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Yeah, I know. This is everywhere. “Nine Inch Nails pull a Radiohead” etc etc.

For the one of you under a rock, yesterday without much warning, Trent Reznor dropped the new Nine Inch Nails records (yes plural) on the unsuspecting public, Ghosts I-IV. Sure it is 4 sets of instrumentals, but it is still a major release by an amazingly relevant artist, especially important given Reznor’s public mouthing off about record labels. In a Radiohead-esqe move there was a decision to be made. This one though was the option of Ghosts I for free, Ghosts I-IV in our preferred digital format for $5, a $10 pre-order (with immediate download) of the CD, and a $75 deluxe set of CD’s, DVD of all multi-track files, Blu-Ray disc of the album, and fancy artbook. There was also a $300 ultra-limited job (2500 of ’em) with all the above plus vinyl plus giclee prints plus Trent’s big fat squiggle on it… but if you wanted that then too late… all gone in the blink of an eye.

Being a NIN regular (but not obsessive) I opted for a $5 layout, knowing if it was awesome I could buy the CD or vinyl in stores next month (yes, it is getting a traditional release). And not being a FLAC devotee, I opted for the 320kb MP3. I think I did the smart thing too and waited for the traffic to settle before grabbing it.

So this is just a first impression, having had it all for less than 24hrs. And really, 2 hours of instrumentals is hard to digest in that amount of time. But what do I think? Way more listenable than I thought it would be. That is not to say I thought it would be terrible, but 2 hours of The Fragile instrumentals? Even the most devout NIN fan would struggle with that. Ghosts I-IV though is actually a really great listen all the way through. It is not just ambient piano (although that is here)… there is also HYPERPOWER!!! type rock outs, electronica, and everything in between. It is sequenced to perfection as well so with two listens through I didn’t feel the need to stop or skip. Each Ghost is slowly getting its own personality too which is intriguing. Sure there is the odd track you think could have been cut, but as sets of whole pieces it is hanging together pretty well.

But will it last or am I only listening because of the gimmick? Not sure. I think I will be inclined just to listen to one volume at a time as opposed to the whole slog, but yeah, I think it will get a bit more of a run. Speaking of running, maybe that is where my head is at these days, but listening to some albums I now also think “how will this go on the iPod out on the road?” (this will also make sense with my My Disco review coming in the next few days). I reckon I will be able to make an awesome playlist for pulling on the running shoes out of these four sets. It may not be what Trent wants… me breaking up the Ghosts and all (don’t worry Trent, they will still be in sequence on my PC)… but hey, it means I am getting even more value for my 5 bucks.

… muttler


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