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A U R O R A

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Yet more telling is how on his latest record, A U R O R A, Frost has ditched much of the subtlety and minimalism that echoed within his previous work and birthed a surging, hard charging, straight to the rim, go-hard-in-the-paint beast of an album. With Fox and Harris’ clannish beats melding with Frost’s flirting, teasing electronics, the track erupts in a firecracker of yearning bass and disjointed synth melodies, “Diphenyl Oxalate” and lead single “Venter” soon morphing into a single unforgiving ambush. By the Throat (2009) was one of the masterpieces of the past decade: a record that sent shivers down spines, set hairs on end and quickened heart-rates like few others. 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.

That last one is almost graceful, standing poised in contrast to the brute force you get everywhere else. Recorded between 2011 and 2013 in Eastern DR Congo, EMPAC New York and Reykjavík by Daniel Rejmer, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Paul Corley, Paul Evans and Ben Frost. Here, with the recruitment of Greg Fox (ex-Liturgy, now Guardian Alien) and the titanic Thor Harris (Swans) to assist longtime live collaborator Shahzad Ismaily in fleshing out his compositions, Frost puts percussion at the forefront from the very start. Most purchases from business sellers are protected by the Consumer Contract Regulations 2013 which give you the right to cancel the purchase within 14 days after the day you receive the item. To me, at least, it has this sort of grand and cinematic feeling without there really being that much going on under the surface—just a very carefully-composed set of sounds and occasional melodies.

Ben Frost hasn’t lost the knack of creating beauty from opposing musical forces, and on ‘Aurora’ he’s right in your face with his most dynamic and unhinged album yet. After a moment of near-silence, they unleash a cacophony so abrasive and pummelling it’s almost ecstatic. If anything the only Maybe not quite as oppressive as By The Throat, but still an incredible experience of distortion filled experimenting. While Frost wrote a good deal of A U R O R A on his laptop in the DRC, “under the threatening gaze of the very active Mount Nyiragongo volcano”, according to the text accompanying the release, it is a separate entity from The Enclave; a self-contained project rather than a score or commissioned work. Fifth album from Ben Frost, performed by Ben Frost with Greg Fox (ex-Liturgy), Shahzad Ismaily and Thor Harris (SWANS) and largely written in Eastern DR Congo, a U R O R a aims directly, through it's monolithic construction, at blinding luminescent alchemy; not with benign heavenly beauty but through decimating magnetic force.

For all this, his music is equally fascinating when you strip away the context and simply let the sounds he’s making overtake you. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. It’s a much more physical album, largely dispensing with quieter, more delicate compositions in favor of those that seethe and erupt. Opener “Flex” arrives on an initial, quiet wave of drone, a distant but quickly closing glimmer of light that before long is on top of us, a piercing light in the darkness that has brought along some of its friends with throbbing pulses of bass and stuttering percussion edging it closer and closer until it’s directly overhead, kicking up dust and framing us in its glare before it passes abruptly, the fear dying away rapidly as we move quickly into a forgetful future with “Nolan”, one of my favourite tracks of the record.It’s that sort of industrial album, unlike the catchy metal of say, Ministry or Nine Inch Nails; Aurora actually feels like it was made in a menacing factory with Frost overseeing his mad production. Many, such as ‘Nolan’, with its colossal rave synths and blistering distortion, have an epic, widescreen feel, which Frost offsets with intricate detail and quiet, ominous passages.

Ben Frost was born in Melbourne, Australia, before relocating to St Ives at the age of 20, where he made a series of sculptures exploring the nexus between man and landscape. But like its namesake — Borealis or Australis — it’s breathtaking in its representation of something so destructive and terrifying. Final track “A Single Point of Blinding Light” might be the most appropriately titled track released this year. Propelled by towering synth arrangements, bursts of noise and thundering drums, tracks lunge forward and stop abruptly, or fade away unexpectedly. Frost enlists the services of drummers Greg Fox (formerly of Liturgy) and the legend that is Thor Harris of the Swans, plus multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily.There’s a welcome dread lurking in the space between the minimal patterns, before Frost unleashes a spiralling synth line and accompanying supernova sized crescendo that shatters the darkness into millions of glittering pieces of light. Predominantly written in DR Congo and performed by Frost, Greg Fox (ex- Liturgy), Shahzad Ismaily and rhythmic overlord, Thor Harris of Swans, the release was birthed from self-induced isolation and a collective desire to excavate inherent truths of nature and being; submitting to swathes of noise with the implicit aim to evoke an altogether transient moment of lucidity. Indeed, it’s beautiful, but in a way that allows for all of its chilling menace to rise to the fore. I put this on while plodding through a snowstorm in Baltimore one day, and am now convinced that that is the only appropriate context in which to hear such a brutal, unforgiving record.

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