Threshold of Faith by Ben FrostRelease date: July 28, 2017
Label: Mute Records
New EP from dabbler in crackly electronic noise and drones Ben Frost. This time in the studio with Steve Albini, and this is noted as apparently just the first release of material prepared in those sessions.
Threshold of Faith seems like an apt title for this record’s combination of harsh timbres, noise and industrial moves with a submerged melodic grandiosity that has the vague echoes of cathedral about it. It does seem a bit like a sonic equivalent the cold warmth of the welcome you get in the still air of a church, not unlike Tim Hecker’s related swooshy droning around with organs and a contemplative churchy sound.
A huge strength is the attention to detail in the fine texture of the sounds. And there’s something here too that means that ‘threshold’ is just right: not necessarily uncertainty but more a hovering on the margins and boundaries. There’s some on the opener that sound like twisting wires, but sort of part organic part metallic, or maybe like glass spiderwebs or something. Some in the next track, ‘Eurydice’s Heel (Hades)’ that evoke more Eurydice’s Squeaking Wheel, a sort of rubbery eek that seems to leap out of the track to grab your attention. And then in the fourth track, ‘All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated’ (of which there is another version later), there’s sonic blops that are a bit like droplets of water… but again, not just, or not quite- some metallic or thumping undertone makes it seem, I don’t know, like a drop of water that’s dreaming about being a hammer. Or there’s a piano-like sound, but just at the edges of the timbre it feels like a piano that’s made of steel that’s turning into ice.
Anyway, the intriguing nature of the sounds makes for a compelling EP, which dives from collage-y style explorations of texture, to distorted ambient druddering, to airy ice caves of twinkling cold. All of which rewards multiple listens, while also promising much from future installments.