For some musicians, the near-total disappearance of the material trappings of making records — no CD pressings, no physical artwork, and minimal marketing — has ushered in a sort of digital renaissance.
Trent Reznor and his band Nine Inch Nails have thoroughly immersed themselves in this movement with the release of Ghosts I–IV, a 36-track instrumental collection clocking in at almost two hours (Volume 1 can be downloaded free). For ten weeks the band members worked without strict songwriting edicts and with “no clear agenda.” The end result is a batch of wonderfully minimalist piano-infused tracks with a hint of guitar-laden electronica.
While we don’t get the pleasure of hearing the usually morose Reznor sing of his pain (as in the Johnny Cash–covered “Hurt”), Ghosts holds up as pure ethereal joy not just for the ears but for the brain as well. Reznor has said more volumes are likely — we can’t wait.
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