- If a remix EP is only as good as its remixers, then Ben Frost's V A R I A N T has a hell of a lot going for it. Kangding Ray, HTRK, Regis, Evian Christ and Dutch E Germ transform selections from the Reykjavík-based experimentalist's stunning A U R O R A LP, using its thunderous percussion and icy textures in five distinctive ways. HTRK's dubby, druggy "Venter" remix is the only one that warps the source material beyond recognition; Frost's way with sound is so potent and sharp that V A R I A N T often sounds like an assortment of one-off collaborations.
Kangding Ray and Regis take on the searing, ghostly souls of "No Sorrowing" and "Nolan" respectively, transporting them into turbulent techno structures. The former anchors tumbling toms and gales of white noise to a strict 4/4 rhythm, while the latter never shies from fading its rhythmic churn into drifts of mangled frequencies. Both make a strong case for Frost focusing his skills with mood and sound design on the dance floor.
Dutch E Germ's largely beatless remix of "Venter" isn't content to settle into a formless holding pattern. It uses flash cuts, silence, sudden outbursts and ominous clatter as if it were a slasher flick. Evian Christ's version is also sinister, but it lifts a synth pattern from the original to add a strangely angelic glow. It doesn't sound like something Ben Frost would have a hand in, but the heavy, pitch-black hip-hop provides an ideal counterbalance to his violent intangibles.
A1 Venter (Evian Christ TF 12" Mix)
A2 Venter (Dutch E Germ Remix)
A3 Venter (HTRK Remix)
B1 No Sorrowing (Kangding Ray Remix)
B2 Nolan (Regis Self Medicating Edit)