Trent Reznor has always worked “outside the box,” thinking up some new recording process, Web- or computer-based add-on experience, or marketing technique to spice things up. Here, he offers up the previous NIN release, Year Zero, to a handful of musicians and artists and asks for their own remixes. Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D (reading, to the careful eye, as Year Zero Remixed in “Leetspeak” – Google it if you’re not a computer geek and it’s Greek to you). To Reznor’s credit right off the top, he builds the guest list here with the skill of a real producer: remix demons PiRATE RoBOT MiDGET, indie electro-dance band The Faint, Olof Dreije of electronic duo The Knife, members of New Order, political poet/MC Saul Williams, sexy British dance-poppers Ladytron, and NIN co-conspirator Alessandro Cortini and his band ModWheelMood are among the artists at the (re)mixing board.  While we can’t say the mood is any lighter than the bleak (yet movingly so) Year Zero, knowing there’s a wide range of talent here playing with someone else’s Tinker Toys makes it a highly entertaining listening experience. You can actually hear each contributor’s own imprint on their tracks, from producer Stefan Goodchild (he of Peter Gabriel’s Real World camp) and his big percussion sounds on “The Warning,” to the adventurous strings of Kronos Quartet in “Another Version of the Truth.” Kudos to Reznor for always moving ahead, and not expending energy looking back when he’s well into his second decade of creative invention.

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