BEN FROST & DANíEL BJARNASON: Sólaris (Bedroom Community)


Posted on Dec 8th 2011 01:40 am

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Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason: Sólaris

Bedroom Community 2011
11 Tracks. 46mins08secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Bedroom Community’s long serving prince of noir Ben Frost and recent roster addition Daníel Bjarnason have joined forces for a project which takes them beyond their respective sound. Originally created for the 2010 edition of Unsound Festival, and based on Polish writer Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 novel Solaris and its 1972 loose adaptation by Andrei Tarkovky, this work combines powerful orchestral sequences and discreet electronic textures into a haunting and intimate soundtrack.

Recorded with Sinfonietta Cracovia, the creative process went through a series of stages, from original live improvisations by Bjarnason and Frost to the final score, written from data collected as these improvisations were fed into a computer and irremediably altered. This radical process is ultimately eclipsed by the very nature of the music resulting from it; deeply introspective, nuanced and emotionally charged, Sólaris is a magnificent piece of modern classical music. The pair steer clear from intentionally sweeping themes and favour instead a permanent state of decay where melodies are suggested rather than imposed, and often appear fragmented and crisscrossed with interferences and distortions. This rampant wasting process is particularly vivid in the second part of the record, especially on Unbreakable Silence, where the strings appear caught in a permanent state of shiver, and on the rarefied soundscapes of You Mean More To Me Than Any Scientific Truth and Saccades.

Frost’s contribution is totally unlike the post-industrial abstraction of Theory Of Machines or By The Throat, echoing Bjarnasson’s extremely detailed and understated arrangements. Here, his presence is felt more through atmospheric touches than in concrete terms, whether it is textural soundscapes upon which the orchestra builds up, like the distant chilling wind heard on Cruel Miracles, or occasional fragments of corroded electronics on Hydrogen Sulfide or You Mean More…, yet there is a feeling of utter desolation sipping through the whole record which is close to that felt on By The Throat.

Sólaris is a subtle and sombre response to Lem’s dystopian tale, but while its mood is undeniably subdued and reflective, Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason transcend their respective sonic realm to create a particularly haunting and moving soundtrack which doesn’t require the support of the film it was composed for to exist as a piece of work in its own right.


Ben Frost | Daníel Bjarnason | Bedroom Community
Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

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