LABEL: BEDROOM COMMUNITY .
RELEASE DATE: DEC 9th 2016 FORMAT: CD/DL
RELEASE DATE: FEB FEB 2017 LIMITED EDITION LP
CATALOGUE NUMBER: HVALUR25
In advance of new music from Ben Frost in 2017, Bedroom Community is excited to present the definitive recorded version of his 2013 opera and directorial stage debut, The Wasp Factory, based on the novel by the late Iain Banks.
Setting his unwitting characters against the backdrop of vast, implacable forces of nature—storm, sea, fire, and even their own madness— Frost reaches deep into his formidable arsenal to reveal an unexpected warmth, from the composer of electronic experiments like AURORA and Theory of Machines. The focus here is on the live sound of the Reykjavík Sinfonia, recorded in Abbey Road’s Studio II and, for the first time, the human voice. He sets David Pountney's Libretto to tuneful, even soulful vocal lines; an extraordinarily unreliable narrator describing scenes of extreme violence and horror in music of incongruous loveliness.
Rather than attempt to represent his protagonist onstage with a singing, acting boy, Frost infamously cast an ensemble of 3 women to give voice to his dissociated internal monologues: Lieselot De Wilde, Jördis Richter and Wildbirds & Peacedrums' own Mariam Wallentin. And just as he did with the highly detailed instrumental writing on his albums like AURORA or Sólaris (composed with Daníel Bjarnason), here Frost creates a seamless collaboration of performer and interpreter, each singer and each player fully and sensitively inhabiting their respective nuanced parts. And the recorded result defiantly stands apart from the realm of traditionally “classical recordings”, framing in the highest definition every moment of this studio performance - the confrontationally close breath of strings and vocalist alike push and pull against a range of digital shapes and textures.
The Wasp Factory is not too far from those albums in terms of continuity with Frost's thematic obsessions. Like Sólaris, which was inspired by another so-called "sci-fi" novelist's literary masterpiece, The Wasp Factory asks what it means to be a human being, and what happens when that human being gets lost in the labyrinth of his own psyche. And like AURORA, and By the Throat, it asks where—and whether—the boundary can be drawn separating the human animal from the terrible, destructive brutality of nature.
Born in 1980 in Melbourne, Australia, Ben Frost relocated to Reykjavík Iceland in 2005 and working together with close friends Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nico Muhly, formed the Bedroom Community record label/collective.
Frost regularly works with other musicians and artists; in the production of studio albums such as Tim Hecker’s Ravedeath 1972 and Virgins, SWANS The Seer, Colin Stetson’s New History Warfare, and on various Bedroom Community releases. On the stage Frost has produced scores for Choreographers including Wayne McGregor/Random Dance, Akram Khan, and german Director Falk Richter. In film, he composed the score for the Palme d ́Or nominated Sleeping Beauty by Julia Leigh, and Djúpið by Icelandic Director Baltasar Kormákur (with Daníel Bjarnason, for which the pair won the Icelandic film award for best score in 2013). And in the visual arts, where, with artist Richard Mosse, Frost travelled deep beyond the frontlines of war-torn Eastern Congo to produce The Enclave; a multi-channel video and sound installation that premiered at the Venice Biennale in 2013.
2013 also marked the première of Frost’s first Opera, based on Iain Bank´s infamous 1984 novel The Wasp Factory. The project also marked his debut as a Director.
These various collaborations and alliances underline Frost’s continuing fascination with finding ways of juxtaposing music, rhythm, technology, the body, performance, text, art -beauty and violence- combining and coalescing the roles and procedures of various artistic disciplines in one place.