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Album Review

by Forest Swords

Tri-Angle Records

Review Date
14th October 2013
Reviewed by
Martyn Pepperell

Three years after his initial burst of critically loved EPs for No Pain In Pop and Olde English Spelling Bee, English producer Forest Swords (Matthew Barnes) returns with Engravings, his debut album.

Released via the equally critically loved Tri-Angle Records, Engravings finds Forest Swords folding together musical motifs and gestures drawn from the spaghetti western soundtracks of Ennio Morricone and the slanted US art-RnB of the late 90s/early 2000s, while also paying homage to post-punk, shoegaze rock, experimental composition, non-western folk music and dub production techniques. Tying these pieces together with the same effortless cool that underscored this earlier works.

'Irby Tremor', 'The Weight Of Gold' and 'Annekas Battle' recall the middle eastern melodies and skipping syncopated drum patterns privileged by Timbaland during his genius era. 'Onward' and 'An Hour' connect with the hauntological as-heard-through-the-wall sound associated with Burial and Ghost Box Records. 'Gathering' matches multiple interlocking vocal snippets against pulsing bass, in the process reminding us that repetition is a form of change.

Forest Swords strongest statement to date, Engravings clearly reasserts his creative importance within the contemporary music landscape.


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