martyn ~ viper / masks on brainfeeder

the artistic merits of martyn’s work have never really been up for debate. instead, it’s simply been a case of – do you feel it? if you don’t, it’s certainly not for the dutchman’s lack of trying… early on his focus was toughened d&b, then came a sleek (and only loosely defined) dubstep stage before it was a good old four to the floor pulse that underpinned all his records for the likes of aus music, ostgut ton and all city. now, though – and as you should expect – he’s moved on again, this time to fly lo’s brainfeeder who will release the full length from which these singles are taken later this year. but rather than kowtow to that label’s leftfield hip-hop aesthetic, it’s techno and electro which seem greater preoccupations for the 3024 boss.

first track ‘masks’ hits, slides and rolls with a similarly forceful undercurrent to something skudge might knock out. it’s muscular and booming, but buried, light-emitting melodies and digitally processed keys turn the track’s brutish structures into something with a heavy and charming funk that delights with each rotation. and that’s the key – it’s built more from closed loops than endless lines, each one dropping into (and out of) the mix at just the right time to build and maintain momentum throughout.

‘viper (ghost people edit)’, meanwhile, smacks more of an instra: mental record with its unashamed display of raw machine sounds. built around a menacing, tensile and wrought iron synth, it’s an intense mood track which focuses on the contrast between light and dark. peppered with icy cymbals, glassy keys and other flashes of processed colour, there’s an arresting sense of sci-fi tension to the whole thing. the longer, london arches edit of the same track is as excellent as the ep opener. it’s a more syncopated rhythm this time, but one that draws out the tension of the ghost people edit into a bouncier, more elastic affair which swoops you up and drags you along rather than pins you down in one dark corner. firing muted acid belches and splashes of pixelated colour in from all directions, it’s a track which bristles boundlessly, just like the man behind it.

buy it

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