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Ghosts I-IV

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Album Review

Roughly a year after Year Zero — a year marked by lots of sniping with his record company first about their clueless promotion then devolving into a tirade about their general uselessness — Trent Reznor broke free of Interscope/Universal and became a free agent, releasing music where and when he wanted. To celebrate his freedom he released the four-part Ghosts, a clearinghouse of 36 instrumentals all created during the years he crafted Year Zero. It should come as no great surprise that Ghosts then plays like a sketchbook, a place where Reznor jotted down sounds and textures that flitted across his mind and then either took them no further, or decided to spin them into something entirely new for the full album. These aren't songs, they're seeds, and they (appropriately) aren't even graced with titles; they're all dubbed "Ghosts," parts one through 36, and if Reznor didn't spend enough time crafting them into proper songs, don't feel too bad if you don't spend enough time with Ghosts to sort through them, picking out which fragments are powered by a clenched electro beat and which are glassy ambient shards. Even fanatics might be hard-pressed to give Ghosts such a careful listen as it's simply not meant to be so closely observed. It's meant to be taken as surface, perhaps skimmed for samples, but generally to be used as mildly unsettling mood music — a specialty of Reznor's, to be sure, but he's better and scarier when his ideas are more finely honed than they are here.

Customer Reviews

Only $5 direct from the artist online

If you want to receive this in Apple Lossless format, order it direct from NIN Ghosts online. It's also only $5 there, whereas iTunes charges $8 and does not include any of the bonus material either.

One of my Favorite NIN Albums.

To a degree, Trent's work has always implied innovation, experimentation, and sound design. Like Skinny Puppy, there are always tiny, texture nuances embedded in his music. The album is all about letting the intuitive side of an artist take over and guide the music, those moments of inspiration are then arranged into an accessible structure.
However, nothing ever strays far into abstraction as it potentially could, or as it did on The Downward Spiral. It's still coherent and obvious music. Majority of the "voices" still come from what one can expect as instruments, whether traditional, electronic or handmade. There is some Foley audio, Sampling and maybe a Field Recording, but still, most are instruments "voices". All of which, are short and sweet, your patience is never tested. If you are a conservative NIN fan, then obviously this album isn't for you. However, if you enjoy Progressive Electronic Music, that boldy pushes the creative boundaries, and takes music in an interesting direction, than this album is definitely for you.

Ghosts is an album you can just play and close your eyes to as the sound evokes imaginery. "A Soundtrack For Day Dreams".

p.s. If you like this, check out Amon Tobin, Ben Frost, Lustmord, Tim Hecker, Fennesz, Autechre, Seefeel and Alva Noto.


36 tracks? $7.99?? BUY IT!!!


Formed: 1989 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Nine Inch Nails were the most popular industrial group ever and were largely responsible for bringing the music to a mass audience. It isn't really accurate to call NIN a group; the only official member is singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Trent Reznor, who always remained solely responsible for NIN's musical direction (he was, however, supported in concert by a regular backing band). Unlike the vast majority of industrial artists, Reznor wrote melodic, traditionally structured songs where lyrics...
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