Music: Forest Swords – Compassion (Ninja Tune, 2017)

After two great predecessor records from 2010 and 2013, Liverpool producer Matthew Barnes returns with a new one and his label debut on Ninja Tune. His critically acclaimed last effort “Engravings” released on London based electronic label Triangle Records. It is also the home of artists like Haxan Cloak, Holy Other and Balam Acab.

The incluences of Matthew Barns alias Forest Swords are complex. Some elements comes from dubstep and others could be fragments of world music. Back in 2010 american online magizine Pitchfork Media compares Barns alongside to artists like James Blake, Mount Kimbie, Burial or Four Tet. “Comapssion” represents the next step of evolution in his discography. It starts with the intese opener track “War It” and his distorted atmosphere until the drums kicks in to force the rhythm. The follow on track “The Highest Flood” takes away the pressure and plays with voice samples. This track could be a great sample for a typically Forest Swords track. “Panic” shines with his fantastic horn and triangle intro. It sounds beautiful and frightening at the same time and the voice samples provides the rest. But Barns is a master of samples distortion. “Exalter” is one of the best examples. This track is catchy and unsteady at the same time. All in one you can hear in almost every track a mystical touch. Also on “Compassion’s” first sinlge track “Arms Out”. It’s the only track on the record with truly voice acting. At the end “Raw Language” rises the tempo and rhythm again until “Knife Edge” fades out in beautifully piano driven outro. There is no doubt that “Compassion” is his most completed work until now.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Dominik Scheuring

I'm living and working in Hamburg, Germany. My interests are all about music, movies, and traveling. I also do some typical sport activities like fitness, running and swimming.

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