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Press Reviews for V A R I A N T

Seven months ago, Icelandic electronic producer Ben Frost released his newest LP, A U R O R A. It was a dismal, unnerving, and intense ride into a space-themed ambient playground, where Frost managed to combine all the rhythm and beats of dance music with the bombastic, in-your-face influences of post-punk and noise rock. In addition to that, Frost recently collaborated with several other producers to create a remix EP, entitled V A R I A N T. At just five tracks long, and with three of them being the exact same song with a different producer each, it’s very apparent from the start that V A R I A N T is just a complementary side dish to the main course that was A U R O R A. In other words, don’t expect to listen to it and feel “full” if you haven’t already heard its parent album.

With all of that being said, it’s quite interesting to see how each producer puts a different spin on their respective song. Kangding Ray is arguably the strongest link here, as he manages to take the relatively unimpressive “No Sorrowing” and transform it into a seven minute long techno jam, with just enough grit to meld both styles together successfully. That’s not to underscore the rest of the lineup, though. Evian Christ, Dutch E Germ, and HTRK all manage to successfully experiment with “Venter”, with each giving an interesting take on the track. Christ incorporates more dance and hip hop-oriented beats into his version, while Germ plays off of the more ambient parts of Frost’s sound to create a surreal soundscape. Ultimately, though, it’s the addition of industrial and techno elements by Regis on “Nolan” that really stands out, making the remixed track both groovy and simultaneously ominous. All in all, V A R I A N T is a collection of remixed songs that does its job perfectly as an accompanying part to Ben Frost’s interstellar expedition, and successfully displays the skills of every producer without compromising any real flow or dragging on at any point. Truth be told, if this is how Ben Frost sounds when he gets lost in space, it’d be a real shame if he ever found his way back.

Sputnik Music (December 16th 2014)

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