Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D (pronounced "Year Zero remixed," naturally) may be the closest Trent Reznor ever gets to the experimental underground: It's the Nine Inch Nails disc that will find homes with people who don't normally buy Nine Inch Nails discs. That's due more to the guest remixers than Reznor, though, as some intriguing names take turns with tracks from the last NIN album, Year Zero, with mixed results. Saul Williams' poetry-jam versions of "Gunshots By Computer" and "Survivalism" can be skipped in favor of Fennesz' noisy beatifying of "In This Twilight," as well as the Kraftwerk/Giorgio Moroder worship displayed by The Faint ("Meet Your Master") and the Stephen Morris/Gillian Gilbert duo ("God Given" and "Zero-Sum"). Also of interest: avant-jumbles by Ladytron ("The Beginning Of The End") and Kronos Quartet ("Another Version Of The Truth"). The curious should keep in mind that Reznor's vocals are largely present on top of each remix, and for those who aren't NIN fans, this could spoil the fun. The good news is that Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D comes with a data CD that contains everything listeners will need to create their own remix versions of Year Zero tracks.
The Limitless Potential offers downloadable results of a web-remix competition spearheaded by fans. The idea was simple: Remixes were solicited and voted on by a team of judges to whittle the entries down to a manageable 21. Devaluing the album's Everyman aspect is the fact that even among the 21, a winner was selected. Dirty Scarab, who provides a sparse, scratchy, retro-'80s interpretation of "My Violent Heart," wears the blue ribbon. (For his efforts, he got to take home a "Hot Topic prize package.") The collection contains enough haunting weirdness (like Lithium Dawn's version of "Everything Is Zero") that deviates wildly from the source material, but The Limitless Potential smacks of the curse that burdens all projects like it: Big names or no-names, it feels like just another disposable remix album.