Mon 9 Oct 2017 to Sun 15 Oct 2017

by Ben Frost

Ben Frost - The Centre Cannot Hold (PBS Feature Record)

With The Centre Cannot Hold Iceland-based Australian Ben Frost has produced a masterpiece of density and intensity. Frost has always had both an ability, and I suspect a particular penchant for making dramatic musical statements that almost dare the listener to turn away. On The Centre Cannot Hold (Mute Records) Frost delivers an upfront aural assault with album opener Threshold of Faith that is typically dark and immediately compelling. Like so much of Frost’s recent work it’s almost impossible to determine the sonic sources of his expansive sound palette and concepts like ‘instrumentation’ have long become an irrelevance. Like all of Ben Frost’s work, once you’ve heard the opening few seconds it’s simply impossible to turn off.

The sound world we hear on The Centre Cannot Hold is a dystopian future (present?) where darkness prevails and only rarely does the light shine through to reveal the subtle beauty that has always been lurking in the deepest shadows of Ben Frost’s work. The particular strength of The Centre Cannot Hold is that ultimately it is in fact a richly beautiful document of an artist very much at the top of their game. On tracks such as Healthcare and All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated Frost pulls back the noise to reveal a subtle clarity that at times is reminiscent of early albums, including his much underrated School of Emotional Engineering project from 2004.

Of particular note on The Centre Cannot Hold is Frost’s use of multiple layers of noise to superimpose on one another to create harmonic pulses that create the impression of tempo and meter. Eschewing more conventional percussion and rhythmic inputs such as programmed or sampled beats, Frost uses the fundamental properties of sound itself to set up complex arrangements of attenuated layers that continue to propel the album forward. At the album’s conclusion we finally hear beats on Entropy in Blue but only in muted, industrial hues that eventually recede into the sampled waters of a distant ocean.

So complete, and so dense is this album that the best response after each listen is to simply sit in absolute silence. Ultimately The Centre Cannot Hold from Ben Frost is a majestic piece of work that is immersive, intense and richly rewarding.

Reviewed by Owen McKern, PBS Program Manager.

Noire - Some Kind of Blue (featured on The Breakfast Spread)

Some Kind of Blue is the follow up to the bands self-released EP Baby Blue in 2015.

Citing inspiration from Air, Mazzy Star, David Lynch, Wim Wenders and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Some Kind of Blue is a cinematic soundscape charting the fluidity of love and loneliness.

NOIRE is the latest signing to Sydney-based label Spunk Records .

This week's Top 10:

Ben Frost - The Centre Cannot Hold
Noire - Some Kind Of Blue
The Souljazz Orchestra - Under Burning Skies
Full Flower Moon Band - Chinatown Album
30/70 - Elevate
Cursed Moon - Rite of Darkness
Youmi Zouma - Willowbank
Blue Note All Stars - Our Point of View
The Turner Brown Band - Sneak Attack
Bad Ambulance - II