Forest Swords Returns With ‘Thor’s Stone,’ a Wondrous Ball of Beat-Addled Mud
U.K. recluse Matt Barnes shares surprise "ancient grinds"
Forest Swords is Liverpool recluse Matt Barnes, a producer specializing in “ancient grinds” who caught some fame (and a Big Pink remix) two years ago before disappearing entirely. But though the man nearly gave up making music, as he recently told Seven Streets, he has been quietly busy over the last year — not only crafting a brand new album, but making far-out beats for the likes of A$AP Rocky and Haleek Maul, and lending a hand on How to Dress Well’s Total Loss. Barnes at last has a new song of his own to share, and it’s perfectly in line with the promise of his Dagger Paths EP. “Thor’s Stone” walks a very thin line between hip-hop instrumental and left-field rock drone, tapping into something elemental as it plods its way through a verdant, earthen series of sounds. Sure, there are shimmering keyboards, distorted vocals, and recognizable drums, but the entire mix gloms together like a big ball of leaf-coated mud.