Following acclaimed albums on Ninja Tune and Tri Angle, soundtrack and installation work, and remixes of the likes of Bjork, Forest Swords has curated a 27-track compilation that draws a line between past inspirations and his current peers.
“My favourite nights when I was younger, there wasn’t really a focus on etiquette; sticking to genres, perfect transitions – it was all pretty DIY, like having someone cook up their personal mixtape in front of you, just to share music between people” says Barnes. “John Peel’s eclectic radio show made a huge impact on me growing up, so that kind of personal, instinctive approach to selecting tracks always felt more exciting than something that was sterile and seamless. I wanted to carry some of that spirit into this compilation.”
Like much of his own output, Forest Swords’ DJ-Kicks dances around pristine electronics to embrace more organic textures: 80s post punk (Anna Domino, Dead Can Dance), classic 90s British electronica (Orbital, Mira Calix, Disjecta), and smokey digi-dub (Rhythm & Sound), all rub up alongside some of the most forward-facing producers working today (Demdike Stare, Laurel Halo) and avant garde explorers (David Toop, Kara-Lis Coverdale).
The compilation shifts through rhythms and emotions: from pop icon Neneh Cherry’s primal thudding to the zombified throb of exclusive Forest Swords track ‘Crow’, via Deena Abdelwaheed’s clattering deconstructions and the outdoor mountain singing of Ánde Somby. Drawing threads between decades, borders and genres, DJ-Kicks is a collection of tracks that feels as restlessly curious, and crucial, as Barnes’ own work.
The album artwork was designed by Forest Swords himself. It’s out now on 2LP, CD and digital formats.