Ben Frost

Scope Neglect

Mute • 2024

In 1993, the band Earth founded a new genre by arranging Metal riffs via compositional techniques taken from the »minimal music« of the 1960s. Their »Drone Doom« was one of the last great formal transmutations of Metal. Since then, its development has been marked by abstraction. Where Earth merely removed drums and vocals, Sun O))) conceived an entirely a-rhythmical Metal. The genre, thus, reputedly is a purely textural art form. Against this, Ben Frost’s newest album presents a return to its founding moment. »Scope Neglect« is guided by the rhythmical finesse of Terry Riley and West coast minimalists. Frost’s collaborators, guitarist Greg Kubacki of Car Bomb fame and bassist Liam Andrews, supply dissonant riffs. Frost arranges them, combines them with electric beats, drones – and recordings of sperm whales. This way, a contradictive form emerges, restrained as it is aggressive. This disparate compound might corrode in lesser hands. But Ben Frost is a genius sound designer. In all likelihood, there won’t be a lot of albums in 2024 that will sound as crisp and vivid as »Scope Neglect«. At the same time, it feels genuinely innovative, like a reactivation of »Earth 2«’s explosive power. »Scope Neglect« is a perishing star – radiating, remote and heavy beyond belief. The year’s still young. But I fully expect that, by the end of 2024, I will try to get Ben Frost on our best-of-list.