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  • Filed under: Review
  • 03/19/2012

Martyn "Hello Darkness"

It came as quite a surprise that Martyn's sophomore album, Ghost People, was something of a polarizer between fans of the techno-informed dubstep (or was that dubstep-informed techno?) that characterized his first full-length, Great Lengths. Maybe his second record was more or less "basic," stylistically speaking, but it was also responsible for providing 2011 with two of its strongest floor-fillers: the unprecedented choon of a tune "Masks" and "We Are You in the Future," an epic homage to dance music's history that claimed the LP's last nine minutes. So, despite whether you think Martyn's latest could or could not have been better, the DC-based producer certainly deserves a victory lap, which is basically what the "Hello Darkness" 12" is.

This time around, the naysayers are in luck; "Hello Darkness" is an ominous cut that finds more in common with Martyn's debut album than its follow-up. He builds the production around a skipping rhythm that knocks incessantly with hollowed-out kicks and messy claps fashioned from the leftover wooden shards. It brings to mind the mysterious chill of "Natural Selection," "Seventy Four"'s cyclical bassline, and the heavy sway of "Far Away"—though with more of the neon sheen Martyn used throughout Ghost People. From a distance, "Hello Darkness" sounds like it could've been a fitting b-side for both albums, but repeated plays solidify its place as a sort of missing link between the genre experimentalism of the former and the bouts of classicism from the latter. That said, it's not a huge shock that—for whatever reason—the song didn't make it onto either tracklist.

The b-side of the 12" holds two remixes, a massive rework of "Bauplan" from Night Slugs honchos L-Vis 1990 and Bok Bok and an even lengthier version of "We Are You in the Future" by fellow 3024 compatriot Redshape. While the masked producer's heavily percussive track takes the prize for the most dancefloor-friendly of the two, the "Bauplan" remix is kind of a force to be reckoned with. L-Vis and Bok Bok transformed what was essentially a long interlude from Ghost People's tracklist into a larger-than-life tune—complete with churning drum machines, oversized bass growls, infectious synth melodies, and snappy percussion. It doesn't necessarily overshadow Martyn's original production on the flipside, but damn if it doesn't rival the sonic weight and stylistic inventiveness of "Hello Darkness."

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