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May 2, 2011 | by  | in Music |
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Spotlight on Forest Spirits

Kia ora, kids! In light of New Zealand music month, the next few Spotlight segments will be focusing upon the music that currently thrives or is moving up our local music scenes. I’m aware that the previous articles have been geared towards finding music offshore, but I’ve probably been doing an injustice to those doing well in our own fair country, so here goes!

Auckland-based bedroom producer Liam Richardson, otherwise known as Forest Spirits has recently released his debut EP under label Sonorous Circle, to rising acclaim in local circles. Simply entitled EP, the 2011 Bandcamp release is a follow up from his two-track taster, storm clouds summer sleep.

In the short amount of time Forest Spirits has been active, a clear progression in musical styles from these two releases is apparent, with EP attaining notably less of a Disney-esqe Pogo sampling style, instead moving towards a cinematic blend of probably everything Richardson has listened to and watched in the past few years. This is no bad thing at all. While still clearly experimenting with his style, there’s already a characteristic blend of early 20th century film sound and emerging European experimental dance music. The first track ‘A diet of seeds’ is a prime candidate, which features both a distinct house-like four four beat and samples the found sound from old films that screen rarely, but which you end up watching while at your grandparents’ house.

Forest Spirits is no one-trick pony. If the rapid change in styles throughout the EP is anything to go by, Richardson couldn’t wait to get to his computer in order to translate and experiment with the multitude of potentials in found sounds he heard on a day-to-day basis into groove. And boy, does he pull this off. Not only does this EP automatically incite instant head bopping, but the thick ambient synths are meditative as opposed to boring from overfamiliarity. While I could just compare Richardson to Burial, it’s not unusual to find a producer nowadays who hasn’t heard ‘Untrue’ and acquired a copy of Ableton following that. The 7-track EP is not a rip off of Burial’s characteristically warm fuzzy analogue goodness, nor of his off-centre beats, but in construction and material amount, they meet. And then Richardson busts out the use of 8-bit synth in the second track ‘Song and Dance’ which moves away from house and experimental dubstep, and is instead perhaps a tribute to long hours spent playing Super Mario. Which is the nice thing.

Forest Spirits touches on everything from the experimental, the ambient, crosses it occasionally with poppy synth and samples early films together in a lo fi fuzzy mix. His beats are fly, his samples are both malleable and diverse in flavour and there’s a sense of fun in how he writes. Forest Spirits is definitely one to go see live, and I can only hope that Wellington’s brisk southerly doesn’t turn him away from playing here soon.

Recommended tracks: All. Listen to the entire EP on his Bandcamp: forestspirits.bandcamp.com.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Rosalinda says:

    Pin my tail and call me a donkey, that raelly helped.

  2. Turk says:

    I thguoht I’d have to read a book for a discovery like this!

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