Tl;dr version: moving 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 final 9 tracks, referred to as Ghosts IV. Each track goes by its number and section, so: “28 Ghosts I,” “29 Ghosts I,” et al.
Here’s a brief rundown of each track with their individual art:
“28 Ghosts IV” is the next to longest track of the entire Ghosts mega-album, at 5 and a half-minutes. For this reason, it feels like the most fully formed. Opening with minimal instrumentation (mandolin and bass), it eventually transforms into the signature NIN sound: bleak and cavernous. Good stuff.
“29 Ghosts IV” is a track that comes straight off of The Social Network soundtrack, it would appear. Brushed drums, a rugged bass riff, and even some glockenspiel make for one of the more upbeat tunes on this collection. At times, it sounds like a Beck b-side.
“30 Ghosts IV” is an undulating, heavily electronic experiment. Sounds played at half speed (or less, at times) make up the rhythm for the song, and are backed by a couple of different stringed instruments. Neat.
“31 Ghosts IV” is a ripper, the most aggressive song off Ghosts. Very well could have been a Fragile-era idea because of its dark tone and abrasiveness.
“32 Ghosts IV” is pretty minimal: just one or two instruments being played at a time, putting the spotlight on each as they come and go, like a revolving door of instrumentation. A syncopating keyboard line acts as the only consistent backing sound.
“33 Ghosts IV” is the least organic of this act. It’s a warbling tune, moving with a hive mind, scratchy and post-apocalyptic.
“34 Ghosts IV” is the longest song on all of Ghosts. It’s desolate and cold, and reminds me a lot of the rest of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack. It’s split into three pretty distinct sections over nearly 6 minutes, but all are equal in melancholia.
“35 Ghosts IV” is another Social Network-esque track. A rumbling line of feedback atop a muted guitar riff and electronic drums pushes this one for three and a half solid minutes.
“36 Ghosts IV” is the last song in this tremendous set, and goes out in typical Trent fashion: quiet piano, not guns blazing. It’s delicate and fearful, but this far into Reznor’s career, he doesn’t need anything to further cement his legacy.
Simply put, he’s one of the premiere artists of my generation, and has made an indelible mark upon music.
This final selection of instrumentals, downtrodden as they are, may very well be my favorite of the four acts from Ghosts. It features the two longest songs of all 36, and feels more industrial than much of its more quiet predecessors.
And at the final check for this project, 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 “34 Ghosts IV” –
Standout tracks: “28 Ghosts IV” and “35 Ghosts IV”
Weakest track: “30 Ghosts IV” moves the least.
RIYL: Long-winded instrumentals. Caspian, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, This Will Destroy You, Explosions in the Sky, etc. Some of the other tracks will lend a trip hop vibe in the vein of Massive Attack or Portishead. It’s all golden, though.