While we’re waiting for the album debut by Matthew Barnes and his project Forest Swords, one of the big discoveries of 2010, we’ll have to make do with the remastered reissue, on vinyl, of “Fjree Feather EP”, a release we can consider his first demo, an outline and teaser for what would later become “Dagger Paths”, the acclaimed hidden gem of last year that harboured hypnagogic pop, soundtrack music and folk wrapped up in one sound.
The songs on this EP, as we’ve said, aren’t new or previously undiscovered. They were part of the special CD edition of “Dagger Paths” as bonus tracks, used to demonstrate the technical, expressive and compositional evolution of Barnes’ work. In that sense, “Fjree Feather EP” is almost more educational than it is entertaining, as, although now we get the remastered and improved versions of the tracks, it’s clear that his sound still has yet more develop to undergo before it reaches maturity, which could already be heard on “Dagger Paths”. The compositions are more predictable and the instrumentation and production are a lot more coarse, but they have the instructive value of allowing us to see where the Forest Swords sound comes from and where it could go. On top of that, there’s also a charity angle to the release, with all the revenues from the EP going straight to the Japanese Red Cross.