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Theory of Machines

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Forced Exposure
  • ASIN: 5557898557
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Format: Audio CD
I've been listening to his 5 track album over the last year; Theory of Machines, and I do believe I've rarely been more moved by any group of tracks in the entire stretch of my existence. Of course my existence is limited to myself, and your eclectic selves may have delved deeper into your own souls than I ever could imagine. But by God the frustration of emotion and the release contained within are enough to feel as though completely forgotten parts of myself are awoken to weep and bask in the cleansing water that only a mortal imagination can conjure.

Released by Valgeir Sigurðsson's Bedroom Community label, the album contains 5 tracks, which really are best heard as one. Two titles at least show a distinct nod of the head to the amazing band Swans, but they are much more than a tribute. Modestly he thanks Michael Gira, but Swans never made this piece, and I never would think it any different, or even that it could be. This exceeds anything I have heard before in the forms it has taken up. It speaks in a universal language of sound (He's from Australia, writes & records in Iceland and works with international collaborators) and symphonic narrative harking right back to classical composition, but exceeding it in both instrumentation and style. It exceeds post-rock, in being so instrumentally ambiguous and electronic that there is very little in the way of individual motifs but more sounds that are made to speak to each other, everything is far more where it should be, it doesn't reject form, it just doesn't address it. In most music, from electronic dance to folk, there are different instruments operating on various frequency levels and in separated sections.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
some good tracks but a bit of a struggle to sit through as an album
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.8 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Still too much static 19 Aug. 2015
By T. Cue. - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This has too much static mixed over the other sounds, but even without it, it wouldn't be complex enough to merit its own listen. The occasional presence of static ruins your ability to put it on, because unless you're constantly monitoring the volume, a sudden burst of static can break everyone's eardrums...and if you turn it down low enough to save yourself from the static, you can't hear anything else.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Headphone Commute Review 7 Dec. 2007
By Headphone Commute - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can only describe Theory of Machines as ambient hardcore. Australian born Ben Frost builds walls of noise that rise steadily and slowly, and come crashing down on command. Now residing in Reykjavik, Frost exploits all of the extreme properties of sound. Psychologically raw, punishing, and overdriven guitars, with reverberated pads and rhythms mutate into the white noise and back, sending chills that originate deep from within the ear canal and slide down to the toenails. Frost often made me scratch my ear canal and occasionally get up to check the monitors that sounded blown out, emitting graceful static. Coming from a rock background, and being a member of a band called School of Emotional Engineering, Frost is not particularly interested in electronic music, and rather relies heavily on dark minimalism and industrial noise to compose truly one of the most interesting and irreversible memory imprints of the year.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 25 Jan. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Fantastic album
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric and edgy 2 Jun. 2008
By C. Lee - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My first experience with Ben Frost was on the Mary Anne Hobbs show on BBC Radio One, and I was completely floored by it - I had to almost immediately track down the album that was being promo-ed. Theory of Machines was basically everything I heard on the program, minus the excellent violent section, and every single second of it is as glorious as I remember. From the hard, edgy sounds of the eponymous title, to the driving pulse of Stomp, to the subtle intricacies of Forgetting You is Like Breathing Water, you'll find yourself completely taken and lost in the deep, introspective aural soundscapes.

Ben Frost is fantastic and this album is probably one of the best in 2007; it's easily worth the money you lay down for it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Distorted and lovely 27 April 2007
By somethingexcellent - Published on
Format: Audio CD
When friends of mine kept recommending Ben Frost, I knew that it was an artist I should seek out (as my friends most often know more than I do), and after hearing his album Theory Of Machines, I'm glad that I did. The second release on the fledgling Bedroom Community label, it's also the third release from Frost, and finds him pushing even further into powerful audio explorations that sounds something like Tim Hecker with occasionally punishing rhythms. He examines textures and timbres in lovely, and sometimes disturbing ways over the course of five tracks and just under forty minutes, mixing pastoral beauty with gut-churning blasts in other places.

The album-titled opener "Theory Of Machines" sets the tone with a super-slow build of filtered guitar that's almost crystalline in places. Eventually, slow-morphing sludgy bass enters the mix and the track builds to a powerful climax of screaming guitars and overdriven beats about two-thirds of the way through before melting into ambience again. "Stomp" follows, and takes a slightly different direction, with programmed beat thumps banging across a more barren landscape while distance waves of noise only creep into the foreground during a crunchy ending.

"We Love You Michael Gira" conveys a similar sense of dread as many tracks on the album, and this time Frost pulls it off by again barely keeping waves of feedback under control for the first half of the track before letting loose with a repeating high tone (that resembles a medical device warning sound) and some beats that are absolutely coated in feedback and on the verge of breaking down. A string coda at the end of the song does nothing to lighten the mood.

If the former track was barely-contained violence, then "Coda" is where things let loose with any pent up energy. The two-minute track is all scorching guitar noise, red-lined bass pulses, and hammering drums that finally blur out at the end. Given all that came before it, it seems only fitting that the closer of "Forgetting You Is Like Breathing Water" takes things down a great deal to warm repeated tones, filtered drones, and some subtle strings that sound something like a more layered version of the minimal pulse-tone work that Oren Ambarchi has mastered. Even though it's a shorter album, Theory Of Machines is by no means a light listen. With several moments that will make your hair stand up on end (both for sheer beauty and dread), this is definitely worth seeking out.

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