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Martyn Great Lengths Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

The confidence evinced by Great Lengths is remarkable.

Colin Buttimer 2009

He may not be quite as big a name in the domestic mainstream as Caspa or Rusko, but Martyn is certainly one of the most critically-feted dubsteppers this side of Burial. Though Martijn Deykers may have indulged in a touch of groan-worthy humour when naming his debut long player, the contents are both deadly serious and a lot of fun.

Great Lengths crowns a succession of 12"s released over the last four years and a couple of their highlights are included here (Natural Selection and Vancouver). Those unfamiliar with Martyn's output should note that his productions favour the UK Garage-derived end of the dubstep spectrum rather than the grinding half-step and tsunami bass of the aforementioned Caspa. Don't be deceived though, Martyn's bass would floor an unwary elephant, it just doesn't hog the spotlight because there's so much else going on including deft production, varied textures and excellent programming.

Seventy Four is a fascinating example founded on a wisp of birdsong and a sigh that's bound fast to a 4/4 house stomper. It's not a million miles from Herbert's tech-house remixes and delivers a long, slow build-up of tension. Where the debut of Martyn's compatriot 2562 was disappointingly efficient and ultimately uninvolving, Martyn achieves a much greater degree of emotional depth. This is exemplified by the likes of the short piano track Bridge and the beatless penultimate track, Orange. Martyn's productions may offer up an anodised sheen, but they're never anodyne. There's a subtle connection between the music and early 90s Jungle hinted at in Martyn's sound.

The confidence evinced by Great Lengths is remarkable. Be warned though, the brisk precision, razor-sharp syncopation and detailed soundscaping of Great Lengths may have you grinning inanely. If that's a problem, do your listening in private. This is sunny, hugely contemporary music that'll be booming from a sub-bass equipped chariot overtaking you sometime this season.

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