Hesitation Marks


Each version of Hesitation Marks will have its own unique cover with artwork by Russell Mills. Pictured above:

Digital cover: “Turn And Burn” (Plaster, earth, oils, acrylics, etching varnish, bitumen, burning, rusted linen, blood, spent matches, on wood)

Deluxe CD cover: “Cargo In The Blood” (Burning, Polaroid frame, copper wire, mica, on velvet, on wood)

Standard CD cover: “Time And Again” (Plaster, earth, oils, acrylics, etching varnish, rusted linen, blood, microscope slides, on wood)

Vinyl cover: “Other  Murmurs” (Plaster, earth, oils, acrylics, etching varnish, collage, on canvas, on wood)

Some words from Russell about the artwork created for the album:

The artworks, (30 mixed media pieces) that I eventually produced towards uses in the Hesitation Marks releases, evolved out of lengthy exchanges between myself and Trent and in response to the conceptual ideas that thread through the tracks and to the sonic territory that the album explores. I’ve tried to lock into the album’s prevailing mood and echo the album’s essence. The ideas are not communicated in a literal or easily digested form, as this would be boring for me and would insult the intelligence of a potential audience. I’ve tried to make works that obliquely allude to the essence of the subject matter, to its emotional core.  As with my self-initiated works - the paintings, assemblages, collages and multimedia installations - personal ideas and obsessions seep into these works. The organic, the natural, prevailing over or feeding into the industrial, the man made, is a common theme in my work generally and in this instance was particularly apt for the art required. The works explore ideas of catharsis, of being into dissolution into being, both on a personal and sociological level. They allude to ideas about chaos and order. They deal with ways of suggesting presence in absence. They are a cross between the forensic and a pathology of the personal in which only fragments remain, in which minimal clues can suggest events that may have occurred. They attempt to harness the chaos of a situation, of now, of the personal trauma, of the human condition, into a form that is coherent, a form that accommodates the mess without disguising it as something else. It attempts to capture the essence of these ideas by implication and exclusion. Beneath the form lies the uncertainty and ceaseless flux of the mess, of the chaos.     An amalgam of the contextually-anchored and the process-driven, they are hopefully powerful, arresting, seductive, suggestive and resonant. I hope that they will invite multiple readings.

Hesitation Marks is out September 3rd. Pre-order now direct from nin.com or from iTunes.

Hesitation Marks was mastered in two different ways - the standard, “loud” mastering (which is what you’ll find on the CD, on iTunes, and everywhere else), and also an alternate “audiophile” mastering, which we’re offering as a free download option for anyone who purchases the album through nin.com. For the majority of people, the standard version will be preferable and differences will be difficult to detect. Audiophiles with high-end equipment and an understanding of the mastering process might prefer the alternate version.

Alan Moulder, who mixed the album, offers a more detailed explanation:

When we were mixing Hesitation Marks we decided to treat the mastering process in a slightly different way to the usual. Since we had tried to treat every other aspect of making this record differently to how we were used to, it seemed to make sense. We were mixing as we went along with the production of each song rather than at the end, so we thought that once we had a song pretty close we would send it off to Tom Baker, our long time serving mastering engineer, to give it some mastering treatment. Normally you wait until the record is finished being recorded and mixed, then take all the mixes to mastering. But we thought doing it again, as we went along, might make us push the process further and spend more time on mastering rather than rush through it at the end. Whilst doing this we became aware of how much low bass information there was on the record. Since that can define how loud of a level the mastering can be, we were faced with a dilemma: do we keep the bass and and have a significantly lower level record, or do we sacrifice the bass for a more competitive level of volume? The biggest issue in mastering these days tends to be how loud can you make your record. It is a fact that when listening back-to-back, loud records will come across more impressively, although in the long run what you sacrifice for that level can be quality and fidelity. So after much discussion we decided to go with two versions. On the main release Tom did exceptional work to maintain the integrity of our mixes and reproduce the low end as much as possible and still get a decent level, although it’s still nowhere as loud as a lot of modern records. The Audiophile Mastered Version is more true to how the mixes sounded to us in the studio when we were working on the songs. Have a listen, turn up the volume and enjoy the experience!

Mastering Engineer Tom Baker adds: I believe it was Trent’s idea to master the album two different ways, and to my knowledge it has never been done before. The standard version is “loud” and more aggressive and has more of a bite or edge to the sound with a tighter low end. The Audiophile Mastered Version highlights the mixes as they are without compromising the dynamics and low end, and not being concerned about how “loud” the album would be. The goal was to simply allow the mixes to retain the spatial relationship between instruments and the robust, grandiose sound.   NOTE: The standard mastered version is in no way inferior to the Audiophile Version - we wouldn’t release something inferior as the default. And vinyl purists rest assured, the vinyl edition was mastered to sound the very best for that format. The Audiophile Version is merely an alternate take on the mastering, which some people will appreciate. It’s meant to give a slightly different experience, not denigrate the standard version. Listen to each and come to your own conclusions. If you ordered any format of Hesitation Marks from nin.com, you’ll be able to download one or both mastering versions, in whichever formats you prefer (MP3, FLAC, Apple Lossless, and WAV), beginning September 3rd.