There's a fine line between genius and madness.Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor has usually walked on the genius side of that line during his career as an industrial noise-maker, thanks to albums like "The Downward Spiral," and "The Fragile." "Ghosts I-IV," may make some wonder whether he's walked off the deep end.I don't know if Reznor really is Advanced (I never really got into NIN), but he certainly is being criticized as if he were. Regardless, he is extremely buff, and no critic can take that away from him.
Some of it is minimalistic and ambient, not far from the trips Brian Eno staged decades ago on albums like "Music For Airports," while plenty of other moments find Reznor and his current assemblage of collaborators shifting moods and textures into that dark industrial territory that offers noise, distortion, banging percussion, chaos and churning aggression.
Starting with the hushed piano tones of "1," and the searching-for-an-airport feel of the artfully atmospheric "2," Reznor takes the listener on a harried excursion. Some of it is just plain bizarre, like the crushing "4," and some of it is coolness exemplified like the sparse blend of piano and percussion on "9." Sometimes NIN totally lock into an actual groove, such as the throbbing, buzzing noise-fest of "14."
That's the great Adrian Belew playing guitar in the latter track. He contributes to several selections on the recording, which is also augmented by guest musicians Alessandro Cortini and Brian Viglione.
Closing, as it opened, with delicate piano, "Ghosts I-IV," has moments of madness, mayhem and beauty, but there's also a sense of self-indulgence running through a double CD set that easily - very easily - could have been trimmed in half and come out stronger.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Not really "rips," but the critic is definitely struggling with Trent Reznor's latest attempt to be considered Advanced. Here's the story (MassLive.com):