The Centre Cannot Hold
Under 30 years old: 5€
Under 18 years old: 3€
The last time that we welcomed Ben Frost to our theatre, in 2015, besides bringing us his Aurora in a version expanded through MFO, there was also a public confession that his composing and releasing albums no longer made any sense. His collaboration with other musicians and artists seemed, at that time, to have replaced the driving force that had led him to release such important works as By The Throat or Theory of Machines. It is in this apparent deviation from the norm that Ben Frost has written music for FAR and Black Marrow, two choreographies by Wayne McGregor and Erna Ómarsdóttir, respectively; Rainbow Six: Siege, the soundtrack for the game of Ubisoft; Fortitude, the TV series, currently on its second season; and Incoming, an installation by Richard Mosse, with whom he also worked for Channel 4’s Bombing ISIS documentary.
The Centre Cannot Hold therefore comes as a complete surprise, although we can understand that the recording of original albums has itself now become a deviation from the norm of soundtracks in recent years. Yet, as always, a record in the head of Ben Frost is not just an album of music: just like Aurora, this new work seems to be committed to inserting into his music his attraction for chromatic tensions, with blue dominating his spectrum. His music now has other sensations, less explosive and more patient, with a greater concern for creating subtle narratives, more distant from the fear that he previously instigated. There is now a staging of the sound, as if everything were being played on a fictitious and imaginary stage inside that very box that Ben Frost wishes to place us in. Restraints and performances that will certainly come from the many commissions that he has produced in the last few years.
But those who are looking for the adrenalin rushes of sound that he normally provides will have nothing to fear: The Centre Cannot Hold, produced by Steve Albini, transmits to us an electrifying tension, as if it were a gas that is permanently accumulating energy, putting pressure on the very limits of the space that it occupies. When he plays live, as we know, the great question that Ben Frost always asks us is this: are we just spectators, or are we positioned firmly inside his space? With the valuable help of MFO — which already plunged us deep inside Aurora, and also Tim Hecker’s Love Streams — we are guaranteed total immersion on this night.