GosT – S/T – Within the synthwave genre, below the streets where outrun races, past mountains of synth, beyond the galaxies of ambient sci-fi sounds, light years past all the nostalgia and kitsch, lies a strange dimension of sound and inner vision. It’s a place beyond normal space and time, reachable only through dreams, inhabited by eloquent and artistic, but supremely evil, beings. This is a place where GosT travels to as regularly as a business traveler might fly from LA to NY, but his business is to bring back artifacts made both of supreme beauty and shrieking terror.
To call this EP another entry into the horror synth subgenre would be an insult to the artist. This is a remarkable achievement in both intensity and atmosphere that evokes equal parts of the sinister supernatural and cold mathematical beauty.
‘Ritual’ begins with hard, grating, glitched synths that quickly shift into glittering melodies. There is little time to catch one’s breath. GosT grabs you by the collar and leaps skyward into both chaos and harmony. ‘Cascade’ sets a more mellow tone, but somewhere around the two minute mark, we are again taken down a considerably darker alley. Quiet, calm moments are a rarity on S/T but they make themselves present at strange but appropriate times. Yes, we are in the shadow of the Valley of Death, but GosT reminds us from time to time that flowers grow here, too.
‘Ascension’ may be my favorite track on this EP because of how pronounced and intense the synthwork is, yet towards the end there’s a brief moment of hopeful serenity. It’s the musical equivalent of being on the run from an unstoppable killer, outrunning him and enjoying a moment of triumph, then returning to despair as you realize he’s still hot on your trail. A similar esthetic can be found on ‘Within’ and ‘Horizon’. If there’s a theme to S/T, it’s that we’re not out of the woods yet, but we ought to enjoy our stay while we’re here, or that evil never dies and when things are at their most peaceful is when it will rear its ugly head again.
Moreover, GosT has mastered both the horror synth sound and also the glitched out retrowave sound. Indeed, he may have combined the two with some strange alchemy and created his own little place in the synth netherworld. It’s the work of both ancient evils and sinister artificial intelligences. It’s like watching Terminator endoskeletons dig themselves out of ancient graves.
I think this unique combination will appeal to people outside of the synthwave community, and no two people will cite the same reason for liking GosT. Sure, there will be common threads but I sense so many different influences in the work and they’re pronounced enough that none of them will go overlooked. S/T as an EP stands out, in my opinion, as a watershed record. It will be one that will be remembered as influential, as part of the movement to bring synthwave into the spotlight. S/T as an experience is both a dream and a nightmare and GosT is the pale and mysterious Sandman that reigns in that dark territory. I can’t recommend it strongly enough…10/10