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Forest Swords

Engravings

Forest Swords
8
From New Jersey cloud rap beat-maker Clams Casino (A$AP Rocky, Lil B, the Weeknd) to Kanye West's newest British charge, Evian Christ (the 24-year-old produced "I'm In It" on this year's Yeezus), NYC-based Tri Angle Records has become part of the vanguard pushing the boundaries of electronic music in its short history as a label. Set to join the ranks is Merseyside, UK resident Matthew Barnes, who finally releases his debut album, after hearing problems kept him sidelined from working on a follow-up to his 2009 EP, Dagger Paths. Much like his labelmates, Barnes's music tends to occupy dark, sometimes claustrophobic spaces that wouldn't feel out of place with rappers rhyming overtop. Recorded in the countryside — "Thor's Stone" is a nod to his hometown's Norse heritage — Engravings sees the artist employing fractured choral voices, militant drums, swirling guitars and the occasional harpsichord (notably on album standout "The Weight of Gold") to create a tapestry of sounds both experimental and organic. When he occasionally allows moments of lightness to shine, like on "Anneka's Song," which sees Brighton's Anneka adding vocals to a bare-bones R&B beat, the effect is akin to the sun breaking through the clouds after a cold winter's day. (Tri Angle)
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