Back in 2008, right after parting ways with longtime label home Interscope, Nine Inch Nails released Ghosts I–IV, a quadruple-album of ambient instrumentals described by Trent Reznor as “a soundtrack for daydreams.” It marked the beginning of a new phase of NIN, with Reznor operating outside the traditional rollout cycle and outside the rock radio industrial complex. Ghosts was sold at an innovative range of price points, and Reznor allowed the music to be sampled and reworked for nonprofit purposes via a Creative Commons license. That looked to be its legacy until a couple years ago, when the Dutch producer YoungKio sampled a segment of “34 Ghosts IV” for the beat that would become Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.”
Today, Reznor has followed up that mammoth outpouring with two new Ghosts albums, available for free as digital downloads. These are the first NIN full-lengths since 2018’s Bad Witch, which was really the completion of an EP trilogy, but that’s neither here nor there. Of course, Reznor and his bandmate Atticus Ross have released a ton of other instrumental music in the interim via their work as in-demand composers for film and TV. (That Watchmen score, though!) But even if it’s ostensibly just more instrumental music from a duo that has delivered no shortage of instrumentals in recent years, it means something that they’ve decided to release these under the NIN banner.
Titled Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts, the new LPs span 23 tracks and 154 minutes in total. On Twitter, Reznor writes, “Anybody out there? New Nine Inch Nails out now. Ghosts V – VI. Hours and hours of music. Free. Some of it kind of happy, some not so much.” You can download both albums now at the NIN web store, or stream them together as a YouTube playlist below.