Mlada Fronta – Oxydes

What a stunning release! Both the visual side and the aural aspects are very well taken care of. This double cd is of a remarkable quality, especially considering the fact that is the first release of Parametric, a new French label. Mlada Fronta, also from France, is appararently in a productive phase. Its previous album “Fe2 o3”, also a double album, was released by M-tronic at the end of last year. Rémy Pelleschy, mastermind behind Mlada Fronta, left M-tronic a while ago, to start his own label Parametric, together with two partners. The next planned release on this newborn label will be a double cd by Mimetic, so that will be something to look out for as well.

“Oxydes”, the word has something to do with chemical rusty reactions, well, there surely is a lot of chemistry on this release! All songtitles are also named after chemical elements, like ‘CO’, ‘H2O’, etc. The splendid booklet contains great photography, close-up imagery of rusty, corroded objects. They are shot in a way that gives them a technoid feel, but at the same time the objects are given a lot of space. These photos fit in well with the atmosphere of the music, which has a technological atmosphere, but also gives you room to breathe.

Cd 1 contains 12 new tracks, with a electronica based sound. At times heavy rhythms emerge, but there are also many impressive subtle passages. The production sounds perfect, very clear and powerful. There is something on “Oxydes” for every mood, for energetic movement but also for introspective moments. Many tracks follow a ‘less is more’ principle. Although the term ‘minimal’ would not be at its place (therefore the music is too varied), Mlada Fronta hardly ever uses a superfluous sound, there is no cluttering of numerous layers. All sounds and beats are used economical but with maximum effect. “Oxydes” is a rewarding trip through an abstract technoid landscape, which is not a threatening one. I recommend a listening turn with good headphones on, for maximum effect.

The basses can be quite heavy at times, which gives some songs a massive sound. There are also a few noisy bits, but not too many, the sound remains clear and melodic. Occasionally a few voice samples emerge from beneath the electronic surface. Despite the variety this cd gives a feeling of unity, it is hard to pick out separate tracks. Most danceable, fast-forward track is probably ‘ NO’. So far I’m mostly impressed by the slower sounds of ‘SnO’ and ‘TiO’, the 8th and 9th tracks. Perhaps some more personal favourites will emerge if I listen to this release more often, there is enough to discover.

Cd 2 contains 8 remixes, 2 by Mlada Fronta itself, the others by Tarmvred, Mimetic and a few lesser known acts. These mixes are a bit more suited for the industrial dancefloors, though many stay close in atmosphere compared to cd 1. I very much liked the mixes by Gom and Dither, both with a lot of tension, and the highly danceable power-techno of Milligramme. The very noisy mix by Tarmvred is bit harder to digest. Deviating but very weel done is the track by Data Raper, which reminds me more of EBM acts like Mentallo, Gridlock or Mortal Constraint. In general this remix cd retains the high level of “Oxydes”. There are also a few unreleased live video tracks on this second disc.
Say no more!

artist: Mlada Fronta
label: Parametric
details: double cd in digipack, 12 + 8 tracks