Though not sure of the exit process that led lugubrious ambient-drone practitioner Ben Frost to seminal grunge-punker and producer Steve Albini’s door for the purposes of a helping hand with recording duties on his latest extended-play ‘Threshold of Faith’, it’s the fact that it happened, and that the record exists, is what’s really important.
After a couple of strange releases that this writer never got into, here Frost returns to some sort of form– his best music in fact since 2014’s clattering and dense AURORA.
Granted if you’d not informed me Albini was involved anywhere on the release I’d probably not have come at you and shouted “hey, the way the sounds here manage to appear pared back and accede to a certain, floating assemble recalls Low’s ‘Things We Lost In the Fire’ album!”. But listening to the record with that prior knowledge I do indeed hear a certain Albini restraint and clarity that he’s renowned for when it comes to production duties. Even when he’s being raucous, and generally non compromising, his music always has room to breathe, the individual instrumentation allowed time and space.
The result is a captivating set of delicate ambience, distant near reverberations, and frosted industry spread over seven tracks and 27-minutes. The most ear-splitting track here is actually a Lotic reworking, but even this one relents from anything nearing white-noise overindulgence, instead sounding controlled and rational.
It’s all rather like that intersection point somewhere between Eno and Flying Saucer Attack.