Loading... Please wait...

What A Mlada Fronta Review Means


A review turned up online this week that makes us proud to run a record label and excited for the artist involved. Mlada Fronta's career retrospective "Every Thing" 10CD boxset was reviewed by Canada's Exclaim! Magazine. What this means and why it should even be the subject of a rant is as important as the review itself, but just to get the basics out of the way, and for those who don't know Exclaim!, here are the raw details:

Exclaim! Magazine is (arguably) the Pitchfork of Canada. It's got a physical print version that is available just about everywhere in the country, and its website is a go-to place for taste-makers and music enthusiasts. Out of the 150 or so Artoffact releases, a total of three have been honoured to get a review in Exclaim! (including our very first release, which was a surprise, and, I suppose, beginner's luck).

On top of that, the review gives Mlada Fronta an amazing 9/10, a mark that's not often given in Exclaim!, enough to give Mlada a cute little exclaim-ation mark beside the review. Not bad. And if you go to the trouble of reading the review, you'll find quotes like "Fronta's architect (Remy Pelleschi, a virtuoso recording and mastering engineer) has ears as precise as a diamond cutter," so it's clear that Every Thing impressed.

But, aside from the show-off factor, there's a really strong reason that this review (which for all intents and purposes is just a drop in the music-press bucket) is the subject of this rant.


The review was written by Glen Hall, probably a name not too familiar to most readers of the Rant, and, truth be told, not a name that was on my radar until recently. Glen Hall is a Canadian jazz musician who was called "Canada's best kept secret" by Jazz Report, and also did a collaboration album with Gil Evans. At 60-something, he still plays around Canada and still gets tons of press (he's been in the Globe & Mail, Montreal Gazette, the Times, the Toronto Star, the Mirror...), and, well, he's a musical prodigy.

My emails back and forth with Glen have been beyond fascinating. He's genuinely interested in Mlada Fronta's work (in fact, murmurs of a Mlada/Hall collaboration are already bubbling), and he's immensely impressed with the boxset Artoffact put out. And that's really what I want to point out here: it's not industrial music; it's MUSIC. It's great music, in fact. And more and more this kind of spreading of the web is making sense to us here. It's making sense and it feels right. It makes sense and feels right that a jazz artist writes a review about an industrial-electronic boxset. It feels like a bridge has been built, and that's amazing. It's more or less what I've been trying to write in this forum: the industrial scene is not ignored, and when it's written about in the press it's not because some hipster wants to write a cool review; if industrial musicians and labels work at their own place in a wider music community, that community will embrace them.

It's really worth repeating: it's not industrial music, it's MUSIC.