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Music Review: Justin Martin “Ghettos & Gardens—Remixes Vol. 2” via dirtybird

Review: Justin Martin “Ghettos & Gardens—Remixes Vol. 2” via dirtybird

On December 10th, 2012, Christmas comes early to fans of Justin Martin and his extended dirtybird family. A second harvest from the fertile crop of Ghettos and Gardens, the younger Martin brother's debut full length. Though the first volume is definitely a tough act to follow, with re-works from the likes of Danny Daze, Catz n' Dogz, French Fries, Dusky, Leroy Peppers and Bachelors of Science, the second edition arguably raises the bar further.

Starting off with Claude VonStroke re-imagining the title track as a “Beverly Hills Coyote Mix,” the token contemporary “deep house square bass” is sped up to an infectious, warm and undulating melodic component. Not to be outdone, Eats Everything's “Reruff” of “Ruff Stuff” borrows UK funky rhythms and drops into something really nasty with stuttering samples, massive subs, and tight, rolling kicks. Leroy Peppers (the artist formerly known as Christian Martin), leaves the house music realm with a surprisingly playable drum n' bass version of “Don't Go”—a real nod to the San Francisco roots of dirtybird. This is a really beautiful way to end a night or a mix. The album rolls on, however, with Tanner Ross's take on “The Gurner,” Justin Martin's collaboration with PillowTalk. A powerful juxtaposition to the previous track, this is a sexy pop song, entirely different from Danny Daze's swirly, bouncing old school electro on Remixes Vol. 1. Flowing forward, “Pezzners Water Mammal Version” of Molokini is a squelching, chanting, stomping exercise in self-described “eccentric techno,” absolutely joyful. Kill Frenzy, dirtybird's wild Belgian wunderkind of “Booty Clap” fame, starts his remix of “Butterfies” quite unassumingly, but manages to accelerate into (appropriately) a ghetto-bass frenzy in just over five minutes.


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Shamelessly returning once again to drum n' bass, the Martin Brothers come together for “Riding Spaceships,” here revved up and freaked out by Shadow Child in his aptly named “In Search of 94” mix. Closing out the remix album is Lopazz and Willis Haltom's version of “The Gurner.” Deep yet subtle and certainly effective for building a dancefloor, it's a great closer to an album with such a wide spectrum of genres and feelings.

All of the tracks on Ghettos and Gardens Remixes Vol. 2 are solid—many of them exceptional, even. What makes the collection stand out, as a whole, is the unapologetic weirdness with which all of the remixers are allowed to shine. It feels like everybody involved was encouraged to be themselves while perhaps trying something unexpected and truly original. This in itself is a real demonstration of dirtybird ethos. Highly recommended.

Listen to a preview of Ghettos & Gardens Remixes Vol. 2 here.

Here's a preview of Vol. 1 in case you missed it:

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