Ben Frost wasn’t a name I was too familiar with until last year’s A U R O R A made waves on the blogosphere. I somewhat recalled By The Throat, which I’m pretty sure was the first time I’d come across his name, but that’s about it. If you told me the same guy who madeÂ A U R O R A made this, I just wouldn’t believe you.Â A U R O R AÂ is what, say, a nightclub in hell would possibly sound like, whileÂ Steel WoundÂ would possibly accompany the events between your passing away and your ascension (or descent) to your determined afterlife location. The intertwining of listlessness and grievanceÂ is a concept all too relevant today and shows how well this record has aged from its release back in 2003. Due to the artist’s surge in popularity due to the reception ofÂ A U R O R A I advise you not to sleep on this. Get it while the gettin’s good. Listen to the album in full via the YouTube stream below and see what you think of it. Cheers!
Since his earliest days, Ben Frost has been fascinated by the cinematic qualities of the guitar. His output to this point has hinted at this, but with Steelwound he makes a bold statement of intent.
Finding his way to a deserted stretch of Johanna Beach along the Great Ocean Road (Victoria, Australia) in early 2003 Frost set up a remote studio at a derelict cabin overlooking the icy waters of Bass Strait. With a constant wind flowing off the sea his only companion, Frost started work on a series of improvisations that would eventually become Steelwound. A few months go by and Frost has made his way back to civilization. He begins editing the masses of treated guitar from the Johanna Beach improvisations and before long a theme takes hold - one that very much reflects the isolation of the environment where the tracks were created.
Each of the pieces on Steelwound is a epic journey, coloured with a deep sense of filmic narrative and suggested dialogues. The textural quality of the works, laced with field recordings and lost vocal fragments, sketches out the emotional soundscapes Frost had unwittingly gathered during his time at Johanna Beach. Each piece is a splintered fragment in time - a forgotten memory beautifully rediscovered in a moment of introspection.
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