(New Album Review) Black Spring & The Engineer Split

The newly-birthed Monocreo Records have certainly done their part to showcase the dyed-in-the-wool gloomy outsider emotionalism of English experimental music with their new split cassette from the noise outfit Black Spring and the one-man project The Engineer (Harry Taylor of the no-wave influenced noise collective Action Beat), both hailing from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. Two extended pieces, Spring’s “East of the Body’s Hum” and Engineer’s “An Evening in with…the Engineer!”, make up this unpleasantly beautiful foray into lo-fi experimental music at the crossroads of post-punk and noise.

With its inexplicably grim, faded cover photograph of middle class smiles, and the brief interludes of pointed lyrics of urban decay from both halves, the split comes off as something of a bitter postcard from the ghosts of another time– misplaced but not forgotten yet. For the most part, both halves focus on distorted, raw, ebbing electronic textures that evoke ruined utopian dreams, scaling visceral heights of destruction before beginning their slow descent into uneasy silence. What’s more, the dingy lullaby for ukulele, female voice, and the impassive baritone of The Engineer that concludes Side B is simultaneously a surreal detour worthy of the best moments of Nurse With Wound and a fittingly bittersweet farewell to all that.

There can be beauty in bleak moments…here’s hoping you don’t let this one pass you by.

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