September 22, 2023

Are you stuck inside, gazing out the window at the night sky? Is a great big star falling over the horizon? Are you lying down alone under a calm blue sky? If not, no worries, just turn on your speakers, press play and close your eyes. The dreamy alternative electronic release, “Swinging Swords”, by Michael Joseph is a lush, wistful, and moody ride. It delivers a delicate mellow instrumental build where the bright hi-hats mesh with dark basslines, clarity becomes a fuzzy haze, and juxtaposition is found at its finest. Over the top, the nineteen year old Joseph, flows in a nonchalant stream of consciousness, laying his thoughts out in the open. In this subtly driven track, the vocals add a contemplative but energetic texture. Joseph seems to be an aficionado of soundscape storytelling, as he creates a sonic atmosphere that gently but steadily engulfs the listener.

Between the vocals and the instrumentation, “Swinging Swords” consistently makes subtle shifts between bold statements and quiet reflection. It’s an ephemeral piece that fleetingly rests on one musical motif before morphing into another. And although the theme appears to be mainly personal Michael Joseph’s lyrical engagement with universal touchstones enters it into a wider discourse regardless.

“Swinging Swords” is the result of a myriad of sounds and textures most of which are strung together expertly and imaginatively, in such a way that they sound simplistic and unadorned.

The evolution of Michael Joseph’s work thus far, is a joy to observe. Each of his previous releases has sounded distinct, and there’s a clear progression in his craft, becoming more sophisticated and polished, moving ahead. “Swinging Swords” is another interesting body of work with plenty to get excited about, notwithstanding the fact that the track is executed in an understated and easygoing way.

The keys are minimal yet seductive, while weaving in front of them is an atmospheric collage comprised of bass intonations and rolling hi-hats. Joseph’s ability to immerse the listener in gorgeous electronic escapism is better than ever.

“Swinging Swords” acts as sonic narrative that slowly ripens and unfurls each minute, yet there is no use of crescendos. This exemplifies Joseph’s ability to sculpt enormous depth of sound with seemingly few frills. With the artist’s voice taking the reins, and arrangement firmly in the saddle, the song allows the listener’s mind to float in its various intricacies, shades, and tides.

The track ebbs and flows, finding pathways to build to a nocturnal intensity informed by the aphotic instrumentation. Oscillating keys create a universe that is peaceful yet unpredictable, evoking a state of wonder and introspection.

Crisp, precise and sophisticated, “Swinging Swords” is the sound of someone who is clearly on his way to mastering his craft. The result is an extremely reflective record from the Toronto, Canada based artist, easily matching and even surpassing he previously produced works. Another fine blend of crepuscular beauty and sonic substance.



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