision inside my mind (#12, #13, #14), but for others I dragged the film logo around endlessly (#11), or respectively – in a final act of desperation – deleted it completely (#10).
Trent Reznor is the go-to-guy if you want to study digital distribution. He outdoes himself again and again with even more pioneering distribution methods than before. Thus it always bugged me, that the score to The Social Network was released completely without any digital booklet. I had to create one myself and – surprise! surprise! – I had one hell of a lot fun doing that. You might see one or another custom digital booklet around here from now on. I’m already collecting source material…
For The Social Network I once again used the excellent material from Rob Sheridan’s website as a basis. I also downloaded the official font type to be as accurate as possible. While looking for liner notes I fortunately found the original album credits on NINWiki, which allowed me to round off the booklet neatly. Have fun with it and be sure to come back later for more.