Boomkat Product Review:
Ben Frost's 2007 album Theory Of Machines caused quite a stir within the electronic music community, shattering genre conventions with its deft conflation of intensely dark metal, academic electroacoustics and blissful, drone-weaving modern classical touches. By The Throat takes these same principles and develops them into something altogether grander. This is an album of contradictions: during the opening piece 'Killshot', you'll be exposed to music that's both viscerally hard on the ears and achingly beautiful, combining gracefully cinematic dulcimer melodies and mesmeric swells of noise that swirl amid a sea of nerve-shredding electronics. The track segues into a dirge of howling wolves with 'The Carpathians', a piece of doom-laden menace that competes with the grimmest moments of SunnO))) or KTL in terms of intensity. We're only a couple of tracks in so far, but already this is shaping up to be pretty special. Despite opening with a tuneful flurry of string plucks, 'Hibakusja' soon reveals a darker side, collapsing into a horrifying mess of respiratory unpleasantness, as if soundtracking a drowning man trying to keep afloat - the field recordings of someone desperately drawing breath take on a creepily emotive timbre once immersed in serrated noise signals and melancholy string arpeggios. This is no easy ride, yet despite the disturbing undercurrents and horror soundtrack tactics this album never ceases to sound beautiful. Co-produced by Frost and the dependably excellent Valgeir Sigursson, By The Throat also owes some of its sonic prowess to contributions from Amiina, The Arcade Fire's Jeremy Gara and fellow Bedroom Community star Nico Muhly. This formidable and far-reaching body of work might be one of 2009's most singularly impressive listening experiences, and very likely the only record you'll hear this year whose repertoire consists of both luscious classical chamber compositions and the hunting calls of killer whales... A very high recommendation.