It's almost as though I have a subscription to Discus: once I every year I take advantage of the Three-CDs-for-£21 deal. This album is one third of this year's order, received about ten weeks ago. The packaging of the recent releases has really gone up a step, making them feel even better value.
I ordered Ghosts of Gold out of curiosity augmented by good review notices. I was intrigued at how Martin Archer should come to collaborate with Julie Tippetts. I know Tippetts' recent work mostly be reputation — I'm more familiar with her stuff as Julie Driscoll, which I've heard she more or less disowns now — plus a Jazz on 3 broadcast last year.
Now that I've heard the album, which comprises Julie performing some of her poetry in settings provided by Martin, my guess is that it maybe grew out of Angel High Wires, where Martin did something similar with Geraldine Monk. I haven't bought that album, mainly because I saw Geraldine performing some of her poetry in Sheffield in the late eighties and early nineties, and it wasn't really my thing.
To be candid, poetry isn't really my thing, full stop. That's both an over-generalisation and an admission of fairly gross failure on my part, but there you go. So to begin with this album had me wishing I could hear Martin's settings without that which they set. Something about the delivery of the words just seemed too portentous and self-important. But by Track 4, Run Another Road, I thought, "This isn't too bad, actually". And I kept feeling that, especially with the instrumental The Brink and the wonderful rumble of Rainsong.
I start seeing connections with other items in my collection: placing Ghosts of Gold somewhere between Nicola Walker Smith's Garden and Penny Rimbaud's Acts of Love with occasional hits of recent David Sylvian. Thus it joins the ranks of interesting curios — albums that I don't quite get but remain intrigued by — along with several others (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Anyway, I couldn't possibly end on a negative note, in case Martin reads this.
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