(Listen to the album at the bottom on this page)
It is not strictly speaking recent news, but By The Throat is one of my favorite album. To be honest, not a week goes by when I don’t listen to it since its release in 2009. At the time I was totally entranced by the cover art, the wolves – caught in a ‘white-noise’ snow illuminated by some snow groomers headlights. I could almost hear them howling!
Australian-born Ben Frost lives and work in Iceland since 2005 – date on which he joined the Bedroom Community record label with producer/mixer/composer Valgeir Sigurðsson (known for his collaboration with Brian Eno, Björk, Sigur Rós, ..) and American minimalist composer Nico Muhly. Frost first shot to fame with his 2006 album Theory of Machines that qualified him as one of the most interesting actors on the electronic stage. His trajectory was punctuated by many collaborations: the grind core band Crowpath, Jeremy Gara from Arcade Fire, Nico Muhly, Amiina Quartet, all featuring on By The Throat ; these influences intermingled and forged Frost’s unique identity, blurring any stylistic boundaries. There is also no doubt that the Icelandic landscapes play an important part in his creation process: icy and blazing, bleak and warm… This duality is the essence of the album, varying between dramatic power and contemplation.
By The Throat is still a source of great fascination for me, nearly 9 years later. Besides the extensively described visceral/brutal theatricality of this work, there’s some form of sensuality in the production (the close recording in Leo Needs a New Pair of Shoes creates an incomparable intimacy). But let’s face it: it’s still dark, very dark… It often forces us to turn inward, towards our bleakest thoughts. One of my most powerful musical experiences. Immersed in this white noise, wolf’s howls, tortured guitars and disturbing drones world, the listener doesn’t come out of this journey unaffected.