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mlada fronta
oxydes
parametric   2002
  see also
"high tension"
nkvd/mlada fronta interview
mlada fronta semi-official website
parametric website

album rating: 3
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submitted by anton on 21-Jul-2002

this is the fifth album for mlada fronta, and the first release on the newly created parametric label. the album comes in a stellar digipack continuing the oxides theme (being a second installment), complete with additional remix cd. the quality of presentation, together with the completeness and refinement of design and production really puts mlada fronta to the forefront of the genre, rivaling anything that has been done before.

oxydes is the album that slowly grows on you, I have been waiting with this review, feeling that anything I had to say would have been inadequate, not enough, until I fully get into this album, notice all the intricacies, all the moods, take account of my feelings in relation to each track.

the conceptual presentation of this album (from track names, to design and the quality of the music itself) should not be overlooked. slowly building deep atmosphere of this disk, alternating between complex layers of technoid rhythms and eerie ambience, fits so well with the grittiness of oxidized textures presented in the booklet. some of the slower tracks (that could really be classified as an idm with a touch of dark ambience and heavier, noisy rhythms) are probably among my favorites, but the rest of the disk works as a contrast, contributing to the whole atmosphere of one solid continuous landscape, evoking (probably inappropriate style-wise, but similar to its effect on me) the first impression from converter's shock front with its similar defiance of usual song structure if favor of more soundscape-like ambience.

hypnotic drill&bass, broken technoid rhythms overlaid with distant strings, polished ambience growing into compressed distorted patterns - the completeness of this work really puts it as a next step in the genre; granted, these motives were present for quite a long time in many works, but no one was able to express them with such force before.

the review cannot be complete without mentioning the excellent remix cd, a collection of material that could easily stand on its own, since there is not a single bad track. all remixes add an extra perspective, a different feel to the band's sound - from magnificent soundtrack-like themes of data raper, crunchy saturated explosions of tarmvred, complex shuffling of milligramme, to beautifully abstract arrangements by dither - the lineup speaks for itself.

as I was listening to this disk over the course of few weeks, I realized how cinematic it was, how incredibly visual it turned out to be - and not just the slower tracks with their almost sentimental emotional strings, but also the polished punchy heaviness of more aggressive pieces; this in itself as an interesting trend in the genre, extending the tracks into each other to create a work of almost classical proportions, moving from the standards of radio/tv-friendly pop music, cut into easily digestible pieces, to more engaging, complex work that this genre is really capable of. maybe it will take an album like "oxydes" to accomplish this (welcome and long overdue) shift in perception.


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