Ben Frost & Daniel Bjarnason


Barcode: 0880319536618

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Ben Frost & Daniel Bjarnason create their own soundtrack to the classic novel/film \’Solaris\’ with the help of the Krakow Symphony Orchestra.

SÓLARIS was commissioned by Unsound Festival Poland and was premiered in Krakow in October 2010 and has since been performed in Reykjavík Iceland, Krems Austria and Alice Tully Hall in New York. The album was produced and mixed by Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Feist).

Ben Frost is the protégée of Brian Eno. Frost’s 2010 LP BY THE THROAT was named in WIRE Top 10 Albums of the Year (as well as in my top 20 here in Diverse).

Daníel Bjarnason is currently working with Sigur Rós on their forthcoming LP. Ben Frost has been called “one of the most groundbreaking producers in the world today”.

Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason are two composers used to shrugging off the distinction between experimental sound-art and deeply felt melodies. Frost’s vast, blackened post-industrial works often crystallize in moments of quiet beauty before disintegrating in pure visceral noise; Bjarnason’s orchestral music marries brutal modernism to classical aesthetics one moment and soaring ethereal harmonies the next. And yet here, on the tail of two widely acclaimed releases; Bjarnason’s PROCESSIONS and Frost’s BY THE THROAT, we are given something all together new. A unique collaboration, SÓLARIS is a quiet, stilled and all consuming symphonic suite at once as affecting and uncanny as the science- fiction classic that inspired it.

The power of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris is not in its futuristic sets, or in the hypnotic shots of the alien planet’s weird, fluid surface, but it’s in the way the auteur juxtaposes his alien, futuristic elements against the intimately familiar. This is a future not just of flashing lights and video screens, but of wood and wool and leather, of dogs and horses, books and photographs. In Frost & Bjarnason’s SÓLARIS we do find the futuristic, gaseous atmospheres and pulses one might expect from a sci-fi soundtrack. Here they are carved instead from the warm, fragile sonorities of Sinfonietta Cracovia; one of Europe’s leading orchestras, a gently prepared piano whose harmonies warp and melt before transforming again—and waves upon waves of guitar.

Created through a unique series of processes, Frost & Bjarnason’s initial sketches — improvised to the film— were fed through software designed to correct music which tried to turn their dense and distorted sonic input into a digital sequence of raw musical data. Working from data riddled with error and misunderstanding, a human score was orchestrated; the whole process deftly mirroring the very core of the film’s own narrative of memory and loss, alien doppelgängers and emotional feedback loops.

Brian Eno — who consulted closely in the creation of SÓLARIS— also used the same film to create a video accompaniment to this music in another strange loop of computer-generated distortion. But here the score stands on its own.

SÓLARIS is a journey into an internal world; into the self; a flux of wonder, horror, sorrow and tenderness; and a ravishing sensory experience.

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Track Listings

01 We Don't Need Other Worlds, We Need Mirrors
02 Simulacra I
03 Simulacra II
04 Snow
05 Reyja
06 Cruel
07 Hydrogen Sulfide
08 Unbreakable Silence
09 You Mean More To Me Than Any Scientific Truth
10 Saccades
11 Veni

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