Tl;dr version: incredible instrumental set under the Nine Inch Nails name, but really Trent Reznor and a veritable slew of contributing artists. Referred to as “music for daydreams.” Each track has its own artwork done by Rob Sheridan, NIN’s visual director.
For more information on the project, refer to section II, which is the first one I wrote about. Today is the first 9 tracks, referred to as Ghosts I. Each track goes by its number and section, so: “1 Ghosts I,” “2 Ghosts I,” et al.
Here’s a brief rundown of each track with their individual art:
“1 Ghosts I” is a slow, piano-driven tune that bides its time over the course of 2 minutes and 49 seconds. Only a third of section I’s songs exceed the 3-minute mark, actually. This track has a medium-high pitched, whistle-like noise that acts as the backbone. Really haunting and cold, but one of my favorite songs from the entire I-IV series.
“2 Ghosts I” is another piano-driven track, but this one is far less organic. It also is one of the only times on the whole Ghosts series that crossfades from its previous song. Gives me the strong visual of an arid landscape. Puts me in that post-apocalypse, The Road-type feel.
“3 Ghosts I” is another highlight of this first section. One of the raddest bass lines of any Nine Inch Nails song, no matter the album: abrasive and jutting. Raw.
“4 Ghosts I” is a fuzzy, chaotic mess. A soft, strumming guitar persists, but sounds more like it was recorded in close proximity to someone playing the guitar, and not the actual output. Pretty neat. On top of that is a rousing, turbulent noise blob. Good stuff.
“5 Ghosts I” is the one song of the first 9 that doesn’t do much for me. Doesn’t go anywhere, and feels mostly incomplete. The redeeming quality is the “Closer”-esque piano in the background. The best part about this thing is its artwork. Skip it.
“6 Ghosts I” is a meandering tune, led by the soft hits of what sounds to me like a glockenspiel. The same melody syncopates for the duration of the song, a pattern that swirls and mesmerizes.
“7 Ghosts I” is the most rock-ish, mid-90s song of the whole Ghosts set. Driven by electric drums and a demo-like guitar riff, it’s just barely over 2 minutes, feeling more like a sweet incomplete idea than anything else.
“8 Ghosts I” is another of the highlights on this first set. Its guitar feedback reminds me of “We’re In This Together” from The Fragile. It’s neat, in a ‘perpetual motion’ kind of way: the same riff pushing itself to eternity.
“9 Ghosts I” is the closer to this set, the most minimal of Ghosts I. Almost nothing happens, with the exception of a single, quiet piano. Yet, Reznor manages to take just a few simple notes and a sample acting as a beat and makes it his own.
At last check, it’s still only $7.99 on iTunes, so you have little reason not to get it.
From the Ghosts I-IV set, this is “3 Ghosts I” –
Standout tracks: “1 Ghosts I” and “4 Ghosts I” and “8 Ghosts I”
Weakest track: “5 Ghosts I”
RIYL: Long-winded instrumentals. Caspian, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, This Will Destroy You, Explosions in the Sky, etc.