Forest Swords’ debut album, Engravings is out today on Tri Angle Records.In a recent interview feature with Spin, Barnes discusses his interest in refining the ideas he started on Dagger Paths, focusing on streamlining and articulating them on his debut full length offering. The result is an a collection of songs with elements like guitar lines featured “more prominently and mechanized beats more pronounced, echoing throughout the caverns Barnes has carved.” Barnes tells Spin that he recorded the album at home, then mixed the album outdoors which is located about 20 minutes outside of Liverpool, in a very coastal area of the UK called the Wirral Peninsula. The windy region is defined by lots of beaches, sandstone and woodland, and Barnes consciously tried to incorporate those physical elements into the sound of the record, “reflecting them in sound and texture and melody.”
Forest Swords debut album, Engravings, is out today on Tri Angle Records The project of the Merseyside, UK native Matthew Barnes, Forest Swords crept into the underground consciousness in 2009 with the release of acclaimed EP Dagger Paths (Olde English Spelling Bee/No Pain In Pop) – a record so eerie and expansive that it touched on both Ennio Morricone and early Massive Attack, while still sounding resolutely unique.
Subsequently battling hearing problems, Barnes was forced to take a break from his own music, returning to his work as a designer and artist. In the ensuing period, he completed sound commissions for art festivals (including a piece involving tracks cut on disintegrating x-ray film dubplates; new Forest Swords compositions heard in public just once); lent his skills to other artists, including co-writing and production for How To Dress Well (“Cold Nites,” from his recent album Total Loss) and NYC rap youngster Haleek Maul; and released tracks made with German fine artist Otto Baerst online under the Dyymond of Durham moniker.
Slowly but surely, Barnes started work back on his Forest Swords project with a clear vision and renewed passion. Unwilling to spend long amounts of time in a studio, he looked around his own environment for inspiration.
Debut album Engravings is the sound of his home peninsula of the Wirral, a stone’s throw from Liverpool, a place imbued with spirit and history (“Thor’s Stone” takes its title from a local slab of sandstone, said to be used for Norse god sacrifices by Viking settlers). Completed over the course of the year, Barnes mixed the entire record outdoors in the Wirral countryside on his laptop: as such, Engravings is a record that feels as exposed and organic as his immediate environment; beaches and bark, sand and soil.
Forest Swords’ debut album Engravings is out now on Tri Angle Records.
Engravings Tracklisting /
02. Thor’s Stone
03. Irby Tremor
05. The Weight Of Gold
06. Anneka’s Battle
07. An Hour
09. The Plumes
10. Friend, You Will Never Learn
UK & European Tour Dates /