Album of the Day: Martyn, “Voids”

To listen to Voids is to walk through a late-night rave in a dank warehouse on the most desolate side of town. This is a compliment. On 2014’s The Air Between Words, Martyn—the Netherlands-born DJ and electronic producer—packed his sound with large, sweeping melodies geared toward a broader audience. In prior years, on 2009’s Great Lengths and 2011’s Ghost People, Martyn was something of a throwback: he blended the raw funk-oriented sound of early ‘90s U.K. garage with the sparse arrangements of modern-day dubstep.

On Voids, Martyn revisits the foundation on which he earned his stripes, opting for a stripped-down sound that pulls in drum ‘n’ bass, post-dubstep and South African gqom music. He created Voids after suffering a heart attack, and as a result, the mood is overtly dark with brief glimmers of light. During his recovery, Martyn says he listened to jazz drummer Max Roach’s 1979 album M’Boom, which influenced the direction of his own work. “I could hear so much space in the music,” the producer told Mixmag, “something I had never noticed before … with the most striking aspect being the emptiness between the players.” Voids feels equally spacious, and on “Manchester,” Martyn churns straight-ahead house into a dedication for his recently departed friend, Marcus Intalex (aka Trevino). On “Why,” Martyn stacks the drums and quickens the pace, building a tropical groove with healing power. Closing track “Voids Two” seems to speak directly to the producer’s personal trauma: a sampled voice repeats “explosive decompression” amid an urgent mix of booming drums, haunting chimes and foggy synths. Equally aggressive and cathartic, the song brings the LP to a rightful close, signifying Martyn’s grand return to form.

-Marcus J. Moore

One Comment

  1. Posted June 28, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    I already ordered it

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