Ben Frost describes his music as “not fully controlled, violently competing against its creator,” with his new album The Centre Cannot Hold being an “exercise in restraint and endurance.” Frost layers acoustic and electronic instruments, drums, and samples, then chops and processes them until they stack into walls of sound that tread the line between intense electronic, acoustic, ambient, and straight-up industrial noise. Instruments constantly sound like they’re on the verge of breaking down into static, only to roll back at the last minute and give way to another set of sounds. “Ionia,” the album’s most accessible track, features a slow-building soundscape of shaky synth loops, finally giving way to rattling percussion and an intense crescendo of bells and chimes, distorted beyond recognition. Frost‘s production skills allow the overtones and dynamics of every instrument to shine, even in the heaviest of mixes. Closer “Entropy In Blue,” the album’s densest cut, demands the listener’s attention as its pounding drum loops breathe against intense drones and gentle echoing ambiance. As the song goes on, the mix mutates as filters and effects turn the soundscape into a smothering wall of soft noise. Frost‘s music has always been an exploration of pure sonic power, through volume, dynamics, processing, or all of the above, but The Centre Cannot Hold marks the first time he has struck such a powerful balance between the precise and the uncontrollable, the organic and the artificial.

-Andrew Bennett