When Nine Inch Nails was in the process of releasing its brand new EP Not The Actual Events, one particular pre-order caught the majority of fans’ eye. There was a “physical component” for sale on Nine Inch Nails’ website, which boasted the following description alongside a very nondescript image of a plain, faded black box.
THE INTENTION OF THIS RECORD IS FOR IT TO EXIST IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD, JUST LIKE YOU. CHOOSING THIS PACKAGE GETS YOU THE DIGITAL FILES AND WE WILL SHIP THE PROPER PHYSICAL COMPONENT TO YOUR HOUSE FOR YOU TO DEAL WITH, WHILE VERY LIMITED SUPPLIES LAST.
Just as David Mills wondered what was in the box, so did we. Now one Redditor has taken a fairly extensive set of photos as to what was really in the box, and it’s not anything that contains music. To be blunt, it’s soot and nice cardstock postcards with lyrics and photos.
The large black envelope is sealed with an interesting warning and even now, you find small bits of soot at your finger tips in handling it. Inside you find a stack of thick card stock papers that have the lyrics for the songs in order of the album. Dark smudges begin to form and spread over the contents of the envelope and across your hands. It’s very hard to tell what part of the cards you are holding are printed, and what part is a physical soot coating your hands. Tilting the card in the light feels trippy as you try to determine what is real. The final card is backed thoroughly with the source of the dirt and grime and your handling of all of the cards leaves them each personally imprinted with your fingerprints.
You can check out all the photos below, though in doing so you may get some soot and dirt in your eyes. For that, we take absolutely no responsibility.
Not the Actual Events is an extended play by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. It was released physically on December 23, 2016, under Trent Reznor’s own label The Null Corporation, but those who had pre-ordered it received a download link a day early. The second Nine Inch Nails EP following Broken in 1992, it marks long-time collaborator Atticus Ross’s first appearance as an official member of the band. It was released digitally and on vinyl. The digital pre-orders included a “physical component” that was shipped in early March 2017.
In an interview promoting Apple Music, Trent Reznor mentioned he has started “messing around with some things” in regards to a new Nine Inch Nails album, stating, “It’s not a record I’m trying to finish in a month. It’s more just feeling around in the dark and seeing what sounds interesting.” In December 2015, Reznor reported that “Nine Inch Nails will return in 2016”. He and Atticus Ross later scored the soundtracks for Before the Flood and Patriots Day in 2016.
In December 2016, Reznor commented on his statement regarding Nine Inch Nails’ return by the end of the year: “Those words did come out of my mouth, didn’t they? […] Just wait and see what happens.” Three days later, Reznor announced Not the Actual Events, along with reissues of Nine Inch Nails’ previous releases.