The Katz meow



I think a lot of the time I spend listening to experimental music, I’m either challenging my taste or feeling out what it is I like to begin with.

Matthew Barnes, a Liverpool native under the moniker Forest Swords, is sending me on that trip after washing my opinion of his full length “Engravings” about a handful of times before it even dropped on the 26th of last month.

Though this is only Barnes’ second full length album, Forest Swords has been a familiar name in electronic music for some time due to the groundbreaking success of the 2010 LP “Dagger Paths”.

There’s no instantaneous ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ to be found in “Engravings”, but in the long run this album is profound enough to generate some definitive reactions.

My only real beef with this record comes from a lack of daringness on the part of Barnes. Through one or two listens, rarely did I find the ‘wow.’

I need to start this track over and hear that part again” moments I see in the work of other relevant dub artists like Burial or Four Tet.

There were some underwhelming pieces to the puzzle, but Barnes’ minimalist intentions should be recognized. With a ton of deep, earthy tones, “Engravings” pushes some surprisingly dark and exciting beats.

The typical Forest Swords fan will not be disappointed with this release, and the hype created since “Dagger Paths” substantiates that. Those in the market for a drowsy, laid-back sound, hit up “Engravings,” out now on Tri Angle records.