EMPAC - Ben Frost



The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Troy, NY


Ben Frost Performance

Ben Frost

Shahzad Ismaily - Special Guest
Gregory Fox - Special Guest
Argeo Ascani - EMPAC Curator, Music
Ian Hamelin - Project Coordinator
Daniel A Swalec - Lighting Director
February 7, 2013 | EMPAC Goodman Studio 1

Ben Frost’s music is not just heard; it’s felt. Influenced by classical minimalism as well as punk rock and metal, he creates monolithic sounds that command attention through their visceral intensity. Keenly aware of listeners’ thresholds, Frost exploits every extreme of pitch and volume as he pushes the sound of electric guitars, drums, and laptops out from a wall of speakers and amps. As the music unfolds, overlapping layers and elongated structural forms emerge from within the encompassing sonic space.

text and logo from the EMPAC website
 photo by Kevin (Yiming) Chen courtest of EMPAC


Technical Project Notes:

For this performance, Frost gave an exclusive preview of material that is being developed for his next studio album. As my first real opportunity to light an event at EMPAC, I was very fortunate to work with the artists to come up with a visual atmosphere that allowed the audience to experience the music without overpowering them with any added visuals. By utilizing EMPAC’s color-blaze 72” LED xtures to back-light the GFRG acoustic tiles designed into the space to create a negative mosaic e ect in a deep blue. Further performance lighting was provided by three 500w Selecon RAMA fresnels on stands, 1 as a high-side / back light for each of the three performers. These tungsten fixtures as well as five Source Four PAR MFL fixtures on floor plates were left warm to provide a contrast with the US blue wall. A steep back light (with a full CTB gel) from the venue’s tension grid provided some separation between the performer and the ‘backdrop’. The atmosphere of the room was further adapted by replacing the venue’s houselights with an array of Source Four Zoom Fixtures with break-up templates and CTB gel to help connect the artists to their audience.

 photo by Daniel A. Swalec


To download a PDF synopsis of my work on this project please click the download button below.




EMPAC | Spring 2013 | Season Video