Music Review: Justin Martin “Ghettos & Gardens” via dirtybird

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Ghettos-&-Gardens

2012 has already been a remarkable year for San Francisco's dirtybird records. Along with the Hatched compilation and accompanying tour celebrating the label's lucky seventh anniversary, the proud defender of modern-booty techno is releasing the first artist album from representative Justin Martin. This full-length is preceded by the first single of the same name, “Ghettos & Gardens.”

Perfectly encapsulating the tough-but-tender ethos of Justin Martin's production, the title track begins with undulating pads and filtered vocal samples creating a gentle growing of euphoria. The flowers of the namesake Garden seem to sonically bloom in the opening build. Cut to a thick wub-wub-wubbing bassline and heavily percussive break—ghetto indeed.

On the flip, “Hood Rich” opens with the proclamation that 'we gonna hit the spot, we gonna drop the jams!' (A fine start to any set), interrupted by melancholy, cinematic strings descending into an incredibly musical, multi-faceted track. Me attempting to describe the many elements of “Hood Rich” would come off as schizophrenic. However, the song really works. This is the cut.

It's refreshing to see an American label assert itself in the world of techno as a serious contender—without actually taking itself too seriously. With Ghettos & Gardens, dirtybird does just that.

Justin Martin “Below The Bassline” mix spring 2012