Ben Frost


(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Steel Wound (2003) , 7/10
Theory Of Machines (2006) , 7.5/10
By The Throat (2009) , 6.5/10
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Australian-born Iceland-based laptop composer Ben Frost, who had already recorded the solo School Of Emotional Engineering (2004) under the moniker School Of Emotional Engineering, choreographed the fanciful scenes for treated guitar of Steel Wound (Room40, 2003). The 47-minute piece begins with an imposing drone that, after four minutes, acquires both a life and a voice of its own. The bleak dense humming of this section (I Lay My Ear To Furious Latin) is followed by the ten-minute You Me And The End Of Everything, in which the guitar tones finally reveal themselves for what they are, louder and louder, like in a psychedelic trip. The nine-minute Steel Wound returns to cosmic droning but with a strident quality that slowly takes over and becomes a symphony of ear-splitting overtones. The guitar then intones the agonizing requiem of Last Exit To Brooklyn, that almost sounds like an ambient remix of a Jimi Hendrix solo. The last movement, And I Watched You Breathe, continues in that fashion with some slow-motion mind-warping distorted evolutions. This trippy ending contrasts sharply with the mournful and austere beginning.

Frost then coupled industrial horror with glitchy post-rock dynamics, and psychedelic drones with minimal techno, for Theory Of Machines (Bedroom Community, 2006), a set of four lengthy suites. With its manic, implacable crescendo of distorted drones Theory Of Machines feels like a response to Pink Floyd's Welcome to the Machine. It eventually explodes supernova-style, leaving behind ineffable stardust and an increasingly bellicose crackling process, probably a prelude to another apocalypse. Instead the album transitions to the android dance-music of Stomp: its rhythm is an irregular heartbeat that radiates vibrating tentacles whose spiderweb threatens a swarm of insects. Its ending is the charge of a mechanical device bent on destruction. The Swans tribute We Love You Michael Gira is instead a piece of sophisticated chamber music: initially as doleful and anemic as it gets, it evolves into an industrial nightmare although preserving an underlying drone of intense melancholy. Forgetting You Is Like Breathing Water is another piece of austere electroacoustic chamber music: its asynchronous drones, that initially have a cold mathematical quality, slowly coalesce to form a melodic pulsation that turns into another sad adagio-like theme. This composition turns minimalist repetition on its head.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Alessio)

Australiano di nascita ma di base in Islanda, il compositore elettronico Ben Frost, che aveva già registrato il solo School Of Emotional Engineering(2004) sotto il moniker di School of Emotional Engineering, orchestra le fantasiose scene di Steel Wound (Room40, 2003) attraverso manipolazioni chitarristiche. I 47 minuti della traccia iniziano con un imponente drone che , dopo quattro minuti, si avvia verso vita e voce proprie. Il denso ronzio desolato di questa parte(I Lay My Ear to Furious Latin) è seguito dai dieci minuti di You Me And The End Of Everything, dove i toni di chitarra si rivelano per ciò che sono ,frastornanti e potenti, come in un trip psichedelico. I nove minuti di Steel Wound si muovono su un droning cosmico che da stridente si trasforma lentamente in una sinfonia dalle sfumature assordanti. La chitarra intona un agonizzante requiem in Last Exit To Brooklyn, che suona quasi come il remix ambient di un assolo alla Jimi Hendrix. L'ultimo movimento, And I Watched You Breathe, continua su questa linea con evoluzioni più distorte, lente e deformanti. Questo viaggio finale contrasta nettamente con l'austero e lugubre inizio.

 

Frost si collega all'orrore industrial attraverso dinamiche glitch/post-rock, drones psichedelici e la minimal techno con Theory Of Machines (Bedroom community, 2006), un set di quattro lunghe suites. Col suo ossessivo e implacabile crescendo di drones distorti Theory Of Machines sembra quasi una risposta a Welcome to the Machine dei Pink Floyd. Infine esplode come fosse una supernova, lasciando un’ineffabile scia di pulviscolo stellare, e un crescente,bellicoso processo scricchiolante, quasi a preannunciare una nuova apocalisse. Invece l’album si sposta sulla dance-music androide di Stomp: il suo ritmo è un battito cardiaco irregolare, che irradia vibranti tentacoli, come una ragnatela che intrappola uno sciame d’insetti. Il suo finale è la carica di un meccanismo pronto a distruggersi. We Love You Michael Gira è invece un tributo agli Swans, un pezzo di sofisticata chamber-music: inizialmente è dolente e anemico come ci si aspetta, poi evolve in un incubo industriale anche se accompagnato da un rassicurante e intenso drone malinconico di fondo. Forgetting You Is Like Breathing Water è un altro pezzo di austera chamber-music elettroacustica: i suoi drones fuori tempo che all’inizio hanno una fredda impronta matematica, si fondono lentamente formando una pulsazione melodica che si sposta verso un altro rattristato tema simile ad un adagio. Queste capovolgono l'assunto della ripetizione minimalista.

By The Throat (Bedroom Community, 2009) is a more humane work in that "found sounds" from the environment combine with his electronic meditations in a less arcane manner, thus flattening the expressionistic gradient of the compositions. A string quartet and echoes of popular genres (from heavy metal to hip-hop) further enhance the feeling that Frost's doom has been tempered by a new source of inspiration: life itself. Generally speaking, the music is much more intense. Killshot displays one of Frost's masterful choreographies: an extremely turbulent electronic soundscape eventually unfolds into a duet between melodramatic sound effects and an exotic guitar melody. The interaction of the electronics and the guitar with strings, horns and voices in the two parts of Peter Venkman creates a gloomy expressionist atmosphere. His chamber music has also become more convoluted: Hibakusja toys with horns, hiccupping sound effects and a drilling drone. The discreet events of guitar and piano that constitute the fabric of Leo Needs A New Pair Of Shoes drown in a steppe roamed by icy drones and howling beasts. However the album is also more fragmented than its predecessors, which seems to indicate a collection of unfinished drafts rather than a set of fully scoped-out compositions.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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