After 15 years, several EPs and LP, a solid and notable career as “The King of Dub” house DJ and the founding of his own 3024 label, the Dutch-born/DMV-based DJ/Producer Marytn returns with the help of his best friends over at Brainfeeder for his latest effort, Ghost People.A natural progression for Martyn since he and leader of Brainfeeder label Flying Lotus have long been friends, collaborators and associates. Consciously taking a complete step in the opposite direction of his previous album Great Lengths, Martyn sites wanting to revisit a simpler time in house music and in his career as the inspiration behind this project. Stating that “this time nothing fancy or flashy…. just back to the roots,” he strips his sound down to house essentials; loop de loops, dub-step and jungle elements with a touch of dark, industrial influences throughout. Albeit with the obvious efforts that went into making this album (or perhaps lack thereof), there’s something about this project that unfortunately leaves me wishing for something more complete.
After the very verbal “Love and Machines” takes us through an introduction that doesn’t explain too much, Martyn delves straight into the dark sound and theme of this album with “Viper”, a track that sounds as if dubstep and industrial music mated in a German techno back in 1996… a sound that is seemingly built into this album. While “Distortion” and the title track sound promising and show the best of Martyn’s talents, the songs falls into the techno trap of looping and sounding exactly after a minute and a half. Nevertheless, the album does have stand out moments. Tracks like “Popgun” and “Horror Vacui” catch my attention and are decently constructed, but even so, there can be a general repetitiveness with very little variation or song structure to keep my attention for too long.
While this is still a decent album with better production than most, there’s a lack of cohesion and song structure on this album. Tracks are decent and well done, however… there seems to be very little need to develop the song into something broader and deeper, essentially happy with finding a hot beat and looping it with a few sounds alternating in and out for musical variation. And I hate to make comparisons between projects, but after hearing SBTRKTs effort earlier this year, my ears have been a bit spoiled when it comes to house and dubstep… and the creative heights it can reach if you do it right. In short, If you are a fan of Martyn, just need to dance, want some great work out music or need to zone out, this might be the thing for you. Otherwise… check out his Great Lengths before diving into this one. It might be better that way.