Odds are you won’t hear Trent Reznor’s latest video selection in an Apple commercial. Still, “Ice Age,” from Reznor’s How to Destroy Angels project with wife Mariqueen Maandig (plus his film score collaborator Atticus Ross and longtime Nine Inch Nails graphic designer Rob Sheridan), suggests a dark-side version of a plucky Feist indie-folk ditty. As Reznor put in his recent Reddit AMA, “We were experimenting around with the juxtaposition of something familiar and almost folky sounding sitting in a very cold and sterile environment.” Mushaboom.
The video for the seven-minute cut from HTDA’s new An Omen EP, directed by The Road filmmaker John Hillcoat, carries over that combination of rustic and frigid. The Reznor-led group performs in a woodsy cabin, Maandig tenderly intoning the words — cheery ones such as: “I feel the wind is growing colder every day” — as she stares out a window toward the ocean. Hillcoat’s clip furthers the music’s combination of intricate, effects-tweaked abstraction and close-up intimacy. Where did those trippy birds come from? Sadly, recent Matador signees Iceage are in no way involved.