New Nine Inch Nails

     March 3, 2008

Iconoclast rock star Trent Reznor has returned with a new album entitled, “Ghost I-IV,” His third record in 18 months, an unusually short gestation period for a Nine Inch Nails release.

Since 2005 Reznor and his rotating group of band mates have produced With_Teeth, Year Zero, Year Zero Remixed and now Ghost I-IV, with the promise of a sequel to Year Zero sometime this year. The band has also been busy with world tours. On top of his duties as front man for Nine Inch Nails, Reznor spent time producing Saul Williams’ ( most recent criminally under heard album.

Year Zero Remixed was Reznor’s last album under his contract with Interscope. Before this contract ended Reznor became vocal about his hatred of record companies, even asking fans to download his music instead of paying artificially inflated prices. Along with Radiohead, Reznor has been seen by many as a pioneer in a new style of music distribution that eliminates the record company middleman.

Ghost’s I-IV was released today at 6 PM on NIN’s official site and home of Reznor’s blog, The album is available in 3 formats and 4 versions. The first 9 tracks are available for free download to prospective buyers. The whole album can be purchased as a digital download for $5. The physical CD is for sale as a double album for $10. For Reznor completeists and audiophiles, a deluxe version complete with a Blu-Ray version of the record can be purchased for $75. And for the truly obsessive fan there is the $300 Super Deluxe edition with a ridiculous amount of extras and a hand signed certificate of authenticity.

The album can be purchased as a high quality DRM free MP3, a 600 megabite Itunes compatible FLAC file and a 600 megabite Itunes incompatible FLAC file. If these last 2 descriptions are meaningless to you, the site suggests that you choose the MP3.

This release separates itself from previous Internet only music sales in its abrupt nature. 2 weeks ago Reznor posted an oblique statement about “big news in 2 weeks.” Since then he has updated the blog regularly with teasing hints and what the announcement would be. Fan speculation ranged from a new NIN tour to a new NIN album to simply an update of the website design.

Few, if any, however, expected so much, so soon. Previous internet releases have had some type of buildup. Radiohead held press releases, Williams leaked early tracks and had some promotion, but Reznor’s choice to simply release the album without so much as a single press notes is seemingly audacious. However, based upon the fact that the Servers for the site crashed within minutes of the album going on line, it appears as if Reznor’s gamble has paid off.

Equally idiosyncratic is the record itself, a sprawling 36 track instrumental record that appears, based upon the few tracks I have listened to thus far, to have been Reznor’s outlet for his less mainstream impulses after the financial and critical failure of his last double album, 1999’s The Fragile.

Still, the work seems more focused than it was 9 years ago. This is the type of album that a record label might balk at releasing, but one that might find an audience with Reznor as a free agent.

The album is available at both and at for $5.

Expect a review in the next few days.

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