Danny Elfman and Trent Reznor reunite for a souped-up cinematic reworking of Native Intelligence

Danny Elfman and Trent Reznor
(Image credit: Jacob Boll / Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)

Danny Elfman has joined forces once again with Trent Reznor to release a reimagined version of his 2021 Big Mess cut, Native Intelligence.

It’s the second time the pair have linked up to give an Elfman track a fresh lick of sonic paint, after the iconic composer and Nine Inch Nails leader put their heads together for an ultra-industrial reworking of True last year.

And, in very much the same vein as True, this newly released take on Native Intelligence dials everything up to 11. Doubling up the see-sawing intro bass guitar melody with an acoustic guitar signifies an immediate modification to the track, which soon sets the frequency spectrum alight via super-charged cinematic strings and bubbling guitar riffs.

The explosive nature of the track continues across its four-and-a-half-minute run time, courtesy of some souped-up, wall-shaking low-end soundscapes, with Reznor lending a hand in the lead vocal department.

You can check out Native Intelligence in the video below.

When the pair linked up last year, Elfman revealed it had been the first duet collaboration he'd ever done in his life, and said, “To do it with Trent was a real surprise and a treat. He's always been a big inspiration to me, not to mention he has one of my all-time-favorite singing voices.”

It’s the second track from Big Mess to receive a retrospective remix, after the double album arrived in June last year. When it dropped, it was Elfman’s first solo record in 37 years, and one that was born out of the Covid pandemic.

Likening it to “pandora’s box”, Elfman told Guitar World, “Everything was really raw, and I found I was writing much more personal than I was used to, and it was kinda scary in a way but once I got used to getting it off my chest I thought, ‘What the fuck do I care?’ If they’re not into it, they’re not into it. And if they disagree, they disagree. I’m not going to worry about it.”

The new version of Native Intelligence will be joined by the pair’s take on True on the limited-edition Big Mess collector’s edition box set, which also features additional unreleased remixes, access to a behind-the-scenes mini-documentary on the making of the album and more.

To find out more, visit Danny Elfman’s website.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.