Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I - IV CD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I - IV CD Review

Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts CD ReviewI have been wrestling with the philosophical question: Does free = good? Would this release get this much media buzz if it were released by either Pelican or Echoes & Shadows. (If anyone is wondering the context, Ghosts is all instrumental and both of the aforementioned bands are great instrumental bands).

Nine Inch Nails released Ghosts I-IV (part I) as a free download on the NIN site. Part 1 includes the first 9 of the 36 track double-CD. The entire album is available as a $5 download, a $10 double CD, a $75 "deluxe" package with CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray copies, and a $300 "ultra-deluxe" edition (which is already sold out).

The whole distribution concept is fascinating as this release generated $1.6M in its first week of release. I'm a big NiN fan and recognize and appreciate Trent Reznor's talent but this is a good, not essential, release. Long-time fans will likely buy this regardless but the curious are better off sticking with the free download. The 36 tracks aren't distinctive enough on their own so that anyone curious won't miss much after listening to the first nine cuts.

For anyone who hasn't heard this disc - it sounds nothing like past NiN work. Anyone expecting "Head Like A Hole" will be severely disappointed. This is a double disc of instrumental work with some middle-eastern flavoring (ala Eno/Byrne "My Life In the Bush of Ghosts"). The problem is that Reznor never challenges the listener in the same manner as Eno and Byrne. There are many tracks where the music just drifts away in the background. Adrian Belew plays some tasty guitar on a few tracks but that isn't enough to save this disc from being much more than background listening.

I'm not planning on parting with this disc but I don't think it will get much future play. With the tracks not being that distinctive, this is the sort of disc that you either listen to start-to-finish or not at all.

To drift back into my day-job...I am fascinated by the online community that has sprung up around this release. NiN created a YouTube channel around this release and there are currently 6,752 members and 1,019 videos.

"To expand the idea of the "Ghosts" project, Nine Inch Nails is inviting anyone and everyone to create visuals to accompany the album's music. In a few months, we'll be gathering the entries we feel are particularly exceptional and highlighting them. There are no rules to this - be as creative as you like. Create a music video, or a short film, or something completely abstract. Use only one track from the album, or use multiple tracks."

Nine Inch Nails' Website