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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Review Tue Nov 04 2014

Ben Frost Creates Panic at Constellation (10/31)

photo credit: Kelav Slavoran

As I left my apartment to see Ben Frost the other day, the weather shifted. The sky changed to a ominous shade of black. An inescapable coldness filled the air as flakes of snow fell from the sky, their luminous white color in stark contrast of the overwhelming darkness around them. It was beautiful.

Ben Frost is a minimalist composer based in Reykjavík who creates compositions primarily built around cold synthesizers, spacious feedback, and crisp drumming full of menace brought to you by former Liturgy drummer Greg Fox. Works such as "Secant" seem to viciously grab the listener, filling them a sense of magnetic dread which they are unable to look away from. His work has this unmistakable sound of ambient doom, also commonly heard in composers such as Wrekmeister Harmonies and Haxan Cloak which I find to be thrilling. If you're into the recent film scores of Trent Reznor, I'd recommend giving Frost's newest album, A U R O R A, a listen.

This past Friday, Ben Frost made a rare appearance. The last time he performed here was way back in 2010 during Sonar's residency in Chicago. Back in 2010, he played a random room downtown in the Cultural Center in the middle of the afternoon on a weekend to an assortment of fans who desperately wanted to be there and annoyed tourists that happened to be passing by. As this was happening, I couldn't help but think that would have been infinitely better in a club setting. That was more or less my feelings about the entirety of the Sonar residency, though. This past Friday, Frost returned to Chicago and played to a full house at Constellation.

photo credit: Kelav Slavoran

Hidden behind almost complete darkness and rapidly flashing lights that were intensely bright, Frost performed a collection of works throughout his career, but focused mainly on his newest album, A U R O R A. Tracks like "Flex" which were already incredibly anxious, found new itself attaining new heights of dread by the relentless visual barrage of darkness and light. Augmented by the depth of a full band, "A Single Point of Blinding Light" never sounded ever more strong and perilous. The sound was so strong, that several times throughout the performance, Frost lost power and the show momentarily stopped to address it.

photo credit: Kelav Slavoran

Frost ended his set with one the powerful pieces that he's composed, "Nolan." Fueled by the omnipresent visual barrage of darkness and light, the room found itself full of commandingly ominous drums and glitchy distortion to the almost breaking point. Suddenly, without warning, everything ended. In the best way possible, it seemed like a futuristic take on an ancient religious sacrificial ceremony. I walked back outside and embraced the cold.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

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