Electronic Tuesday: Martyn DJ Set- Detroit, MI
Words By Stevie Tee
Photos By Sean O’Donohue & Stevie Tee
Martyn first came up on my radar when he was added to the 2008 Camp Bisco line-up and there was a lot of hype surrounding his DJ performances and original productions in the electronic dance music scene as opposed to the jamtronica scene that is synonymous with Camp Bisco. At the time he was being billed predominantly as a dubstep DJ and his most recent show in Detroit was promoted by the Detroit Dubstep imprint. However, I doubt the word dubstep brings to mind anything characteristic of Martyn’s sound to the passive electronic music fan. The Netherlands DJ and producer who originally started mixing drum ‘n’ bass music and has evolved with the changing scenery in what is often referred to as ”bass-oriented music.” Where the words “grimey” or “womp” may describe what the average person’s concept of dubstep is, refined and deep are words that I would use to describe Martyn’s DJing. What is missing from Martyn’s sets that dubstep fans might be looking for is the heavy basses with high emphasis on LFO filters wobbling and womping and a set 140 bpm tempo along with the half-time snare. With Martyn’s past experience in drum ‘n’ bass, as well as his influences that range from 2-step garage to more minimal techno, he seems to be using dubstep as another genre of influence rather than a rule book or set of guidelines.
It was my first time being back to Oslo in several years and they’d really done a lot with it since then. The Detroit club is located on Woodward a couple blocks from Comerica Park and Ford Field underneath a sushi bar. With its literally underground environment and massive sound system, it’s no wonder that this is a hot spot for DJs to play but a couple years ago the club had an extra brick wall sectioning off the already small basement which made the place sort of awkward and ruined the sound. I’ve been told since I last came there, the club is under new management and knocked out the extra wall to expand the floor and improve the club’s acoustics. Thank god they did before this show, because Martyn’s sound was a wonder to behold. His deep low-range basses sounded clean and rich and my body would pulse with every kick drum. When any type of wobbling bass or light LFO filter waves were used it would hint at womping and pound out a new groove into the set and felt like a guitarist hitting a new strumming pattern. Many Dubstep DJs rely on these bass tricks to keep audiences hype through their whole set where Martyn only peppered them in for an interesting transition here and there. Martyn clearly has an appreciation for the regions accomplishments in the early stages of electronic dance music, giving nods to Detroit techno and Chicago house in his set. Seamlessly, he mixed those choices with more percussive off step garage sounding tracks and originals including one of his remixes of Flying Lotus. We left exhauasted shortly after 2 AM with martyn still wrapping up his set. It was my second time seeing this DJ and would recommend any fan of electronic music go check him out if you get the chance. Don’t worry about it being too dubstep or too techish because he blends all that and so much more in fine style.
Check out his album “Great Lengths,” his mix for Fabric and the mixes that I’ve posted links to below.
5.21.10: Martyn @ La Boum de Luxe, FM4 Radio.
Martyn Rob-Da-Bank Guest Mix.
(click to stream, right-click and “save as” to download)