Martyn: Ghost People (Brainfeeder)
Martyn’s second full-length is a nice expansion of the sounds he explored on his highly lauded debut, Great Lengths. It starts off on the right note, a swirling sci-fi intro with a vocal from Space Ape, whose style and lyrics for me usually walk a fine line between wonderful and ridiculous. “Viper” hits the spot with its bad-ass FM synth bass, which sounds directly lifted from (or at least an obvious nod to) Front 242’s “Headhunter” single. Two tracks into an ostensibly bass artist’s album and not a single bass kick? That’s right… however, “Masks” fixes that rightly with a nice chunky house groove coupled with bleepy synth sprinkles. More often than not, Martyn’s tracks groove at a bobbing house tempo rather than the faster pace that most dub-tech-step-what-have-you has tended to flaunt. It’s something I’ve noticed over the last many months in general, though — artists who were locked in at 140+bpm seem to be slowing down. Maybe we’re all just getting too old for the fast and furious thing? Either way, I can dig it. The title track is especially cool in my opinion, with a detuned chord stab that recalls early 90s techno and the revival thereof through artists like Lone. Unlike Lone, however, Martyn’s tracks feel quite lean, not bursting at the seams in the same way that defines most of Lone’s repertoire. I like when he takes on synth music more head-on, like the busy sci-fi arp of “Bauplan” or the wonderful melodic closing track “We Are You In The Future.” Really nice stuff, a slick hybrid of nearly everything ‘cool’ right now, and he makes it work.
Check out the official video for “Viper:”