Gold Beach…

The gold beaches of Australia, or those on America’s West Coast, are only illusions, mirages sent by a twisted phantom. Gold Beach is a case of mistaken identity. The sun doesn’t shine here. It never has.

This beach is only accessible through the creaking of an old, wooden gate, which in turn leads to a pebble-strewn path and the silent, deserted stretch of sand that awaits. Your eyes play tricks on you. In the dark, wet indentations have left scars in the cold, wet sand. They trace an uneven, eerie melody over the beach where beloved names were once written, and the darkness prevents us from seeing the full picture. It’s just a nocturnal glimpse – of one footprint followed by another. Lost children ran around only minutes before. The rise and fall of the music mirrors the shape of the contorted body, its high and wide sand dunes rising in tandem with the rising pitch. Voices occasionally make their way into the music, smoky echoes from afar. Their presence can be felt, but their direction remains unclear.

Rain drips from the sky in a shower of solemnity, the rainy mood tearing itself into reality. Gold Beach has a cold, eerie feel. Its unconfirmed sightings tickle the nape of your neck, just like the ambient classic Stalker (Robert Rich & Lustmord). Spooky strings radiate their strange vibrations, levitating in the night. Gold Beach is a long, continuous walk that starts in the dark and ends in the dark, chilling the skin with its tidal breeze. Light percussive brushes caress the skin, but they vaguely look like long, grassy arms.

Trees crackle and give way, and those laughable urban legends of Bigfoot stalking the woods above take on a little extra life when the echoing cries and faraway calls can’t be discerned or accounted for. But there aren’t any hoaxes out here. Strings jut out of the music like an old, abandoned pier on the waterfront, consumed by a blazing fire more than a decade ago. The strings, although eerie, are a torch in the dim. Thunderous clouds masquerade as fireworks, thumping against the sky. A strange melody begins to crawl its way into the music, a charmed python hypnotized by its unusual, lonely call. A sinister, low drone vibrates underneath, washed up by the contaminated water. It mutates in the sand. Seagulls come to look for scraps of food, scavenging the surface of the oily water, waking the beast.

It’s never clear just what awaits us in this strange place, but the recurring drone is a little dose of familiarity, a wooden signpost that can’t be read in the dark. We’ve been this way before, but it’s phrased slightly differently. The sudden realisation that we have been walking nonsensically in circles is almost too much to bear. Scribbled circles tattoo the soggy, sinking sand; the remains of a sandcastle, or those of a séance in the rain? Insanity works its way into the mind, a spiral forever rooted in the maze. The melody almost chokes, a savage cry that lurks somewhere up ahead.

The rain lashes down, the phantom ushers itself closer.

The beach never used to look like this.

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