Ghost – Untitled (CD-R, Slow Death Records)

This mysterious CD-R lists no tracks, title, or artist; likewise, the disc is simply a white CD-R (just like the others on Slow Death Records). What stands out is the excellent harsh noise walls on display on this release from Ghost, and the spectacular design of the artwork – a tribal-esque idol figure with a creepy face holding an umbrella, filtered in red. With the lack of titling, it’s difficult to create expectations of what Ghost will sound like except perhaps crackling static whispers akin to the namesake, and that’s just what the listener gets here with four meaty tracks of static crackle and huge bass rumbles.

Track one starts out heavy and is fairly unchanging through its 20+ minute runtime. There’s a huge bass backdrop with a small amount of static trickling through. There’s also a feeling of the bass ebbing and flowing, breathing in and out with the length of the track. The single strand of static allows Ghost to manipulate that sound rather easily, and every so often the static will open up with expanding webs of sound. It leaves a lot of factors for the listener to focus on, and it’s incredibly easy to get lost in this first track.

Track two is melded right to track one, and it incorporates that huge bass of the first while cutting back on the static. Instead of having an outward, harsher static tendril, we get a really fuzzed and distant static crumble. It’s an excellent transition from the first track’s attitude, but the length of the track fails to engage as much as the first. This is mostly due to the second track’s muffled static; it’s less in-your-face, and though it’s hypnotic at first, the long run of the cut doesn’t bode well for me, as I feel that the distance of the crumbles makes it easy to tune out the track. However, there are certain surges that enhance the listening experience.

Track three barrels in with a loud and pounding static wave, a jarring switch from the quieter sounds of the previous wall. This is all crunch and bass; huge waves of static churn as a background rumble drones continuously with the same pitch and timbre. This is my favorite cut of the set, completely destructive but harnessing that static goodness so well. Turn it up loud and enjoy the abrasion of the heart attack bass and the explosion of static.

And with track four we’re back to a quieter, more reserved wall. Again, it’s not as interesting to me as Ghost’s harsher stuff on this disc, but it’s certainly unlike all the other tracks here. Instead, we’ve got a zipline of static, sort of like Velcro constantly being torn from its partner piece, and a churning of stable rumbles behind it. Occasionally a bass crackle will thud into the mix, giving the whole thing a random and off-kilter jive, but for the most part it’s just the subtle sounds of zipper static driving this wall.

Though the reserved walls are less enduring for me than the thick ones, this first release from Slow Death and Ghost is incredibly good HNW material. Packaging is a definite plus, but for me, the standard for walls has been set very high here, and the incredible bass sound is meant for loud listening. Absolutely recommended for wall fanatics, especially those that enjoy only subtle shifts in sound over long periods of time.

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