PRICE: $15.50
By The Throat


This is Reykjavik-based composer/producer Ben Frost's second release for the Icelandic Bedroom Community label. Frost first took the spotlight and smashed it to pieces in 2007 with his breathtaking and critically acclaimed release Theory of Machines, which Boomkat called "the future of electronic music" and The Wire called "simply awesome -- Arvo Pärt as arranged by Trent Reznor." It's impossible to truly classify where he is coming from musically, but it would be safe to say his fans would also have records from Neurosis, Tim Hecker, Sunn O))) and Fennesz in their collection. To simply call him an experimental electronic musician, however, does him no justice whatsoever. Where Theory of Machines came sterilized in fluorescent light, By The Throat is blood red and cloaked in shadow. Produced in Iceland by Ben Frost and Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk, Coco Rosie, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy), By The Throat features performances by Amiina of Sigur Rós fame, Arcade Fire's Jeremy Gara, Swedish metal outfit Crowpath and composer Nico Muhly. Aside from the purely musical language of harmony and melody -- like Amiina's strings on "Leo Needs A New Pair Of Shoes," there's the level of musique concrète, the weaving of nonmusical sounds into the musical fabric. We hear the snarling of wolves and the groaning of lions in "Killshot," the microscopic clicking and whirring of hunting killer whales in "Through The Roof Of Your Mouth" and the unmistakable sound of a human gasping for breath in "Híbakúsja." Then there's the sheer physical experience, the literally visceral effect of Frost's seismic rhythms and high-pitched shrieks on your body. These extra-harmonic elements are not just effects to punctuate the musical narrative in By The Throat, but are integral, unifying motifs. Borgar Magnason's menacing double bass growls pure bestial noise throughout By The Throat and the brass choirs of "Peter Venkman" are recorded so closely that they almost transform into pure human breath. And just as these voices slide away from "notes" and "harmony" to become concrete sound-images, the meanings of these images rattle around and collide into each other, forming a whole language of gasping and howling, gut-punching bass, and snarling metal. Using this language, Frost tells a story we can't quite articulate, but which we can feel, profoundly and unmistakably.