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Nine Inch Nails
Purest Feeling
Recorded live at "the right track" - Cleveland, Ohio.
November, 1988

A bootleg CD with the studio demos for Pretty Hate Machine (halo 2). It was played by a live band as kind of a dry run for their live show. Unlike most bootlegs, they appear to have been mastered off of the original DAT tapes used for recording in the studio, thus the quality is very high. It features the only known studio recordings of "Maybe Just Once", "Purest Feeling", and "Intro to Sanctified". It has a version of "Twist" on it, labeled as "Ringfinger" in the liner notes. Since this isn't really a "live" show, there was no audience and thus no audience noise. Also, though there is no video, I'm pretty sure Trent & friends were being all boring and just playing the music instead of slathering themselves in mud and thrashing about the stage throwing microphone stands at each other.

Tracks:
  1. Intro (2:23) - A nice little instrumental that leads into Sanctified, its sometimes played before live versions of Sanctified.
  2. Sanctified (5:39) - Similar sounding to the version on PHM. The sample from Midnight Express in the middle of the song is replaced with this sample of unknown origin: "Get in there and give it a try, go ahead give it a try right now, doesn't that feel good? There, now you're ready get in there and get the job done. Life is good life is terrific, thank you God for another wonderful day!" It sounds a little less synthy with more focus on the guitars than the album version, which I consider to be a good thing.
  3. Maybe Just Once (5:10) - Filled with typical upbeat 80s pop synthesizers this doesn't sound a bit like NIN (even PHM-era NIN). Its almost like he was inspired by happiness, for crying out loud. He must have come to his senses, however, and the song was scrapped before PHM.
  4. The Only Time (5:12) - A little less polished than the PHM version, but essentially the same song.
  5. Kinda I Want To (5:02) - The same lyrics as the PHM version, but completely different music. This has a similar feel to track 3, with the 80s pop synthesizers etc... except it's even worse. Again, it's not something you'd expect from NIN, and the PHM version is much better.
  6. That's What I Get (4:19) - A rougher, harder feeling version of the PHM song. The drums, in particular, set it apart from the album version. Its a little less polished, but still very similar to the album version.
  7. Purest Feeling (2:59) - The album's title track, this is a short, fairly simplistic 80s pop song with a repeating saxaphone sample and some good lyrics. Again not your typical NIN song and the song was scrapped before PHM. Slightly better than tracks 3 and 5, but I still don't think we're missing much.
  8. Ringfinger (5:54) - Different lyrics than the PHM version (this version is often referred to as "twist") and its also missing the Jane's Addiction sample. I prefer the PHM version myself.
  9. Down In It (6:17) - This has a completely different intro, and a more simplistic feel but essentially retains the feel of the PHM version.
Total Running Time: 42:58

It's interesting to hear how NIN sounded before PHM, and its worth listening to just to hear the full evolution of the songs, but it lacks the depth and energy of NIN's later works (as well it should - it being a bootleg and all.) The heavy reliance on cheesy 80s synthesizers was a surprise to me, and its something I'm glad he did away with. It is tempting to describe this as a sort of "stripped down" NIN, but Reznor has already done that (with still) to much greater effect. I guess building a song up and "deconstructing" it works better than seeing the base material upon which the music was built. Obviously, Reznor doesn't like that this disc was released, but he really doesn't have much to be embarrassed about.

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