Friday, 7 June 2013

FOREST SWORDS THOR'S STONE

Well well well. Well well well well well. I never knew that I would hear anything more from Forest Swords ever since I first stumbled upon their minimalist reverb-guitared sparse and tribal nocturnal soundtracks to various spooky landscapes. Why? I think because it was so strange that they would most likely stay obscure. It seemed, by their very sound, that they wanted to stay obscure. I keep saying "they", but I really don't know the number of people involved in Forest Swords. Cool name though eh? All I know is that they come from the Wirral (peninsula in north west England) and Liverpool - maybe there's more than one person after all.

But! Obviously! They're here. On their SoundCloud there is a two year gap between the first song they added, 'Miarches' - the kind of sound that I described above, creeping and hidden - and their newest song 'Thor's Stone'. Now, those two years have definitely made a difference because now there is a very big difference in sound. There is more layering, more production, more texture. Take a listen or have a listen or in some way get the sound of this song into your ears.

What is still there in the sound of Forest Swords is the spooky quality, a dark vibe that seems to have matured over time from something hidden into something now in full view. With deep, near-foghorn bass and light drums the song grinds along, introducing different layers over its duration, tinkering hi-hats and barely-noticeable high-pitch noises. Around halfway through, a wooden flute of some sort takes centre stage (could be a shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute), sounding very cool in the stillness between the drums. That part is downright dirty - durty even.

Stabs of sound crash, the hi-hats roll, the beat grows and a snare smash gives itself to the noise of the song. Bright and frantic vocal samples rise up towards the end, culminating in a turntably reversal of sound. It is experimental in essence, and something that by the very nature of the nomenclature, with things like "Forest" and "Thor's Stone", seems to actually be quite close to nature, or at least, perhaps, to an unseen, occultist part of nature that has yet to be set to music. Well, until now. And the only drawback - and indeed the only bridge to realising that sound - is imagination. Forest Swords definitely seem to have a lot of that.

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