‘A U R O R A’ by Ben Frost

‘A U R O R A’ by Ben Frost

Adriana SaboSaturday,5 July 2014

The Snap:

Ben Frost is a composer from Australia, currently based in Iceland, and he has been making music since 2001, when he issued his first album, Music for Sad Children. He has been quite productive since then, releasing 4 more albums. He is interested in all kinds of music, and each of his albums has presented a different approach and a different sensibility. But, his art can generally be described with words such as minimalist, electro-acoustic, and experimental. He threads the fine thin line between classical and popular music genres. As his biography states, he has a “fascination with finding ways of juxtaposing music, rhythm, technology, the body, performance, text, art -beauty and violence- combining and coalescing the roles and procedures of various artistic disciplines in one place.” In 2012, Brian Eno chose him to be his collaborator, and the outcome of this experience was his album titled Sólaris — inspired by Stanislaw Lem’s novel and the 1972 Tarkovsky film Solaris. In his constant quest to find new inspiration, he has collaborated with many artists, like the British choreographer Wayne McGregor, and Daníel Bjarnason. A U R O R A is his latest album, and it shows yet another face of Ben Frost.

The Download:

This is his fifth studio album, and it moves into the more obscure parts of his artistic imagination. “A U R O R A aims directly, through its monolithic construction, at blinding luminescent alchemy; not with benign heavenly beauty but through decimating magnetic force,” says Frost. With A U R O R A, his heavy exploration of the industrial sound makes the album raw and unpolished. His description of the album fits perfectly with what this music is all about:

“This is no pristine vision of digital music, it is a filthy, uncivilized offering of interrupted future time where emergency flares illuminate ruined nightclubs and the faith of the dance floor rests in a diesel-powered generator spewing forth its own extinction, eating rancid fuel so loudly it threatens to overrun the very music it is powering.”

Thus, the title might fool you, if you expected meditative or even psychedelic sounds of changing colors. “Nolan” is, for example, a perfect example of the atmosphere this album brings.

The first thing you notice is precisely the filthy sound of unpolished digital recording. There are no acoustic instruments, like on some of his previous albums, just the electronics that are angry and aggressive. The track starts with something that might resemble a melody, in the high register, really high pitched and razor sharp, that unfolds over a beat that is typically industrial. You can’t help but imagine a huge factory, with the loud noise of the machines hurting your ears. This raw sound is interrupted from time to time, with segments that could resemble a techno/house track — coming most probably from the “ruined nightclubs” that Frost talked about. But the beat never ceases, establishing the ominous atmosphere for good. Composer wrote the better part of his album on a laptop while staying in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, working with photographer/filmmaker Richard Mosse, which explains the heavy use of electronics and strong rhythms that mark this collection.

A U R O R A definitely offers some high quality music and pushes some boundaries. If you haven’t heard Frost’s music before, make sure to check him out. His many talents will surely blow your mind.


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Hat Tips:

Bandcampethermachines.com, Pitchfork, Image Credit: Flickr


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