LONG PLAYER OF THE DAY: Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason, ‘SÓLARIS’

The Artist/Album: Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason, SÓLARIS (Bedroom Community, 2011)

The Reason(s) We Can’t Stop Listening: The eerie, deeply emotive subtleties of this alternate reality soundtrack–cut for the cult favorite Solaris–passed right through us when we first saw it performed at Unsound‘s New York festival. Not because Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason can’t string a composition together. (They’re actually two of Iceland’s strongest rising stars.) No, the problem was Brian Eno’s visuals, which fell surprisingly flat despite his efforts to turn Andrei Tarkovsky’s stunning sci-fi film into “another strange loop of computer-generated distortion.”

Taken on its own, SÓLARIS is one of the year’s most sinister song suites, a startling miasma of prepared piano, cutting chords and strings that seem to be strangling your speakers ever so slowly. And when all those taut terror tactics suddenly segues into pure silence near the end, it’s as if you just watched something truly awful happen and the clouds parted at a moment that can only be described as “too late.”

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