By The Throat
(2009, Bedroom Community)
RIYL = Jasper Tx, Machinefabriek, Animal Hospital, Lawrence English
Ben Frost’s music carves at your nerves. On his last record, Theory of Machines, Frost created a tension filled industrio-noise masterpiece filled with delayed climaxes of other worldly proportions. It was one of the few records that I have heard that can be more aptly described as an experience than simply as music. You don’t just listen to it, you experience it. On By The Throat, Frost takes the experience of Machines up a notch; in fact, the album title says it all. There is something about this most recent Frost album that just devours you. Listening to this album has plunged me into a stark mindset, more claustrophobic and paranoid than I can ever remember feeling. The album art is actually a pretty successful portrait of the music Frost has created. By The Throat sounds and feels like a pack of wild beast, strung out, starving and circling you in preparation for an attack. The music is constantly teetering on the edge of that moment just before they lunge for your throat. I guess it is also important to note some of the contributors playing on By The Throat. Frost has pulled in a pretty impressive array of musicians including Amiina, The Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara, some Swedish metal band called Crowpath and fellow Bedroom Community compatriot, Nico Muhly. Yet, even with those big names, By The Throat is in every way a Ben Frost album and it is all the better for it. And, as a Frost creation, it is difficult to describe. There is definitely a compositional feel along with a lot of electronics, some field recordings and guitar torture. By The Throat finds a prefect middle ground between neo classical, drone and noise. And, while sometimes those genres can turn flat and flacid, By The Throat is an album that does not allow for passive listening. There will never be a time when you can just play the album in the background as the casual accompaniment for some frivolous activity. No, By The Throat is simply too emotionally confrontational and too aurally invasive to be an after thought. With growling and howling from instruments and real wolves alike, Frost's work burrows deep, digging its claws into your psyche. Frost’s composition boasts a ferocious muscularity and a grizzly aura that feels too real to be labeled as horror. Really, there is some mad gluttonous grit and terror at work here that provides just about as powerful a musical experience that one is likely to have. Make room in your top ten of 2009 and welcome the new king of compositional doom.
Pre-order and get an immediate download from Bedroom Comunity here.
There Are No Others, There is Only Us... Directed by Marc Silver, Scored by Ben Frost. Absolutely gorgeous.