'V A R I A N T' continues Ben Frost's love of well-spaced letters and phenomenal electronic subversion, as he follows-up 'A U R O R A' with some next level remixes from contemporaries like the famed producer and lover of FIFA Evian Christ, as well as Dutch E Germ, Kangding Ray and HTRK. More electronic aggressions and introspection from Frost -- but with a little help from his friends.
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Ben Frost’s ‘A U R O R A’ caused enough of a stir to land it on many an end of year ‘best of’ list. This companion remix EP enlists the talents of a fairly eclectic bunch of producers to do their thing, with quite varied results that offer something for everyone.
First up is Evian Christ with his reworking of ‘Venter’, which starts off with those dramatic swooping thuds so beloved of film trailer editors before getting down to some melodic bass funk that plays on the classic build-and-release dynamic. It’s an assured start but a little to slick for my liking. A lot more interesting is Gang Gang Dance’s Tim DeWit under his Dutch E Germ alias, who also has a go at ‘Venter’; reshaping it into a massive texture-rich arrangement that sounds like a bin lorry doing the rounds in heaven before breaking down into a playfully rhythmical synth-pad pummelathon.
Frost’s Aussie compatriots HTRK also take ‘Venter’ but manage to a boil it down to neon-lit, early morning electro that is as seductive and moody as anything off their brilliant ‘Psychic 9-5 Club’ LP. After all the hyperactivity of the first two tracks HTRK’s atmospheric understatedness, using barely more than a stripped-down rhythm and distant melodic loop, is all the more arresting. Kangding Ray’s working of ‘No Sorrowing’ ups the rhythmical complexity with some widescreen techno that careens through some rolling, reverberating percussion cycles as sly synth textures worm their way into the foreground. Last up is Regis’ ‘Self Medicating’ mix of ‘Nolan’. It’s obvious why they left this for last as it’s a typical tour de force that’d be hard to follow. It features a huge, rolling industrial techno groove that makes you feel that the room is pulsating, before gradually admitting a melodic surge that seems to be fighting a degrading tide of oceanic filter sweeps.
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