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Sonic Router

Sonic Router 002 - A Dubstep Column For May
The Quietus , May 14th, 2009 04:48

Oli Marlow of the Sonic Router blog returns with his dubstep column, including an interview with May's big man, Martyn

Ought perhaps this merry May be re-dubbed the month of Martyn? After a slew of infectious vinyl releases on Hessle Audio, Tectonic and his own 3024 imprint, a few weeks ago he hit out at the world with his debut artist album, and we're still reeling from the aftershocks, trying hard to digest the static and return ourselves to something like normality.

Born in Holland, this Washington DC native, Martyn has been producing for years. Having started with drum and bass, he's now delving deep into the world of dubstep; and he's managed to keep his feet high up in the sling of woefully brilliant production that D&B demands. His new album, Great Lengths, is a true testament to his musical concept, from the album tracks down to the packaging and the beautifully brittle Erosie artwork.

Emanating a wonderfully personal and rolling style, the album clutches onto two-step drum patterns, wraps them in an array of gilded synthesizers and lavishly coats them in a delightfully warm and punchy bass varnish.*

In his own words: "It's a collection of tracks I wrote in the second half of 2008, which hopefully shows various aspects of my music, without losing my "sound" whatever that may be." We grabbed him ahead of his UK dates to ask him to give us a little insight into his world.

How did you get into the dubstep sound? What inspires you?

"Mostly through music by Kode9, Burial and DMZ really, they do very interesting things with garage, 2step and dub-reggae that don't sound retro, they keep it forward thinking. As long as I'm inspired by other music, movies, books, places I visit, I will keep feeling the urge to write music about those things."

The album launch parties went down a storm in London and Berlin. Are you excited about taking your 3042 sounds to your newly adopted home country the USA?

"Actually I did an album launch party in NYC recently (at Cielo) which was a wonderful night! The crowd was more house-minded there so the vibe was a bit different from the London and Berlin nights, but it's been really interesting, the way different crowds react to the music and the setting. All three launch parties have been as different from each other as the cities are where they were taking place. Maybe it's a metaphor for the diversity on 3024 as well!"

How does the artwork of Erosie reflect the music on your album and how do you two go about working together on all the 3024 releases?

We've been working together since long before 3024, and we know each other well on a personal level. Usually we discuss the themes of the music, what inspired the track and/or the track title, and Erosie turns that into artwork. It's usually a quite cryptic translation, we don't necessarily want to lay out exactly what a track means, but we want to bring across a vibe or emotion, so people can connect to the music as well as the art in a not-so-obvious way.

Now the album is finished what are you working on?

I just finished two remixes of Efdemin's 'Acid Bells', a two-year-old house track that I picked up when it came out. When the label (Curle) asked me to do a remix it took me a long time to deliver it (as my album came first), but now – finally - it's going to be released. I did a sort of soca beat remix and a beat less track for the flip, both based on the original Acid Bells riff. Apart from that I'm making new solo tracks, working together with Mike Slott (of Heralds of Change) on a 12" as well.

Sonic Router has also been sifting through the tempos and styles of Shortstuff. With a brand new release, 'Broken Harp', out on Bristol label Pollen, the close contemporary of Appleblim's Apple Pips signing Brackles has turned in a peach of a mix for Sonic Router, showcasing some of his upcoming releases and jumping the tracklist from Horsepower and Roska to Untold, Geoim and Micky P. Download his mix here

Speaking of Bristol (OK, tenuous link), Gemmy is on the eve of his second release. This time, though, it's coming from Planet Mu. While the A-side, 'Supligen', reworks similar synths and bass sounds as his track 'Bass Transmitter' (out on Punch Drunk a while back), the B-side, 'BT Tower Mast', pays homage to the M32 landmark with a cacophony of saw-edged bass and the type of impact every producer wishes their 17th bar could wield. If this drops in the dance, and the rig is up to scratch, it's certified smash material.

Gemmy – BT Tower Mast:

Jamie Vex'd has followed up his spectacular Scuba remix, 'Twitch', and his subsequent re-introduction to the bass scene — after a hiatus from his work alongside production partner Roly as Vex'd — with a demented slice of hip hop-tempo chaos. His new 'In System Travel' EP unfurls like a set of long lost Cannibal Ox instrumentals given a uniquely 'dubstep' twist and the kind of oomph you only get when packing a healthy slab of 80Hz bass weight, something The Bug knows his way around all too well.

Speaking of which, King Midas Sound is a new collaboration between Kevin Martin (The Bug himself) and writer/performer Roger Robinson. With an album in the pipeline for Kode 9's Hyperdub label, they're unleashing an EP of taster material in the form of the 'Dub Heavy Hearts & Ghosts' EP later this month. Containing three dubs that lust back to the soundsystems of yore, it's a heady exploration into enveloping bass textures and reverb-soaked siren melodies; definitely a brooding example of the project's awesome potential.

Most of the releases mentioned above are (or will be) available to purchase physically and digitally. Check your local record shops or online stores for details. More information of these releases and more can be found at