Matthew Barnes aka Forest Swords step up as the next curator of !K7's ever essential DJ-Kicks series. 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 17-track, 2LP 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, 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." 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.