To say I’m a fan of electronic dance music (although I do deplore the term EDM) is a colossal understatement. and this blog started as an outlet to share my affection. The very casual, part-time affair has grown since the first post in the summer of 2006 and with that growth came moderate success – purely due to the artists, producers, labels, and tunes featured on these pages. The blog evolved into a cog of a small portion of the music industry such that we receive an unmanageable number of emails – a figurative shit-tonne of submissions – so I normally don’t post material that’s not sent our way. I’d like to take a break from industry tonight, go back to the roots as it were, to focus on one album we didn’t receive any promo for.
Ladies and gentlemen (but probably mostly gentlemen), here is JUSTIN MARTIN’s Ghettos & Gardens.
The first time I heard JUSTIN MARTIN was back in 2006. The Martin Brothers (Justin and Christian) released The Martin Brothers EP on DIRTYBIRD – I fell in love with the a-side of this EP. To this day, “Stoopit” is probably my favourite and most often played tune. I’ve been following the likes of The Martin Brothers since.
On with it then.
Justin Martin’s latest Ghettos & Gardens dropped on Dirtybird earlier this week. As the title hints at, the entire album explores a dichotomy between melody and wumph. The opening track, “Hood Rich” starts with a brief booty rap cut into some ethereal strings, which build to a deep kick and subtle break. It’s followed up with a bassline so emotive it nearly brings tears to the eyes.
The second track, which also happens to be the second single, “Don’t Go” continues the trend. Although one might argue there is considerably less wumph, it still pounds albeit with a heart full of melancholy. “Butterflies” is considerably more gentle with its electro funk but manages to remain thick and chunky enough to stop the flow of water. “Molokini” follows a similar pattern except it progresses into a paralyzing dancefloor bomb.
The extended intro of the title track sweeps into a solid 4/4 before a crescendo of filters, then crashes into the big bass known to Dirtybird. This tune is big and the basslines are even bigger. One would think the repeated themes of beauty and power would grow tiresome, yet it’s done with diversity. Track after track is full of these gracious builds and jaw-dropping sonics. Justin Martin takes Goldie’s classic, “Kemistry” into territories where most bass hounds would hide with their tails between their legs. “Ruff Stuff” elogantly layers bass and beauty. Then there’s “Riding Spaceships,” a cosmic journey into Miami bass with Leroy Peppers (yes, that’s Christian).