A Dozen Years Later, Nine Inch Nails Continues The Success of ‘Ghosts I-IV’ with ‘Ghosts V’

Courtesy: Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor has made a career — and a successful one at that — of crafting unique musical landscapes with each song he creates that are unlike those of any of his peers across the musical universe. That applies to his work on movies, video games and under the Nine Inch Nails moniker.  His recently released album Ghosts V: Together is no exception to that rule.  The eight-song instrumental record is a presentation that Reznor’s established fan base will enjoy.  The record’s musical arrangements are the main way in which the album proves to be another success from Reznor under the NIN moniker.  They will be discussed shortly.  The arrangements’ sequencing ensures even more, that listeners will remain engaged and entertained in the albums.  The songs’ production rounds out the album’s most important elements.  It is because of this element that the album in whole sounds so appealing.  When it is considered along with the album’s songs and their sequencing, the album in whole becomes another impressive addition to Nine Inch Nails’ catalog and proves itself one of this year’s top new albums overall.

Nine Inch Nails’ recently released instrumental album Ghosts V: Together is another memorable addition to Trent Reznor’s already extensive and impressive body of work.  It picks up right where Ghosts I-IV left off way back in 2008.  Just as with that album – the band’s first independent release following its split from Interscope Records – Reznor (and likely his longtime collaborative partner Atticus Ross) pays such close attention to all of the most minute details in each song.  This will be discussed at more length when the record’s production is addressed.  The songs’ ethereal arrangements are so rich even in their simplicity.  ‘With Faith’ is a prime example of the songs’ depth even in that minimalist approach.  The song’s foundation is formed through a gentle, simple keyboard line that almost sounds like a toy piano.  That in itself makes for its own share of interest.  The use of the “choral” effect to the arrangement — that runs stably through the song’s nearly 10-minute run time — and the subtle keyboard accents make for so much engagement.  The mood that they collectively set is such that a person could use the song for a meditation session.  The progression happens through the subtleties throughout the song.  They work with the noted foundation and smartly-handled dynamics to make the song such a strong presentation in its own right.

‘Still Right Here,’ which comes in at more than 10 minutes in length, does its own share to show what makes Ghosts V: Together so impressive, in regards to its musical arrangements.  It starts off in a decidedly gentle, contemplative fashion, using only a soft keyboard line and even more subtle electronics.  As the song progresses, it gradually builds in intensity with the addition of the guitar line.  The dynamic control in the arrangement is solid throughout, evoking such strong emotions in listeners.  As the song builds into something more akin to works from With Teeth, the engagement and entertainment builds even more.  The transition back to something that sounds like it belongs in a science fiction movie builds up the arrangement’s presentation even more, showing once more why the arrangement (and album’s arrangements in whole) works so well in this record. 

‘Your Touch’ is yet another example of the importance of the musical arrangements featured in Ghosts V: Together.  The song’s arrangement is one of those works that is so heavy without being heavy.  The subtlety in the combination of the keyboards and electronics alongside the once more ethereal vocal effects creates another deep emotional impact within listeners’ minds.  The arrangement in whole sounds like it would fit just as well on The Downward Spiral as on Fragile.  Its reach is that broad, what with the “instrumentation” and overall mix, which again will be discussed at more length a little later.  Between this song, the others noted here and the rest of the album’s featured works, it becomes clear at this point just how impacting the album’s musical arrangements are for listeners.  They form a solid foundation for the album; a foundation that is strengthened even more through their sequencing.

The sequencing of Ghosts V: Together is important to examine alongside the arrangements themselves in that it maintains a stable mood and energy throughout the course of the album.  The mood is melancholy, yes, but it is not an “oh-woe-is-me” melancholy.  Rather, it is more of a deeply introspective style of melancholy that still presents its own sort of positivity.  The dynamic changes within each arrangement also ensure that is understood while also making sure that the record never becomes monotonous at any point.  The result is that from start to end, audiences will remain fully engaged and entertained by the album.  Pairing this element with the album’s arrangements the album gains even more strength.  It is just one more aspect that makes the record so worth hearing.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements.

It has already been noted here that much attention was paid to even the most minute of details throughout Ghosts V: Together.  That is made clear in different ways in each song.  Something as simple as the dynamic changes within the songs shows solid control and thought.  Case in point goes back to ‘Still Right Here.’  The song starts off so slowly and introspectively.  As the song progresses, it gradually picks up in intensity, a la songs from The Fragile before gradually following a decrescendo as the song enters its second half in the sort of ABA pattern.  The subtle progression that the song experiences not only in terms of dynamics, but also in terms of instrumentation shows even more, the impact of the albums’ production.  The use of the electronics, keyboards and vocals is expertly balanced, with each element complimenting the others.  Much the same can be said of ‘Out in the Open.’  Another composition that evokes thoughts of movies, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, the arrangement gently balances the keyboards and seeming vocal elements together for a unique whole that is just so powerful in its simplicity.  Much the same said of these two songs can largely be said of the rest of the album’s entries.  Whether the songs be simple or somewhat more complex in their instrumentation and even dynamics, the balance is near perfection if not full perfection.  Keeping this in mind along with the impact of the arrangements themselves and their sequencing, the whole of the album a powerful new offering from Nine Inch Nails that every one of Trent Reznor’s fans will welcome.

Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts V: Together is another impressive addition to the band’s already impressive, extensive catalog that audiences are certain to enjoy.  That is proven in part through the record’s featured musical arrangements.  The full-on instrumental compositions continue the trend established in Ghosts IIV approximately a dozen years ago in terms of their stylistic approach.  The sequencing of the record’s featured songs adds its own share of appeal to the recording, as it ensures listeners will remain engaged and entertained.  The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation, ensuring each element within each song is expertly balanced together, so as to produce the most powerful emotional impact for listeners.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Ghosts V: Together.  All things considered, the record is a strong continuation of its predecessor that Trent Reznor’s established fan base will enjoy from start to end.  Ghosts V: Together is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Nine Inch Nails’ latest news at:

Website: http://www.nin.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nonofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nineinchnails

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