Forest Swords – Panic

Forest Swords, aka acclaimed Merseyside-based producer Matthew Barnes, returns with Panic, the third track to be lifted from his forthcoming album Compassion, out May 5 via Ninja Tune.

The track journeys between a rumbling cello loop, chiming bells and clattering beat, pulling in a reworked northern soul sample for the track’s ecstatic hook. It is accompanied by a video directed by Barnes and AV collaborator Sam Wiehl, produced by Barnes’ new experimental creative studio Dense Truth.

“Most of the tracks on ’Compassion’ were started in quite a heavy place but all managed to move towards the light the longer I worked on them” says Matthew. “’Panic’ is the point where tension and stress boils over into a sort of euphoria.”

The album will be followed by a set of projects across multiple mediums by Forest Swords’ own Dense Truth, a new experimental studio and record label, including a series of music videos. More details will be announced in the coming months.

Compassion drops May 5 on Ninja Tune. Pre-order here.

Lapalux – Rotted Arp (feat. Louisahhh)

Lapalux will release his third album, Ruinism, on June 30 via Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint. His previous long player, Lustmore was partially inspired by the concept of hypnagogia, a suspension of consciousness occurring between awake and sleep states. Throughout Ruinism the British producer takes this exploration further, journeying into the more ominous limbo between life and death. In this space where the finite and infinite intermingle, Lapalux sounds more at home than ever.

“‘Ruinism’ is a made-up term I use to describe the way in which blended sound palettes and inspirations interact with one another to form this album,” he explains. Using 100% hardware and real instruments for the first time in his career, he recorded synths and drum hits and re-sampled, re-pitched, twisted and blended the sound “until it was ‘ruined’” and then salvaged it again in an attempt to make something coherent.

Lead single Rotted Arp, featuring Louisahhh, imbues this idea more aptly than any other track on the record according to Lapalux. “It sums up the whole idea of this record… having Louisahhh’s vocals made me think of this track as a much more meaningful piece and helped me push it further and further into a developed abstract dance track”.

Ruinism drops on June 30 via Brainfeeder. Pre-order here.

Video: Amber Arcades – Can’t Say That We Tried

Amber Arcades, the moniker of Dutch-born musician Annelotte De Graaf, today shares a video for her current single, Can’t Say That We Tried, taken from the upcoming Cannonball EP, out on June 2 via Heavenly Recordings. The video was directed by Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan.

Annelotte said of the video: “sometimes when I’m bored I just randomly click when I get a notification that someone likes my page. Like a kind of market research I tell myself cos I can’t accept that maybe I’m just a creepy internet stalker yet. This one day I clicked and I came on the Facebook profile of this guy Don and he had a link to his Vimeo page and since I was really bored I clicked further on that and then I saw he made some pretty amazing stuff. I especially liked this video he had made of an aquarium with dreamy fish. The week after my label guy told me it would be good to have a video for this song and I just thought about this fishy video. Like how the fish just float around, not knowing that there is this whole world outside of this aquarium, it’s beautiful but also kind of sad, which is how I feel about this song. So I asked Don if he’d be into making an edit of his material to fit the song and shot some extra footage of me singing the tune to mix up with it. Like Sinead O’Connor vids kinda. I love how it all turned out and I love how the whole thing was kind of born out of a coincidence, like me clicking that notification that time. The magic of this internet world.”

The director said the following: “One morning I woke up to an email from a name that wasn’t familiar to me. Instead of my usual habit of not batting an eye at the emails that pile up each day, I read the message and saw the subject saying “Amber Arcades” and then I just flipped out! I felt honored because I adore her music, and it’s so unlikely that a musician that I place in high regard would send me a message asking me to make a music video for her. It was quite an honor and it’s very cool to see how social media can connect artists globally. Annelotte is very fun to talk to as well! Such a cool and down to earth person.”

Amber Arcades will release their brand new five track EP Cannonball on June 2 via Heavenly Recordings.

The EP was recorded at Strange Weather Studio in New York with producer Ben Greenberg whilst the band were on tour and is the first new release since last year’s critically acclaimed debut album, Fading Lines. Pre-order here.

Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly & James McAlister – Mercury

Sufjan Stevens, The National’s Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan’s drummer James McAlister release their collaborative album Planetarium on June 9 via 4AD.

A completely reimagined version of the project originally undertaken years ago and performed in various iterations around the world, Planetarium unites Stevens’ vocals, McAlister’s beats, Dessner’s guitar performance, and Muhly’s instrumental compositions—part rock odyssey, part electronic experiment, part classical opus.

Conceptually, Planetarium revolves around the cosmic ideas Stevens’ lyrics explore: mythology, astrology, science, astronomy and the intricacies of human consciousness.

The album began when Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven commissioned Muhly to create a new piece and he enlisted friends Dessner, Stevens and McAlister, all of whom had been looking for the opportunity to collaborate on a larger scale.

After sketching the framework of the song cycle and performing the piece as a band—flanked by a string quartet and seven trombones—in various forms, the quartet put the project on hold for several years. Returning to the raw material in 2016, Stevens and McAlister reversed their typical process, taking recordings of the live show and adapting to the studio. “We had recorded all the arrangements and the live parts in a studio after our last performance,” says Stevens, “so years later when we all kind of settled down, we said, ‘let’s open Pandora’s box.’”

Planetarium is out June 9 on 4AD. Pre-order here.