Golden Ghost/No End isn’t quite the inaugural release from Black Spring – a split with The Engineer on Monocreo has that honour – but it’s still a relatively early document of this drum and electronics duo. Released as one of a brace of tapes by Structured Disasters back in February, it showcases the pair’s postrock-ambient-electroacoustic meanderings to elegant effect, mashing up treacly, echo-laden downbeats with airy washes of synth and odd pots and pans clatter to produce two slices of rather lovely swirl. Imagine one of those classic stoner rock crews – Sleep, perhaps, or Om – hunkering down in the Black Ark to cut some sides for Hyperdub with an Apollo-era Eno casting a quizzical eye over proceedings.
Golden Ghost is a straight-ahead stomper, the sluggish four-four chassis as blankly hypnotic as a slog up the Holy Mountain on a wet bank holiday. A monolithic kick drum is garlanded by jangling rim shots, but what turns this from a trudge to a pilgrimage are the timestretched wafts of digital echo triggered each time the elephant’s foot bass drum pounds the muddy path. Dubwise and otherwise. Meanwhile, one-finger keyboard lines wrap themselves around things like mist from a cloud forest, the synth setting phasing slowly from ‘wistful’ to ‘full-on wide-eyed wonder’.
No End takes a slightly more sophisticated rhythmic approach, with a tom-laden attack (think: the intro to Kate Bush’s Sat In My Lap frozen into a teeth-grinding loop of fury) that nevertheless retains its counterpart’s mantra-like quality. There’s a nice crackle going on underneath that gives us just a hint that the duo may have a couple of AMM records stashed away in their hard drives somewhere, but the main counterpart to the drums is a glistening electronic wave that leers over the top, some warped beast roaming the Buckinghamshire countryside in search of a latter-day Ichabod Crane. The pugilism eventually dissolves into an almost sensual wash, sampled breath and those drums transformed into euphoric, polyrhythmic heartbeats. Turned out nice again.