School of Emotional Engineering
School of Emotional Engineering


4.5
superb

Review

by ComeToDaddy USER (48 Reviews)
March 30th, 2016 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Take some time, it'll all be worth it.

While Ben Frost's later works gained acclaim for how diverse and engaging they were, his earlier works were quite a contrast to this. I can imagine, despite it's beauty, this particular album has disappointed many of the artists fans who delved into Frost's back catalogue, because it exists at the opposite end of the spectrum to his most celebrated works. The artist later developed a penchant for mashing stacks of genres together, succeeding because each element drove towards the same end goal - however, here he opts to stubbornly dig his feet into one style with little semblance of purpose or direction. And yet, it works - hell, it's so effective that I wouldn't hesitate to call this my favorite Frost work.

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what world SOEE resides in. Despite a relatively straightforward structure, it doesn't really line up with associated genre constraints. Idle piano lines often loop and don't go anywhere specific, but in contrast to ambient meanderings, they provide invaluable grounding when the booming drums threaten to overwhelm the mix. Songs peak by becoming more and more abrasive, burying the pristine melodies in harsher noise while the volume knob slowly turns up. It can be very discomforting in places, but never enough to be considered grating, it simply conjures an atmosphere of unease. You never really know whether a song is going to trudge onwards or come crashing down around you, and this uncertainty acts to amplify the uneasy feelings tenfold.

This is exemplified in "Redline", the most diverse track to be found here. Calming vocals and an acoustic guitar lend an organic feeling missing elsewhere on the album, which makes it that bit more discomforting when everything natural is slowly drowned out by layers of mechanistic drums and electric guitar. Then, just as the track drops out and you think it's done, the drums rear their ugly head once more, crashing away until the song abruptly and messily exits. The eerie closing track "Slicing The Skin Between My Toes" develops painstakingly slowly, utilizing the drums to build up steam instead of acting as the focal point at climax (the methodology employed throughout the rest of the album). It's a very minor shift, but it's these minor shifts that lend replayability to the album, which is essential for an album as unassuming and delicate as this.

While he would go on to create monolithic albums like Theory Of Machines, he never quite nailed the atmosphere that total stylistic consistency can provide. SOEE is a fairly simple album by all comparisons, however by the same token, it's also that bit more affecting. As far as dark and brooding post-rock goes, this is about as good as it gets. It can seem flighty and thin on the surface, but taking the time to dive beneath that film reveals a depth that belies its appearance. Forging a full and consistently engaging album with such a limited palette is a feat in itself, but even without doling out brownie points for that, the album can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best pieces in Frost's stellar discography.



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user ratings (36)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ComeToDaddy
March 30th 2016


1787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's been a long time since I reviewed, life keeping me busy but hopefully I'll be able to get back into it now. Figured I'd write something for an older album rather than diving straight back into new releases, even if it this style is completely outside my writing repertoire.



The opening track can be listened to here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmYPkIaRJns

Asdfp277
March 30th 2016


19464 Comments


can't get into this somehow

Archelirion
March 30th 2016


5639 Comments


Good to see a review from you again dude, and a stellar one at that :] This sounds interesting, might have to give it a try. Reckon I'd like it?

Cygnatti
March 30th 2016


32732 Comments


sounds interesting.
also what if this became a new discipline of engineering? x.x

Ponton
Emeritus
March 30th 2016


6462 Comments


sounds fantastic, good review

Digging: Cursive - The Ugly Organ

Ashen
March 30th 2016


1469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great job on the review. album is so many things

LotusFlower
March 30th 2016


12001 Comments


oh cool this got a review

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2016


41225 Comments


disappointed that I can't pos

never heard any other Frost but this is terrific

Digging: Copeland - Blushing

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2016


41225 Comments


also I miss you daddy, what up

Sinternet
March 30th 2016


18592 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

finally a review for this, and a great one at that

Digging: Dua Lipa - Dua Lipa

RadicalEd
March 31st 2016


9432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh shiiiiiiiiet. Just stumbled upon this album. Great stuff. Review is very good, as I've com to expect from you.

ComeToDaddy
March 31st 2016


1787 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aww guys, everyone's popping up in here (: thanks for the kind words.



@rowbro, that's big daddy to you. I still haven't forgiven you for not giving me that callout on air back in the day. I definitely recommend checking some of his other albums out though, Theory Of Machines in particular.



@Crunchy, I'd recommend it to anyone tbh, it's pretty easy to like. Check the opener I linked in the lead comment, if you dig it then you'll feel the whole thing.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 31st 2016


41225 Comments


I just wasn't ready for that level of commitment, one day I'll be brave enough for you

Sniff
March 31st 2016


5351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Last two tracks rule face.

Ryus
March 31st 2016


16996 Comments


looks like something i'd like

Valkyrion
March 31st 2016


1161 Comments


>It can seem flighty and thin on the surface, but taking the time to dive beneath that film reveals a depth that belies its appearance

Ahh, the hardships of trying to describe exactly how and why this type of music can be great ; in a way its undescribability is an interesting trait in itself. I've got this wishlisted

parksungjoon
May 22nd 2016


9050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is dope

BallsDeep
November 19th 2016


4645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

somebody anybody rec me similar stuff pls

KotakuInAction
November 19th 2016


20 Comments


I have strived to separate Socialism from modern Marxist theory. My Socialism is based off of the Political leanings of Fidel Castro, with hints of ancient Liberalism (Rights of all, freedom for all, freedom of speech/press/expression) and anti-social darwinism (greater good nonsense)
I've never truly considered Socialism a left or right ideology, merely a bridge between the people and those who protect them. Therefore, most of my general idea of Socialism combines aspects of Right and Leftward thinking.

BallsDeep
November 19th 2016


4645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fuck off caliggy you annoying cunt



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