4 - Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV

Nobody saw Ghosts I-IV coming. With a notice posted onto the Nine Inch Nails site simply saying “2 weeks” Trent Reznor brought a new vision of distribution to the world, deriding Radiohead's nod towards free distribution by putting out 36 instrumental tracks under a Creative Commons licence. Perhaps paradoxically it was an incredible commercial success, as the $300 Ultra-Deluxe Edition sold out in just three days, which netted Reznor's Null Corporation $1.6million dollars.

The four volumes, rumoured to be the opening burst in series of Ghost releases, are filled with oppositional clashes and experiments. “13 Ghosts” is one of the most haunting recordings Reznor has released, a gentle soundscape that floats through the speakers, while “19 Ghosts”, featuring Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls, is the kind of grotesque industrial clatter Martin Hannett would have happily killed to create. “34 Ghosts” holds the faintest echo of old NIN favourite “Closer To God” before crawling with static frequency and “1 Ghosts” debuts a broken piano lullaby and a synthesised warning siren, both at odds with “3 Ghosts” tribal thump and thunder.

Reznor followed Ghosts I-IV with The Slip, continuing his new release pattern unencumbered by the restrictive label meddling of his youth.

Play Ghosts I-IV Next on Last.fm Best Of 2008 Last.fm brought you your third favorite album first.