Forest Swords, the project of English
electronic dubstep artist
Matthew Barnes, debuted with the EP
Dagger Paths (No Pain In Pop, 2010).
Miarches is an ecosystem in evolution, as the jarring digital soundscape
with stuttering beats and bursts of effeminate vocals, gives rise to an anthemic guitar riff.
The reliance on a sloppy lo-fi slocore production and on a collage-srt of
composition is even more evident in the
eight-minute Hoylake Misst whose hypnotic guitar riff succumbs to
shamanic voices, burbling sound effects,
voodoo drums that get increasingly booming,
and grotesque trombone-like electronic melodies.
On the other hand,
Visits is the dubstep equivalent of a garage-rock rave-up,
all muffled and slowed down.
At the other (liquefied) end of the spectrum
Glory Gongs exhales
spaghetti-western licks in an orgy of acid reverbs.
Engravings (Tri Angle, 2013) is a vastly more cinematic work.
Ljoss pivots around a Ennio Morricone-style spaghetti-western theme. The
multi-exotic fantasia Thor's Stone harks back to the "transglobal dance" movement of the 1990s (Transglobal Underground, Loop Guru, Banco De Gaia, TUU).
The film-noir soundtracks of the 1960s reawaken in Irby Tremor, merely
coupled with a pulsating funk line.
Some of the "fusion" experiments are cute, like
The Weight of Gold:
Chinese-tinged zither melody, gloomy voodoo drumbeat and dub psychedelia.
But too many ideas, while intriguing, don't seem fulfilled, from the
vocal puzzle of Gathering to the
shamanic invocation The Plumes.
It takes forever for Onward to get started, and, when it does, it simply
hums a romantic melody. Closer Friend You Will Never Learn is a
nostalgic Afro-dub adagio that perhaps summarizes Barnes' retro philosophy.
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