Martyn

The Air Between Words

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After Ghost People, the 2011 product of his brief association with Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label, Holland-born, Washington, D.C.-based producer Martijn Deykers studied Taoism and junked his software. As a listener, he went back to '80s pop -- including, quite possibly, Tears for Fears, whose xylophone line from "Change" was seemingly sampled for the 2013 single "Be My Own Pupil." (Or maybe the reference was a shot at EDM superstar David Guetta, who definitely sampled "Change" for "Always.") Limiting his tools to analog gear fostered the development and completion of Deykers' third Martyn album, his first for Ninja Tune. Despite the different approach, it doesn't sound worlds apart from Ghost People, as it amalgamates house, techno, and dubstep with intricate, physical, and hard-to-classify results. There are two fine collaborations. "Glassbeadgames" is a shuddering, yearning dancefloor track made with Kieran Hebden, while "Love of Pleasure," featuring Copeland (as in Inga Copeland), is the closest the album gets to synth pop, a chilling cut with stamping percussion that recalls that of a Number of Names' proto-Detroit techno one-off "Sharivari." The sounds here are a little richer than the ones heard in Martyn's two previous albums -- even when he strips all the way down for "Two Leads and a Computer," which recalls early Chicago house. The stomping, probing "Drones," a monster of a track, sounds more like the product of immersion in early-'70s Herbie Hancock and As One's Hancock-inspired Planetary Folklore. This album's depth and excellence -- only the tedious "Like That" falls short -- suggest that Deykers should consider going all analog all the time.

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