By the Throat
Bedroom Collective (Digital)
Formerly from Melbourne, Australia, composer Ben Frost now makes his home in Reykjavik, Iceland. Just shy of thirty, Frost has already had a wide ranging career. He’s played in Glenn Branca-inspired guitar ensembles, collaborated with the likes of Nico Muhly and Jeremy Gara (of Arcade Fire), and remixed Björk.
His latest recording, By the Throat, combines confrontational avant sonics with the patient sculpting of more ambient artists. Frost enlists a number of artists in the cause: Gara, Muhly, Icelandic string quartet Amiina, and Swedish metal band Crowpath all make appearances on recording. As one can imagine, the surface changes widely, sometimes violently. Hushed, breathy vocals are juxtaposed with screams. Animal sounds – lions’ roars and the multifaceted language of killer whales – are pitted against electronic percussion and synthesizer-laden ostinati. Supple strings give way to sepulchral bass sonorities – worthy to test many a subwoofer. The resultant music is fractured, disquieting, and often quite powerful.
At our house, By the Throat proved to be the perfect soundtrack to chill the bones and over-stimulate the imagination on Halloween. New Yorkers who’d like to experience the intensity of Frost’s vision live can attend performances of his work Mortal Engine at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this December.
Labels: Ben Frost, CD review, Crossover, Iceland