Arms Out

Back in 2013 Forest Swords, a one man producer from Wirral, put out an album called Engravings which I really enjoyed (and digging further back an ep called Dagger Paths). He’s back with a new song and a new album in May (Compassion). Arms Out is a bit of a stunner….

I think it’s fair to say there’s a certain amount of Massive Attack in it but it has an optimism that’s sometimes missing from the Bristolians and those strings over those beats with the delay on the snatches of voice are pretty breathtaking.

Working backwards there was another new one at the start of March, The Highest Flood, more abstract sounds, fractured drums and suddenly some choral voices. All very intriguing, and while sounding very urban its all a bit pastoral too. Wirral is one of those kind of in-between places, surrounded by sea on three sides and with a bigger, more famous neighbour across the Mersey- maybe that’s whats coming out in the music. May looks like being an expensive month.

Thor’s Stone

One of last year’s most adventurous and dark albums came from Forest Swords, a resident of deepest Wirral. This Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry remix doesn’t make things any less dark or less weird than what you can find on the Engravings lp but it adds a certain something and dubs it up fine style. ‘I hate evil energy’ says Lee at the start. Thirty seconds later the bass kicks in and Lee’s still chuntering over the digital rhythms, ghostly backing vocals and bubbling synths. Very, very good. Addictive. The Soundcloud player won’t embed, listen to it here.

The original sounds like this…

Thor’s Stone

Thor’s Stone, picture at the top, is a rocky sandstone outcrop on Thurstaston Common, in the Wirral- supposedly with links back to Viking ceremonies.

Weirdness From The Wirral

I was listening to a new mix by Bagging Area’s unofficial sponsor and sartorial guide Andrew Weatherall last night, a mix he did for Heavenly Records which you can find here-

I wasn’t going to include the link- I’ve followed my own unwritten rule of just posting one track per blogpost so far, and Acid Ted featured this link and another one a few days ago, but what the heck.

Two things stood out- firstly there’s an unreleased Weatherall dub of Alice Gold which fits in very nicely with all those other dubs he’s done recently. I hope someone at Rotters Golf Club is planning to stick them out as an album. Secondly, the opening track is deeply weird and very good. Forest Swords are a one man producer/band, unknown to me before hearing this mix from Audrey. Now I’m addicted to it. Ambient sounds with dub basslines and space, Ennio Morricone’s twangy guitar, and tons of atmospherics and reverb. Spooky, interesting, odd and very good, this is Glory Gongs by Forest Swords. Well worth checking out I think.

4 – Glory Gongs.mp3