NIN pulls a Radiohead, self-releases album

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Latest to jump the Radiohead bandwagon is Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, who's decided that the world can't possibly wait for his next halo and has self-released a new set of tracks on the internet. Ghosts I-IV is a set of “spontaneous, impulsive soundtracks to daydreams,” recorded over a ten-week period by Reznor, Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder, with help from Alessandro Cortini, Adrian Belew and Brian Viglione.

Also like Radiohead, the free download of Ghosts I is augmented by paid-releases: a $5 download of Ghosts I-IV, a $10 deluxe 2-CD set and a $75 limited edition deluxe package. Let's hope the $75 version comes with a set of razors and a diagram of major arteries.

Reznor's rampant narcissism has always been his biggest selling point, more like Prince than either would care to admit, so at the very least it's nice to see that middle age hasn't diluted Trent's natural melancholia with any uncool things like restraint or self-awareness. While in the 90s it was embarrassingly fun to pump one's hand in the air and chant “Bow down before the one you serve / you're going to get what you deserve,” he's spared us any more chestnuts in this instrumental release.

trent reznor and prince: separated at birth?Separated at birth?

Musically, Ghosts harkens back to when “industrial” wasn't so much a genre as a description. But if Reznor had been paying attention to post-rock and noise over the last decade instead of reproducing his back catalog every few years, he'd know the kinds of places where drones, drums and clangs can go. Ghosts plays like a time capsule, the soundtrack to a late-90s noir, never made.

Of course, some of us are starting to miss the 90s.

Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I #8

Free download available here.