Dagger Paths, the debut EP from Liverpudlian producer Forest Swords, was met with incredible critical acclaim when it was released back in 2010, receiving many accolades not to mention being named FACT Magazine’s no.1 album of the year. Forest Swords is the project of Wirral-dwelling Matthew Barnes and this record became synonymous with a new age of genre-defying music, even micro-genres such as chillwave and witch house failed to really nail down the sonic universe he created. Barnes’ music is nostalgic and dreamlike but deceptively so, the layering and reverb create mesmerising atmospheres however the tracks remain as intimate and personal as a solo pianist in an empty opera house.
“The Weight Of Gold” is the second single from Forest Swords’ follow-up record Engravings, which is due out on August 26th through Tri Angle Records. The track features much of the same nostalgic elements as seen before, commencing with a series of pitched fog horns punctuating the seaside ambience. 30 seconds in we are introduced to the chromatic guitar riff which scratches away at your eardrums in a way that is so rhythmic and hypnotic that it asks the question of whether anything else is necessary at all. The drum beat that shortly enters is an assembled set of dark, break-beat samples which never settle on any form of regular timing pattern.
The track features a commonly used instrument of Barnes’ and that is the overtly distorted and delayed vocal yearning, manipulated to the extent that it becomes completely illiterate. To begin with this works to aid the ambience but becomes far more overpowering as the record continues, adding to the haunting and distressing feel that remains one of the most awe-inspiring qualities of not just this record but his whole discography to date.