SA 002CD SA 002CD

2011 release. Xhin's debut album on Stroboscopic Artefacts, Sword, showcases the breath of his vision. As the second full-length release on Stroboscopic Artefacts, Sword stretches the remit of the label's identity ever further. Produced and recorded in Singapore, Xhin plucks sounds from the outer edges of electronic music and fuses them together. Xhin's approach revels not only in a hybrid sound palette, it's also an album designed for multiple contexts. It's a record typified by duality. Xhin's process seamlessly traverses analog and digital production, and Sword harbors electronic music that ranges from brutal club sounds to deep and delicate murmurs. "The Secret Closet" depicts a dream state in frosted tones and icy ambience that is returned to again with the discordant jangles of "Inside." "Wood" picks up the motive once more. At the kernel of "Wood" is melody that Xhin composed on the piano and then digitally processed into a state of bliss. However, Sword refuses to languish in a romantic hinterland and the ambience is offset by aggressive, weighty cuts. "Fox and Wolves" is Xhin ripping into any nostalgia that opening track "The Secret Closet" promised. Equally, "Teeth" gnashes and writhes over a bed of deep beats. "Vent" is fortified with metallic rasps and built from the droning aggression that characterized Xhin's early Stroboscopic Artefacts releases. Even at its darkest, its most violent, Swords envisions the club as a place of refuge. Xhin creates allusions with track titles that snatch images from a post-modern fairytale: woods, wolves, foxes, wardrobes. Xhin appropriates the fairytale hero's sword and the weapon becomes symbolic of a struggle, a tool against the void. A way out of dystopia. Journeying to the crispy cusp of experimentation and musical questioning, Sword is one of those rare creations that emerge when a producer has absolute artistic freedom. The 10 tracks navigate parallels and paradoxes, allowing Xhin to cut a deft mark across the album format.