Frosty the Ben-man recently moved from Melbourne to Reykjavík, presumably because it is colder and more acceptable to sport a scruffy beard, empty stare and gothed-out wardrobe in Iceland. If you've ever been to the RVK, however, you might wonder how such a charming and quirky town could spawn so much worship of darkness and chaos (cf. the new wave of Icelandic black metal). Very well though -- a lot of it is damn good. Ben's approach here is graduated from the non-stop dreadfest of By the Throat or the noisy slice-'n'-dice of Theory of Machines. This EP puts knots in your stomach with an impressively slight amount of horror-movie low end, but there are moments of pause and wonder as well. I didn't really detect the Steve Albini connection.|
Choice cuts: 1, 2, 5
Genre: Industrial, dark ambient, minimalism, ben_frost_face.jpg
Friends: Kassel Jaeger, The Haxan Cloak, Raime, Kevin Drumm's less noisy side, Paysage d'Hiver, Kluster
1. (6:35) Serious sound design flexing. Oxygen-mask breathing, clinical bleeps, cavernous sub-bass tones fall in and out of phase. Betrays Ben's talent in the sphere of film/game scoring, though this one would probably be a bit of a sensory overload in that context. Timbres bend ethereal towards the end, only to be yanked away.
2. (3:13) Spectral war horn, (mal)treated violin tones bow an uncertain note every few bars. Geothermal energy vibes. Organic and intriguing!
3. (2:34) Loren Connors-esque ambient guitar plonking, Fripp & Eno-esque tonal drift. Figures go unresolved but not unloved.
4. (5:19) Hard-edged glassy mallets, minimal pan flute counterpoint, astral glitter. Impossible to tell if we are moving or standing still. Long-exposure shot of a wintertime garden.
5. (2:35) Bizarro track title for a typically Frosty tune. Rapid-fire alien helicopter-type gated synth dominates the mix. Desperate overtones scurry in the distance. Height of action thus far.
6. (3:15) Evolves very quickly from calm ambient to martial drill to violent breakcore à la Xanopticon. Brain-slicing overload will please Lotic fans but seems a hair out of place here.
7. (3:30) Squeaky hydraulic tones not often heard in the style and the most purposeful ambient pads yet. Working almost entirely in the middle frequencies here. Ends simply and in a flash.