In 2010 Forest Swords, the musical guise of Matt Barnes, introduced his unique and highly evocative sound with the release of his debut EP ‘Dagger Paths’. Developing a word of mouth, cult following, the release was critically lauded upon, landing positions on numerous ‘Best of’ lists that year. Heralded as an artist on the rise with big things ahead of him, Forest Swords took his newfound interest and for very personal reasons did what many artists wouldn’t have done in his position; he practically vanished. Now over 3 years later Tri Angle is ecstatic to announce his return with the release of his debut album; ‘Engravings’.As a lifelong resident of the windswept, bleakly beautiful Wirral Peninsula in the north of England, Forest Swords’ surroundings have always tended to be his biggest inspiration and that love affair continues to flourish on ‘Engravings’, Barnes even opting to mix the entire record on the beaches of this battered coastline on his laptop. The results are heavy and triumphant, euphoric and yet touched by a distinct world-weariness. Engravings is an expansive and truly original fusion of rattling dub rhythms, chiming guitar, blunted hip hop beats, and vocals that sound as if they’re emanating from decades old gospel recordings.
In 2011 with the release of his debut, self titled album, The Haxan Cloak, solo project of multi instrumentalist, Bobby Krlic, appeared seemingly out of nowhere with an impressively fully formed sound that blew away most anyone who heard it. Recorded over the space of 3 years The Haxan Cloak was a wildly ambitious fusion of malevolent strings, junkyard found-sounds and primitive percussion. In the two years since the release of his debut, Krlic relocated to London and began working on it’s epic follow up, and Tri Angle Records debut; Excavation
Bolstered by the concept he was developing for his follow up and a desire to challenge himself into new terrains, Krlic has evolved his sound to incorporate more of his electronic influences. The result is an album awash with serrated beats and cavernous sub-bass, meshing with the classical drones and ghostly details The Haxan Cloak fans will have already been accustomed to. Whereas The Haxan Cloak was a dense, and at times, suffocating listen, Excavation finds Krlic confidently adopting a more minimalist approach, experimenting with space and silence without forsaking any of the intensity that made his debut such a powerful statement of intent.
In the past, trying to pin down Vessel's constantly evolving sound has never been an easy task and with the release of his debut album it's become a whole lot harder. In the past 12 months, Vessel, AKA 22-year-old Sebastian Gainsborough, has been introducing people to his sound via a series of 12" releases on a number of forward thinking underground labels with each release confounding the expectations of those trying to get a grasp on what exactly he was doing. Order of Noise is the culmination of his first exploratory steps as an artist, and the album Tri Angle Records believed Vessel was building up to. It signals the arrival of an innovative and intensely unique, young, electronic producer who has developed a sound that still has the potential to confuse and confound, but one that is now identifiable as being very much his own.
Using techno and house as a jumping off point, Vessel manages to twist these things into something unconventional and alien, often creating music that sounds as if it's rhythmically out of control when in fact it's all tightly controlled chaos. It's a testament to Vessel's talent how he manages to rein all his ideas and sound in with so much thoughtful precision.
*Gatefold Sleeve - Includes Download redeemable from the label* 'Held' is the eagerly anticipated debut from one of the jewels in Tri Angle's crown, Manchester's own Holy Other. It's not any kind of departure from last year's striking With U 12", but a subtle refinement of its themes: the same quietly anguished, crepuscular vibe reigns, and virtually every sonic element - from Burial-esque vocal clips to the synth pads, hell, even the drums - seems to sigh. For all their DNA-level foundation in US hip-hop/R&B and British soundsystem music, the crashing waves of 'Tense Past' and the magnificent 'Love Some1' owe as much to the airy gothic grandeur of This Mortal Coil as they do to, say, Keyboard Kid or Clams Casino. On the rather more lithe, club-attuned 'Inpouring', the clicky, scuttling drum patterns deftly summon UK garage and the taut d'n'b minimalism of Instra:mental's mid-decade work, while 'U Now''s teasing suggestion of a footwork riddim opens up more space for yet more melancholy drift. Subdued, heartbroken and drug-hazed, this is perhaps one of the most satisfying iterations of the Tri Angle aesthetic yet, and an impressive statement in its own right.
AlunaGeorge are everything that's great about British music right now. Taking the boom and glitch of British bass culture and allying it to the slick sweetness of classic American SWV or Destiny's Child-style R&B, singer Aluna Francis and producer George Reid have captured the attention of futuristic pop heads across the blogosphere with the most immediately arresting combination of a singer and producer since Timbaland first pulled up a studio chair for Missy Elliot.
With the release of this, their debut EP, the duo have gotten off to an amazing start having been profiled in Spin, The New York Times and Pitchfork's Rising Column, as well as the attracting rave reviews across the board. They've commonly been discussed in relation to the likes of Grimes and Purity Ring as left-of-center pop artists beginning to come through and have an influence on the industry as a whole. They've recently toured with Friends and Friendly Fires (who they've also been collaborating with), and they've made high profile festival appearances at Bestival, The Great Escape, Wireless, with their debut US dates imminent.