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AU61: Ben Frost album review

January 4, 2010

BEN FROST
BY THE THROAT
BEDROOM COMMUNITY

What kind of perverse Australian ends up living and working in Reykjavik, Iceland? Exactly the kind that would make bleak, desolate music like this, I guess. Ben Frost runs the Bedroom Community collective/label with former Björk cohort Valgeir Sigurðsson and classical composer Nico Muhly, and this aptly titled third album is a sonic experience like few others. It’s arresting, forbidding stuff. Frost operates on the boundary between modern classical (à la Jóhann Jóhannsson) and electronic noise/drone, and for fans of Fennesz and Tim Hecker, By The Throat will be manna. The stormy ‘Killshot’ and the seriously unsettling ‘Ó God Protect Me’ – which samples what sounds like the snatched gasps of a hospital patient – outline Frost’s mission from the beginning. If this is a window into his soul, then you have to fear for him, for the whole album is dripping with a sense of creeping dread. And it’s a physical experience as much as an aural or emotional one – Frost uses gut-punching bass pressure and ear-splitting noise as sonic punctuation amongst the synthesisers, field recordings and classical instrumentation. There are guest appearances from Sigur Rós collaborators Amiina, Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara and the aforementioned Muhly, but this is no-one’s vision but Frost’s. It’s fearless and it’s frightening and it demands to be heard shit-your-pants loud.

9/10

DOWNLOAD: ‘KILLSHOT’, ‘Ó GOD PROTECT ME’, ‘THROUGH THE ROOF OF YOUR MOUTH’.
FOR FANS OF: FENNESZ, TIM HECKER, JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON.

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