Space is an undervalued attribute in music. The ability to let a sequence breath without becoming stale challenges artists frequently, and many fail.
Forest Swords has made a career of being able to craft songs oozing with tension, repetition and a precarious sparsity that leaves listeners always finishing with more questions than answers.
Ambiguity creates fear, inevitably developing into tension – The Highest Flood draws on this structure and takes the listener to the darkest depths in a track which aims to form a cycle of confusion.
Vocal loops hold the key to creating the tension within the spaces. Always unconventional, Forest Swords uses vocal samples not to make memorable hooks but to create an atmosphere.
The sombre tone of the horns cautiously entering as the percussion sets a minimal pace allows the chopped, muffled and skewed vocals samples to create an existential feel – an image of a dead body being aware of its own burial.
Drawing upon the bare-bones nature dub, the minimalist tension of The Haxan Cloak and the surrealist nature of Fatima Al Qadiri, Forest Swords has stripped back the electronic swagger of Engravings and forged a sound with a more organic sentiment.
Previous Forest Swords songs had a swagger that was comparable to a RZA production, you could picture Ghostface Killah or Raekwon laying a verse on several songs found on Engravings and Dagger Paths. Yet The Highest Flood would rather disorientate the listener, throw them in the pit and develop an existential crisis within the spaces of the music.