Review: Dead Wood – Forest

A day before listening to Forest for the first time, I’d stumbled across an old pocket memo voice recorder that I hadn’t seen in years. I played back the old tape inside over its crackly internal speaker: a warbly demo of my brother playing acoustic guitar and singing, half-audible sentences mumbled into flickering noise, crunches of movement punctuating long durations of dead air hiss, mock answerphone messages left for no one; a sonic relic from years before, its immediacy stripped by the veil of imperfection and noise gifted by its medium, rich in the blemishes that place it indisputably in the past tense.

Many aspects of this experience are shared with Forest, the most prominent of which being the paradoxical combination of distance and intimacy. Audio definition is lost to the tinny, crackly manner of the medium, with tiny protrusions of sonic detail becoming chipped and dented as they try to squeeze their way out of the record’s low fidelity. Yet at the same time, Forest evokes a buzz of discovering something private; a rough and unedited document, intended exclusively for personal playback. An assortment of guitar string twangs, loose feedback jets, cheap synthesiser hums, and aimless vocal muttering come clambering restlessly through the static, squashed into mono and seeping unglamorously out of the speaker – it’s a noisy album for sure, rendered quiet and somewhat peaceful in the modest means of its capture.