Ben Frost
A U R O R A


2.5
average

Review

by MadGrinder USER (2 Reviews)
June 10th, 2014 | 23 replies


Release Date: 03/30/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wrapped in your own monochordic chaos.

Music producer, multi-instrumentalist and soundtrack composer. Ben Frost is all of the three, so from here one can definetely verify that Frost is a hard-working, varied artist, capable of writing diverse compositions and creating different soundscapes, as well as a very busy man. Mentionable and respectable are his credits on the production of Swans' 2012 album "The Seer", as well as various film soundtracks he's been making throughout the 5-year gap between his 2009 outing "By The Throat" and his new full-length record, "A U R O R A".

The question here is, what does "A U R O R A" sound like?

This album showcases a different compositional capacity from Ben Frost. As "By The Throat" was a record that dabbled in the syles of chamber, experimental, minimalistic, ambient and drone music (a style remniscent of artists like groundbreaker Tim Hecker), and ranged from intricate musical compositions to abrasive noisiness, it's successor is stylistically much more narrow and less diverse than BTT, swelling with synthetical and harsh elements of Ben's compositional skills. Embracing heavy sounds and influences ranging from noise, to break and industrial music, the Australian producer's music seems to lack a melodic sense in "A U R O R A", making for a one-dimensional atmosphere composed by gritty production, fat and noisy synthetizers, as well as heartless electronic music.

The problem does not reside on this formula. There are tons of electronic music acts that use this formula, along with incredible textures and melodic layers found on these projects' work. But "A U R O R A"'s sound gets suffocated in all it's noise, all it's darkness and all it's fuzz and distortion, not allowing any of these mentioned textures and layers occupy space into the album's music. And a one-dimensional album can become underwhelming, as well as really, really tedious.

For an experimental/ambient record, there are very few moments where the listener can feel engaged, mystified and take part in an out-of-body experience. "A U R O R A" is harmless at occupying the listener's subconscious and taking him/her to different places, and it is completely transparent in relation to what it really is. The sounds brought to you by Ben Frost in this record mostly lack a sense of coherence, catchiness or colourfulness that was evident in the composer's last record 5 years ago. For example, the song "Nolan", is unbelievably spazzic and chaotic, as well as composed by different instrument sections: hard-hitting drums, synth leads, bells, a drone hanging in the background. But the mix of these sounds ends up being monotonous and incoherent. And about coherence, "A U R O R A"'s album flow is nearly unexistent: there's nothing significant in the complementary function of these songs towards one another (like a football team composed by individualist MVP's that don't pass the ball to one another and that don't have any sort of game tactic or strategy plan); it's too all-over-the-place and uncohesive, making an even more awkward and tedious experience brought to you by a mixbag album that doesn't take the listener's emotions anywhere.

Taking in count that "A U R O R A" is a mixed bag of non-diversified ideas, there are actually some bright spots here (although not brilliant by any means). For example, the song "Secant" is one of the more focus-sounding songs in "A U R O R A", outshining most of it's material with the song's massive drum beats, dissonant and fat bass lines and the exploited and gloomy reverb. But as the song progresses and gets louder and more intense, we end up getting a track that is shrill, ear-piercing and, once again, tedious. Or "Venter", "A U R O R A"'s most valuable song: slow-burning, tension-building, atmosphere-generating, a pace remniscent of some moments of the Ben Frost-co-produced Swans album "The Seer", climaxing in a noisy ending that sounds much more focused than everything else in this album.

Unfortunately, the bright spots of "A U R O R A" ultimately fail in the task of saving this record from it's own darkness, and with this metaphor written, there is no bright enough light at the end of the dark, fuzzy and contentless tunnel that is Ben Frost's new effort. The ideas are all here, but this time they're not dabbling through your Ben Frost electronic symphonies and soaring through while creating different soundscapes and brilliant ideas applied flawlessly; this time they're buried deep under the Australian producer's now-solid ground.


Please, don't let them rot, Ben.


user ratings (116)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
krthll1 (2.5)
Ben Frost tries to branch out by simplifying his overall approach, but ultimately gets trapped into ...

Olivier De Clercq CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
From the turbulent launch in 'Flex' to the hectic comedown in 'Sola Fide' and all the tension, explo...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 10th 2014


31169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I disagree entirely, but you present your points well

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

MadGrinder
June 10th 2014


136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

A different take on Ben Frost's new outing. This definitely needed a more negative review, so yeah,
here's my thoughts on it. Any constructive criticism is welcome!

Venter:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LJ2X1ZRVmA

Nolan:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gig7e5lwOE

MadGrinder
June 10th 2014


136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Deviant. , most people definitely will, I know, but hey, opinions opinions, ain't that right? Glad
you're enjoying this album, Dev, wish I was able to enjoy it too because I actually get what it is
trying to do, I just don't see that done in the most coherent and textured way.

RivalSkoomaDealer
June 10th 2014


782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Reads almost exactly like theneedledrop's review for it.

This, combined with the fact that you have a fartano avatar leads me to the conclusion that you either are him or want us to believe you are him.

Digging: Danny Brown - Old

MadGrinder
June 10th 2014


136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Actually I pretty much agreed with his review for this, but no, I am not Anthony Fantano, and I don't want y'all to believe I'm Fantano either. He's a great reviewer in my opinion, but yeah, I tried to exploit my opinion according to me, not based on Fantano's video.

Havey
June 10th 2014


9684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

one can definately verify

smh

Havey
June 10th 2014


9684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This definately needed

most people definately will

omg

RivalSkoomaDealer
June 10th 2014


782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It took me forever to learn how to spell definitely.

It took me forever to learn how to spell.

It took me forever to learn how.

It took me forever to learn.

It took me. Forever.

MadGrinder
June 10th 2014


136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sorry 'bout it, definitely wrote the word wrong. ; )

But y'know, that's what 13-year olds do when they're out of arguments. They complain with the other
person when he/she makes a grammatical mistake.

RivalSkoomaDealer
June 10th 2014


782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not complaining with anyone. It really did take me forever to learn to spell definitely.

It's a hard word.



clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
June 10th 2014


6448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cannot for the life of me imagine this to be one-dimensional. Good review nontheless.

You should proofread for typos, though.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 10th 2014


10204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Awesome work, especially for your second review, man. I agree with this more than anything, though I find more value in it than I think you do

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

Havey
June 10th 2014


9684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

definetely

surely you're joking at this point

MadGrinder
June 10th 2014


136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Havey yeah totally now stfu and get out of this thread plz

@Omaha Thanks a lot, bro, appreciated! Probably yeah, given the ratings. My 2.5 is pretty high, almost a 3, tho.

MadGrinder
June 10th 2014


136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Skooma thought it was sarcasm, bro, sorry about that.

@clercquie Thanks, man, your review for this was great as well although I strongly disagree, but that's the interesting thing about music right? : )

Havey
June 10th 2014


9684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wow u need to work on your spelling AND your attitude

Graveyard
June 10th 2014


5733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"But "A U R O R A"'s sound gets suffocated in all it's noise, all it's darkness and all it's fuzz and distortion"

that's why this rulez agreed

Digging: Sugary Sweet Machines - Controlled Breathing

Buzzkillr
June 10th 2014


1541 Comments


didn't you just review the new death grips album and give it a 5? kek

MadGrinder
June 11th 2014


136 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Havey was just kidding w u man

Havey
June 12th 2014


9684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i just fail to understand why you still haven't fixed it



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