For his first solo album since 2009's By the Throat, experimental composer and producer Ben Frost made himself uncomfortable. Sick of the routines he developed in the creation of his earlier albums and commissions for theatre and film, Frost ditched the comfort of his guitar, piano and string-laden studio ambiance for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He travelled across that war-torn locale as a sound designer for a Richard Mosse A/V installation, but the bulk of what would become A U R O R A was written along the way, on a laptop syphoning power from diesel generators in the heart of conflict, though a few touches by drummer Greg Fox (ex-Liturgy), Thor Harris (Swans) and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily were added later.
The album maintains a minimal yet intense, industrial sound, profoundly affected by the raw, unpredictable nature of its circumstances. While it initially feels post-apocalyptically severe, like a demolished variation on the Terminator theme, it's actually an optimistic attempt to represent the light in darkness. It's all-encompassing and uncompressed, with extreme dynamic range reflecting natural cycles of sound. Over time, the shock of exposure gives way to a sublime balance. Imagine it like compositions carved from raw noise, like Michelangelo uncovering the statue inside the block of stone. There can be beauty in decay, growth from devastation, and A U R O R A helps open your eyes to that perspective.
Read our recent interview with Frost here. (Mute/Bedroom Community)