Fresh Stream



Engravings starts with what sounds like a row of eerily quivering pianos lining a darkened hallway. As one continues to inhabit the sonic landscape of Forest Swords‘ brilliant 2013 LP, more mysterious and surreal images present themselves almost effortlessly. Matthew Barnes creates sounds that shimmer and reflect in dank, eerie darkness. The dankness comes from Engravings‘ spiritual and sonic relationship with dub and hip-hop, but the world it unfolds before is surely new and kind of unsettling. There’s a definite narrative arc to the mainly instrumental music, as Barnes manages to channel both the dynamic and succinct success of DJ Shadow’s eternal Entroducing… while at the same time creating something truly unique. Vocal samples sometimes make appearances, but when they do they’re muffled and distorted, echoing off into the established abyss, calling to mind the soothing rhythms and mysterious dread of dub. The interweaving of genres is seamless, a deep and fluid river that slows and pools and branches off into streams and brooks, tapping into post-rock and other electronic territory. Engravings is an immediate, instantly agreeable work of art that should stand the test of time.

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