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Forest Swords – Thor’s Stone


Matthew Barnes may have taken his sweet time following up his debut album as Forest Swords with this year’s excellent Engravings LP, but it was worth the wait. However, while most people responded to its dark, delicious grooves with some approving head nods, it seems to have inspired a much more physical reaction from Spanish dancer Guzman Rosado. Director Dave Ma shot Rosado’s interpretation in a Los Angeles industrial wasteland with no one around for miles. Which is fortunate, as they’d have probably got some very strange looks otherwise. “I made him dance repeatedly for about eight hours through the night,” Ma told Nowness, with just a hint of maliciousness.

At the beginning, Rosado’s prone figure is subject to only subtle ripples; a flexing finger here, an undulating muscle there. The close-up shots manage to make his body look uncannily unnatural. His dancer’s shoulder blades, for instance, look positively inhuman, while the way he pulses and jerks (and the sharp editing) call to mind the body horror of Chris Cunningham’s ‘Rubber Johnny’, albeit much more languid. Make sure your screen’s brightness is turned up though, as the surrounding darkness makes it difficult to make everything out otherwise, at least until the final shot of Rosado standing in a dirty river as a smoggy sun rises…

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