Aside from the fact that is he is a graphic designer from Liverpool (the Wirral peninsula to be more precise) not a lot  is known about Matthew Barnes.

He is only prepared to reveal ,for instance, that he is “older than Miley Cyrus and younger than Kirk Douglas”.

Barnes records under the cool name of Forest Swords and is creating quite a buzz with his debut full length Dagger Paths.

He also has the  honour of being the only Englishman on the excellent New York Olde English Spelling Bee label.

His project apparently started out as more of a droney-noise thing, early tracks came out on cassette as a  cheap, practical way of distributing music quickly. Dagger Paths features six tracks, four of which were previously available only on limited edition cassettes. The best track imho is ‘If Your Girl’ which is built around the killer bass line from Aaliyah’s ‘If Your Girl Only Knew

On his MySpace page his music is said to be similar to “river hymns + damp woods + dry leaves + sea winds”. Is this what he means when he says “I’m really interested in music that kind of echoes the environment it was created in”.

Critics thumb desperately through their Thesauri looking for another word for dank, celestial, lush or haunted. Boomkat’s “Grouper jamming with the Velvets down at Tubby’s” is one of the smarter one liners. No one has yet called it ‘hypnagogic Merseybeat’ but it’s probably only a matter of time…..

Personally, I’d place him  somewhere between Dubstep and haunted lo-fi pop. A very nice place to be.

The name of Burial comes up a lot and there is the same claustrophobic quality to Forest Swords but a also hint of something more expansive.

As Barnes says:  “You don’t have to have lots of instruments to make something sound big”

Do yourself a big favour and check out his music NOW.


Forest Swords video trilogy plus one

My Own Kentucky Blog profile of Matthew Barnes

Matthew Barnes interview on Fader

Forest Swords on E-Music