Engravings (album)

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Forest Swords Engravings Album.jpg
Studio album by
Released26 August 2013
GenreExperimental, electronic, dub
LabelTri Angle Records
ProducerMatthew Barnes
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Resident Advisor(9/10)[3]
Pitchfork Media(8.5/10)[4]
The Guardian(4/5)[5]

Engravings is the debut album by Forest Swords, released through Tri Angle Records on 26 August 2013.


The album release was announced when the artist posted "The Weight of Gold" track to his Soundcloud page on 18 July 2013, and it was named Best New Track by Pitchfork Media.[7] Previously, "Thor's Stone" had been shared in June 2013 but without mention of the album release.[8]

Engravings was nominated in the 'Best Albums of 2013' by Wire Magazine, Pitchfork,[9] Stereogum,[10] Clash Magazine,[11] FILTER,[12] Dummy,[13] Bleep,[14] Tiny Mix Tapes,[15] Norman Records,[16] Piccadilly Records,[17] Rate Your Music,[18] eMusic,[12] Rhapsody,[19] and Album of the Year.[20]

The album cover artwork - designed by Barnes - was nominated for the award 'Best Art Vinyl 2013',[21] and in Pitchfork's top 25 album covers of 2013.[22]

The video for "Thor's Stone" was directed by Dave Ma and was online in September 2013, featuring Spanish dancer Guzman Rosado.[23]

A video for "The Weight of Gold" directed by French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied was posted online in February 2014, featuring dancer Billy Barry.[24]

A remix of Engravings lead track "Thor's Stone" by dub artist Lee Scratch Perry was posted online in November 2013.[25]


Uniquely, the album was mixed on headphones outdoors on Thurstaston Hill in The Wirral, which the artist credits as giving the album a natural and atmospheric sound.[26]

The recording of the album was only possible in short bursts as the artist was affected by hearing problems, which both delayed the completion of the album and contributed to the minimal nature of the arrangements.[27]

Brighton, UK vocalist Anneka provides vocals on the "Anneka's Battle" track.[28]

Track listing[edit]

  1. Ljoss 5:19
  2. Thor's Stone 4:31
  3. Irby Tremor 4:11
  4. Onward 5:40
  5. The Weight of Gold 5:04
  6. An Hour 5:02
  7. Anneka's Battle 4:09
  8. Gathering 4:59
  9. The Plumes 3:40
  10. Friend, You Will Never Learn 8:12


The album received strong critical reviews on release, with Pitchfork Media naming it as Best New Music and saying it inhabits a "unique emotional space".[29]

Publication Rating Quotes
Clash 9/10 "Mood-manifesting music of exceptional quality and, crucially, heart"[30]
Mixmag 4.5/5 Mixmag 'Album of the Month' & "One of the most inventive albums of the year" [6]
Resident Advisor 9/10 "A full tour of a hidden place he only let us peek at before, a place that's even more breathtaking than 'Dagger Paths' made it out to be." [28]
Pitchfork 8.5 (Best New Music) "Every song is boldly sensual, and each note has a distinct emotional hue. Mixing that intensity with dream-like atmospheres lands Engravings in a unique emotional space" [29]
The Guardian 4/5 "Singular and hopelessly gorgeous, the kind of beauty that sees you playing it, and only it, for the next three weeks." [31]
Electronic Beats - "Contains some of the most beautiful compositions to ever defy genre." [32]
This Is Fake D.I.Y. 9/10 "Manages to make electronic music feel tactile, organic, and alive" [33]
Music OMH 9/10 "Engravings stands as a significant work. It’s an album that has facets from across the spectrum of experimental electronic music but, in the hands of the masterful sonic auteur Matthew Barnes, Forest Swords’ music sounds triumphantly singular. This is a very special album." [34]
The 405 8.5/10 "All across the UK at the moment there's an incredible number of talented solo producers/musicians working to provide us with fantastic music - right now though, there can be few projects better or more ambitious than Forest Swords" [35]
The Line of Best Fit 8.5/10 "It’s a sonic exploration that... takes physical elements and visualises them in another manner. And it sounds incredible." [36]
Drowned in Sound 8/10 "With references to house, dub, and instrumental rock all stitched together into a looping, building tapestry that manages to be both visually and emotionally evocative, this is certainly an album that will keep your interest long into the next fad"[37]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4.5/5 "Engravings, his first full-length, evokes a grayness of place so completely that it is utter, that there is no there there because there is only there there." [38]
Consequence Of Sound 4/5 "Engravings, isn’t solely inspired by present aspects like today’s weather; instead, it’s a blend of the modern prevalence of dub and the harsh mysteries of Norse invasions in England’s distant past." [39]
Time Out 4/5 "‘Engravings’ is a complex, quietly beautiful record, borrowing from shadowy hip hop, glitchy R&B, dubstep, post-rock guitars and breakbeats." [40]
The Skinny 8/10 "With traces of hip-hop, folk and shoegaze in its musical DNA, the album references populist musical forms while journeying in spectral, undiscovered sonic realms".[41]
Loud & Quiet 8/10 "As refreshingly organic, slow paced and engulfing as the Wirral peninsula where Barnes' debut album was created"[42]
Dummy 8/10 "A sound with unique ties to space and place"[43]
FACT 4/5 "If Dagger Paths was a revelation, Engravings is a refinement, long to arrive but worth the wait."[44]
Stereogum - Album of the Week [45]
REDEFINE magazine + "Engravings inhabits the spaces we’ve left behind, pooling the essence of detritus together in celebration of the act of being... it all culminates in an utterly gorgeous and unique vision that combines modern technology and organic material as both means and message."[46]
hhv.de Mag 9/10 It’s one of the records of the year.[47]


  1. ^ "Engravings - Forest Swords". AllMusic.
  2. ^ "Clash review".
  3. ^ "Resident Advisor review".
  4. ^ "Pitchfork Media review".
  5. ^ "The Guardian review".
  6. ^ a b Mixmag, August 2013
  7. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/15752-forest-swords-the-weight-of-gold/
  8. ^ http://pitchfork.com/news/51062-listen-forest-swords-thors-stone/
  9. ^ http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/9293-the-top-50-albums-of-2013/2/
  10. ^ http://www.stereogum.com/1567541/the-50-best-albums-of-2013/list/attachment/forestswords_engravings/
  11. ^ http://www.clashmusic.com/features/clashs-top-albums-of-2013-30-21
  12. ^ a b http://filtermagazine.com/index.php/news/entry/filters_top_10_of_2013_staff_picks
  13. ^ http://www.dummymag.com/lists/the-20-best-albums-of-2013
  14. ^ https://bleep.com/the-top-ten-albums-of-the-year-2013
  15. ^ http://www.tinymixtapes.com/features/2013-favorite-50-albums-of-2013?page=4
  16. ^ "Norman Records".
  17. ^ "Piccadilly Records".
  18. ^ "Rate Your Music". Archived from the original on 2013-11-26.
  19. ^ http://www.rhapsody.com/blog/post/top-25-electronic-albums-of-2013
  20. ^ "Album of the Year".
  21. ^ http://www.bestartvinyl.com/nominees.html
  22. ^ http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/9275-the-top-25-album-covers-of-2013/
  23. ^ http://www.nowness.com/day/2013/9/27/3361/forest-swords-thor-s-stone
  24. ^ http://www.nowness.com/day/2014/2/20/3688/forest-swords-the-weight-of-gold
  25. ^ "Listen: Lee "Scratch" Perry Remixes Forest Swords' "Thor's Stone" | News". Pitchfork. 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  26. ^ http://thequietus.com/articles/13256-forest-swords-interview-engravings
  27. ^ http://www.thefader.com/2013/08/28/interview-forest-swords/#ixzz2l6MSYFwV
  28. ^ a b http://www.residentadvisor.net/review-view.aspx?id=13531
  29. ^ a b http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/18401-forest-swords-engravings/
  30. ^ http://www.clashmusic.com/reviews/forest-swords-engravings
  31. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/aug/25/forest-swords-engravings-review
  32. ^ http://www.electronicbeats.net/en/features/reviews/post-post-positive-daniel-jones-on-forest-swords-engravings/
  33. ^ http://www.thisisfakediy.co.uk/articles/albums/forest-swords-engravings/
  34. ^ http://www.musicomh.com/reviews/albums/forest-swords-engravings
  35. ^ http://thefourohfive.com/review/article/forest-swords-engravings
  36. ^ http://thelineofbestfit.com/reviews/albums/forest-swords-engravings-135185
  37. ^ http://drownedinsound.com/releases/17809/reviews/4146768
  38. ^ http://www.tinymixtapes.com/music-review/forest-swords-engravings
  39. ^ http://consequenceofsound.net/2013/08/album-review-forest-swords-engravings/
  40. ^ http://www.timeout.com/london/music/forest-swords-engravings-album-review
  41. ^ http://www.theskinny.co.uk/music/records/305236-forest_swords_engravings
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-13. Retrieved 2013-10-09.
  43. ^ http://www.dummymag.com/reviews/forest-swords-engravings-review
  44. ^ http://www.factmag.com/2013/08/22/forest-swords-engravings/
  45. ^ http://www.stereogum.com/1450132/album-of-the-week-forest-swords-engravings/franchises/album-of-the-week/
  46. ^ http://www.redefinemag.com/2013/forest-swords-engravings-album-review-tri-angle-records/
  47. ^ http://www.hhv-mag.com/en/review/5427/forest-swords-engravings