It’s hard to know how to rate this fifth solo set proper from Iceland-based Australian producer Ben Frost, as it’s quite unlike what he’s realised before.
Not in the sense that it’s a radical stylistic departure from the oppressive machines of 2009’s ‘By The Throat’, or the cracked magnificence of 2011’s Daníel Bjarnason collaboration, ‘Sólaris’, as ‘A U R O R A’ is both testing of boundaries and transcendental of beauty.
It’s just that nothing Frost’s released before this has resonated with such life, such energy and desire for breaching an invisible barrier separating the extraordinary from the wholly otherworldly.
It moves from punishing percussion and dead-star static – ‘Nolan’, ‘Venter’ – to pieces that manage to mix incredible ambition with immediate elegance. ‘No Sorrowing’ wraps the listener tight, grips them with a rush of jet-engine adrenaline tempered by persistently endearing undertones.
Closer ‘A Single Point Of Blinding Light’ takes Patten-like hyperactivity to a damaged dancefloor, ending the night (and the album) in a euphoric cacophony that could shatter a discoball from the other side of a city.
Hard to rate, then, but it’s wonderful to try. And ‘A U R O R A’ is certainly more wonderful than it is trying.
Words: Mike Diver
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