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Boomkat Product Review:
First studio LP in six years by Iceland-based power ambient dynamo Ben Frost, following a string of soundtrack commissions for computer games, TV, and film.
Technically leading on from 2017’s ‘The Centre Cannot Hold’ album, Frost’s ’Broken Spectre’ also doubles as soundtrack to Richard Mosse’s exhibition of the same name, with shared roots in their joint surveys of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest ecology. Frost’s field recordings of the Amazon’s ultrasonic emissions (sound waves with frequencies higher than audible limits perceived by humans) find their analog in Mosse’s large-scale, ultraviolet representations of the same subject, with a mutual purpose to focus attention on an unfolding ecological catastrophe thru readings of the region’s more imperceptible psychic energies.
Deploying sound recording devices that reflect Mosse’s use of scientific imaging technology, Frost’s arrangements of field recordings and subtle original synthesis immerses the senses in humid nocturnal scenes with a foreboding quality that variously calls to mind Schwarzenegger in Predator or Kinski upriver, calling on the listener to operate by sixth senses and perceive space by sonar and a high frequency sounds, dialled down in pitch to audibility. Avian chirrups are anthropomorphised and a range of distant and super-close sounds of nature are finely layered to represent a lushly mysterious yet threatening presence, with parallels found in Chris Watson’s hyperreal recordings as much as the metaphoric styles explored on Mica Levi’s Monos OST or Lawrence English’s tense, textured atmospheres.