A few years ago, the hitherto unknown King Biscuit Time released 'I Walk The Earth'; a stunning mix of hip-hop beats, a memorable tune and an inspired vocal contribution from The Beta Band's Steve Mason. With this in mind, Mason's decision to concentrate on this detour seems a thoroughly sensible move. On opening track 'CIAM15', he makes a convincing case for the white hip-hop frontman, 'Kwangchow' is a rousing, positive single whilst ''Rising Son' - helped along by some ethereal backing vocals - should surely be the next choice for a 7" cut. Yet Mason's vocals work just as well when they sound more troubled; as evinced on the danceable but misery tinged 'Izzum' whilst 'Way You Walk' is a return to the Beta Band at their most haunting. So, although it's a little uneven in places, 'Black Gold' is a side project worth taking seriously.