Tuesday 5 September 2023



'The Low' cuts a mysterious figure. From the outset it's a cavalcade of metallophonic glonking, bone-rattling clacks, rusted but razor sharp hi-hat sheafings and thumping distorted tambor booms to keep time. A druidic ritual crossed with a downtempo warehouse number, this altered beast of trip hop crouches loaded with potential to pounce at any moment.

Vocals rise up, plucked from the air and woven throughout the bristling beats like a sea breeze blowing through craggy sea stacks and yawning arches. But in a triumph of dynamism, rather than trail off like a will-o'-the-wisp the phantom noise is cut short, suddenly revealing once more the silence and scratch of the song. (In fact, the whole thing is truncated, snipped at the end into a full-stop).

Add to this a skirling, distorted call of distorted brass proportions — how you might imagine a carnyx to sound — and there is urgency here, but a fogged ancient urgency, like a message from the actual earth, but summoned in a Liverpool warehouse by Forest Swords.

  • 🔔 It's official: there's a new Forest Swords album coming out. It's called Bolted and it's arriving 20th October via Ninja Tune; you can pre-order it on Bandcamp now digitally, on vinyl, CD and cassette. 'The Low' follows previous single 'Butterfly Effect', also taken from the upcoming album.

    Forest Swords (aka Matthew Barnes) explains that it's "based on a beat I’d originally intended for Yoko Ono." It's an important track, too, and "features elements I made both at the start and end of the album," he says, "so ties together a lot of the sounds and emotions I was exploring during the writing process."

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