Ben Frost’s eleventh record is precisely the kind of challenging and uncompromisingly dark experience many people expected Aphex Twin’s (more on him later. Or maybe not. No spoilers here) record would be. ‘A U R O R A’ is an almost maliciously difficult listen, aggresively intense and the kind of record that would snap your neck for even suggesting in passing that it maybe crack a smile. It’s very possible that Frost was so uncomfortable with the general happy-go-lucky disposition of his native Australia that he simply had to decamp to Iceland to find surroundings that better suited his music’s wrought intensity. Jesus Christ- has there been any decent album recorded the past few years that hasn’t got some link to Iceland? I can only assume the entire country is just some floating Studio 54 that any musician worth their salt simply has to frequent. Ben Frost’s ideal location wouldn’t be Studio 54 of course- in his perfect World he’d be convulsing on the pavement outside the Viper Room, choking painfully to death on his own vomit. ‘A U R O R A’ demands to be listened to as a whole, and when I say ‘demands’ I mean you worry that if you were to break the record down at all it would actually leap from the speakers and throttle you to death with the extension cables. Perhaps the record’s deep sense of dramatic dread can get a little overwrought at times, but it’s such a threateningly wonderful experience that you dare not complain.
Is it… some guy being electrocuted…?
Ah shit, this is like Ringu isn’t it? Now I’ve seen that I’m gonna die