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Xhins debut album on Stroboscopic Artefacts, Sword, showcases the breath of his vision. As the secondfull-length release on Stroboscopic Artefacts, Sword stretches the remit of the labels identity ever further.Produced and recorded in Singapore, Xhin plucks sounds from the outer edges of electronic music andfuses them together. Xhins approach revels not only in a hybrid sound palette but its also an album designedfor multiple contexts. Its a record typified by duality. Xhins process seamlessly traversed analogueand digital production, and Sword harbours electronic music that ranges from brutal club sounds to deepand delicate murmurs.Its clear from the way the album is crafted and layered that Xhin is a skilled sound designer. The tracksseem to have been worked on from a 360o perspective. His muse? The void. But rather than soundtrackingthe abyss, Sword is a strategy, an attempt to negotiate a way out. Part of the answer that he proposesabandons the shadowy recesses of melancholy in search of the ecstatic. The Secret Closet depicts adream 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 thepiano and then digitally processed into a state of bliss.However, Sword refuses to languish in a romantic hinterland and the ambience is off set 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 raspsand built from the droning aggression that characterized Xhins early Stroboscopic Artefacts releases. Evenat its darkest, its most violent, Swords envisions the club as a place of refuge. Proposing a collective acknowledgementof the void, where dancing fends off its grip, and realization is paradoxically escapist.Sword could not be more aptly titled. Xhin creates allusions with track titles that snatch images from apost-modern fairytale: woods, wolves, foxes, wardrobes. Xhin appropriates the fairytale heros sword andthe weapon becomes symbolic of a struggle, a tool against the void. A way out of dystopia. Journeying tothe crispy cusp of experimentation and musical questioning, Sword is one of those rare creations thatemerge 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.

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