Hell-bent on Scoring Every Horror, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Are Doing the Music for Ken Burns’s The Vietnam War Doc

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69th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals
They won’t stop. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Do images of the Vietnam War suddenly conjure up the ambient noise of a dystopian hellscape? Well, they will soon because, as the New York Times reports, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have now added scoring Ken Burns’s ten-part behemoth The Vietnam War to their busy schedule. The documentary isn’t out on PBS until September, but already Reznor and Ross are hard at work figuring out how to make two hours of skin-crawling war sounds stretch over the 18 hours required to cover the conflict. “A lot of it was about tension and fear,” Reznor says, with Ross adding, “Mortars, helicopters, people talking — we would process those sounds and use them as rhythmic starting points.” The Nine Inch Nails partners have already made a career out of collaboratively scoring unconventional horror stories — The Social Network, Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, Leo DiCaprio’s climate-change doc Before the Flood, and the Boston bombing movie Patriots Day — so maybe don’t expect them to go dabbling in light Disney movies anytime soon. “We could go deeper in each pool knowing it wasn’t forever. We could take a break from the end of the world by going into a terrorist bombing, or take a break from that by making an ‘I want to kill myself’ album,” Reznor says. Take a listen to their latest soundtrack in a clip from Burns’s doc below.

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross Scoring Ken Burns Doc