NIN’s Trent Reznor has never had a particularly healthy relationship with his various record labels, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the aging goth prince of pain has gone the way of Radiohead and released this overstuffed collection of instrumentals through his website as a download-only deal. (Of course, you can still order the super-expensive packaged version, too!)
At 36 tracks, Ghosts is as impressively ambitious as it is uneven and stunted. Ranging from subtle and beautiful piano-based numbers to heavy percussive pieces, the collection has no real cohesion but conveys a fragmented sense of experimentation. Many of the tracks come off as unfinished ideas, but Reznor has a knack for musical juxtapositions in suffocating and jarring pieces that retain a soundtrack quality, going from abrasive to calming to abrasive again.
It’s not so much an album in the traditional sense as an elaborate, varied footnote to Reznor’s previous work.