That word is all that needs to be said, but i'll keep talking anyway. As if The Downward Spiral itself wasn't tripped out and convention-bending enough, this huge gob of remixes somehow managed to manifest itself. Further Down the Spiral somehow manages to completely ignore what few musical boundaries were left in the original Spiral and drag everything from the original off into something wholly other..
Quite a few guest artists quietly came in to work on this album. Piggy (Nothing can stop me now) was actually produced by Rick Rubin and featured Dave Navarro (who supposedly also did some work on the Fragile) on guitar. All three of the amazing Eraser remixes (as well as part of The Downward Spiral (The Bottom)) were done by (swoon) Coil, working in Reznor's studio. (Coil, for the record, also did the "gave up" remix on Fixed.) Two tracks, at the heart of it all and the second part of the beauty of being numb were created by Aphex Twin and merely inspired by the Downward Spiral.
A thing to keep in mind is that the American and UK versions of this album are fairly different! Pessimistic's writeup above contains the american track list; here is the UK's:
- piggy: (nothing can stop me now)
- the art of self destruction, part one
- self destruction, part three
- heresy (version)
- the downward spiral (the bottom)
- hurt (live)
- at the Heart of it all
- ruiner (version)
- eraser (denial: realization)
- self destruction, final
If you only have one of the two versions, i just suggest you stop reading this and go download the mp3s of the tracks you're missing RIGHT NOW. For those of you who would rather just go through this vicariously, or can't decide which one of the two to buy on cd, here's a rather trivia-laden summary of the differences:
- The cover art is slightly different-- both are of the same rope lying on the ground and coiled up into a spiral, but the american version is kind of zoomed in. Maybe this is meant to imply the american version is even further down into the spiral than the UK version? Maybe nobody cares?
- Hurt. The UK FDTS features a really cool live version; the american has the "quiet" version. You'd rather have the live version. The quiet version is actually not a remix at all, but a radio version. It's not cut or edited or anything, except the static at the beginning is shorter. All they did was filter out the wierder stereo effects and some other odd production things that sounded great on CD but came out kind of shitty when broadcast over radio and/or flattened into mono. (Keep in mind that the american FDTS was meant to serve kind of in place of the single for "Hurt"; it was released at the same time that a whole bunch of promo singles (four tracks-- just the quiet and album versions, with and without the word "shit" edited out) were mailed out to radio stations to be dropped into rotation. Hence the presence of the radio version on FDTS, because it was meant to ride the same promotional wave..)
- The american version has part two of Self Destruction; the UK version has part three. Part two is really, really interesting and mind-opening; part three is just kind of like "ok, here's another version we didn't use". Part two isn't quite missed though because most of its interesting moments are in Self Destruction, Final. Don't bother looking for part three unless you find it interesting to pick apart the process of how they decide to arrange the elements of a song..
- The version remixes. If you decide to get the UK version, this would be why. The UK version has two very tripped remixes, of Heresy and Ruiner, labelled simply "version". The original music in both mixes is completely obliterated and hardcore replaced with, blinkingly enough, Trent Reznor's interpretation of Trance music!!
(Keep in mind this CD was released a couple years before anybody knew what trance music was.)
- The Beauty of Being Numb, which Aphex Twin was responsible for and which i love, is not on the UK version. This is just as well, since the track's purpose was to serve as a bridge between Self Destruction, Final and Erased, over, out, which doesn't work because:
- Two of the three coil remixes of eraser were dropped from the UK version. If you get the american, you will find Eraser (polite) either bone-chilling or kind of boring and pointless. Erased, over, out, meanwhile, is pretty much a must-hear, although it's terribly wierd by most people's standards, and somewhat ambient, and very Coil. If you went back and put every single song created during The Downward Spiral era into one case, Erased, over, out would have to be the last song, the one song that ends and drowns and closes everything down.
If anyone is still hungry after all that, there's the japanese
version of Further Down the Spiral
which was exactly like the british version with a single track added. The bonus track was called Reptilian
, and is unsurprisingly a remix of Reptile
. Not too much new here, and some of the interesting bits are echoed in the Reptile
remixes on the unbelievably nifty March of the Pigs
singles that were released in the UK (Reptilian
, A Violet Fluid
and Underneath the Skin
were all done by the same person), but Reptilian
is still a damn cool song and it's still worth checking your favorite local illegal content provider
to see if you can find it.