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Any debts owed to Frost’s recent and hauntingly sparse album A U R O R A are paid in full during these five equally minimal remixes. And in the 28-minute running time of this handsome-looking EP they also reveal a surprise – that Frost, for all his love of icy minimalism, is actually quite busy in the mix. So when his ideas are spliced up and isolated on Dutch E Germ’s woeful remix of “Venter”, they get lost without Frost’s obscure sonic glue holding things together. It’s a back-handed compliment but shows that the Australian musician’s deft touch cannot be denied.

Flip the record and Regis’ so-called ‘self medicating edit’ of “Nolan” flips the script on Frost. Here, Karl O’Connor teaches him a lesson on how to maximise the space and the groove in a song, rather than just rely on the cheap shock tactic of bludgeoning the high end to push things along. Not that Regis can talk too much about a good treble bashing given his British Murder Boy days… but he successfully amplifies the tune’s throbbing bassline and enhances its crackling harsh ambience to drive its motorik pulse to a thrilling windup.

With the lows and highs out of the way, the three other mixes sit somewhere on the fence. Two are meditative and decent: Kangding Ray tackles “No Sorrowing” and embellishes it with a garish, if hypnotically, metronomic 4/4 beat; the other from HTRK creates a deceptively patient and expansive take on “Venter” that concludes with a real climactic rush. Both are worth a listen. And both make Evian Christ’s sub-four minute take of “Venter” (yes, the third remix of that song on the EP) even less necessary.

Have we learned much from this exercise about the music of Ben Frost? I think so. Sure, it’s not obvious remix material due to its already fragmented sound world that borders on the edge of decay itself. But this mixed bag of remixes shows just how intense and fragile Frost’s compositions really are with the slightest nudge – however well-meaning – seemingly able to topple his aural sculptures. However, in the hands of the masterful Regis, we discover that those limitations can prove to be a gift to those who, like Frost, revel in the perverse art of sonic deconstruction and reconfiguration.  

Line Of Best Fit (December 4th 2014) ★★★★★★★

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