Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, infamous for long delays between albums, sure has been productive lately. 2007 saw Reznor release the critically acclaimed “Year Zero” and its’ follow-up “Year Zero Remixed.” In addition, last year Reznor produced Saul Williams’ “The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust.” Now, out of nowhere, with no advance notice, Reznor is back with NIN’s sixth album, the instrumental “Ghosts I-IV.”
“A soundtrack for daydreams,” is how Reznor sums up the new album…and that, I feel, is the best way to appreciate the new NIN. Rather than listening to this album as background music while driving or doing housework, “Ghosts I-IV” is best appreciated with relaxed, yet concentrated listening. Lie in bed or on the sofa, relaxed, and immerse yourself with this CD. Just sort of daydream–meditate, think about whatever…and let “Ghosts I-IV” be the soundtrack…
And as the mood of the album changes, allow your mood to flow with the album…try to get lost in the music.
Some have commented that “Ghosts I-IV” sounds similar in style to the instrumental music from “The Fragile,” (1999) but I don’t know if it’s all that accurate to say that. While the instrumental music from “the Fragile” sort of held the vocal compositions from that CD together like glue, “Ghosts I-IV” is a little more “out there.” It can, therefore, be seen as a mosaic–of several different styles–piano compositions, industrial beats, the avant-garde–all mixed together, with no real dominant flavor overpowering the rest. And while the album is all-over-the-place, treading many territories, everything works; “Ghosts I-IV” takes so many twists-and-turns-its always interesting. At the same time, with almost two hours of music to absorb, “Ghosts I-IV” is best appreciated with repeated listens–to fully appreciate all its’ rich textures and intricacy.