- Whether it's a really long single or a short album is no matter: Forest of Evil is a landmark release for the Manchester duo of Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty. Conjured from a cauldron of swirling genres and witchery, the two long tracks that make up Forest produce a genuine transcendence of sound and atmosphere.
The unique range of influences include, of course, dub techno, but also the strong presence of dubstep and drone. The combination works because the duo not only maintain an exquisite balance between the competing forces, but also harness the potential of each to direct it into what feels like a genuine attempt at hexenkraft. Each track pulls you through a gradually shifting soundscape of senses, travelling between fear, calm, eroticism, ecstasy and dread. Each emotion seems to form a distinct plateau, with the change from one to the next requiring and eliciting a change in state of mind and music. Guttural throat chants fade in and out of eerie drones, tribal drums jack over wind-swept melodies and electric will-o'-wisps burn brightly and recede into the shadows between the thickening trees.
One of the keys to the magical properties of the music is the bass. Super low frequency pulses throughout both tracks seem like a hypnotic master voice luring the ethereal threads of sound and soul further toward the darkness. The effect is most striking in "Dusk" where the middle plateau descends into a threatening silence punctuated only by resonant, faceless low-end rhythms. The sense of the occult in these two tracks is an astounding achievement. Comparisons could be drawn with Coil, but that would confuse the idea of how the music sounds. It's more like a dub techno take on Diamanda Galas or a club in the Twin Peaks Black Lodge run by Aleister Crowley. Or, rather, simply a groundbreaking work that exists in its own space.
A Forest Of Evil (Dusk)
B Forest Of Evil (Dawn)