Gary Martin: This it & Galaxy Style (featuring Mark Broom & Rolando remixes)

Gary Martin: Well & We Get Down (featuring Robert Hood & DJ 3000 remixes)

From Franki Juncaj's (aka DJ 3000) Motech imprint we get two very satisfying EP-length supplements to Gary Martin's fine Escape From South Warren album, also on Motech. The EPs feature four cuts in total from the Detroit techno producer's album and in that regard act as samplers of sorts for the full-length, but they also include four remixes that argue strongly on their behalf as stand-alones.

It's telling that the Well & We Get Down set opens with a Robert Hood re-work of “Well,” a move that could be read as a nod of respect from one Detroit producer to another, or maybe it was given the pole position simply for being so incredible. Regardless, it's a prototypical Hood production, one uncannily identifiable as his from the get-go. To a greater degree than most, Hood has a way of tightening the knot, so to speak, until the tension's well-nigh unbearable and also finds a way to stay true to his minimal ethos whilst still satisfying the mind and body with all manner of stimulation. In the case of “Well,” Hood supplements a relentlessly pounding base with voice samples, the gospel-like first clearly defined from the outset whereas the second, a repeating utterance of the title, only gradually acquires definition (it's almost impossible to listen to the shape-shifting voice effect and not be reminded of similar treatments Steve Reich explored in the early pieces It's Gonna Rain and Come Out). Up next is Martin's “We Get Down” original, whose quasi-martial, claps-enhanced groove thunders as fabulously in this context as it does within the album's and which mesmerizes in the way its preacher-like voiceover celebrates house music as a way of life (“In the world of house and techno, this is how we get down, get down, get down...”). In an expertly calibrated makeover, DJ 3000 strips out the vocal, warms the beast with chunky synth chords, string-like washes, and an insistently swinging pulse, and works a slow-build into an epic climb. Martin's own “Well” is almost unrecognizably unlike Hood's but memorable, too, especially when Martin overlays the original's lockstep groove with ear-catching synth treatments and soulful vocal accents.

Like the Well & We Get Down release, This Is It & Galaxy Style opens with a remix, this one a thunderous take on “This Is It” by Mark Broom whose motorik pulse seethes with such determination it verges on gyroscopic. Martin's “Galaxy Style” works up a powerful fever of its own, this one tinted with a funkier edge and slathered with synth stabs and percussive detail (Santana-esque timbales, even), after which Rolando's version reconfigures the cut as a classic techno production, rhythms so tight they feel ready to snap and huge kick drum accents counterweights to ringing cymbals and synth blasts. Closing out the EP is Martin's own “This Is It,” a swinging, piano-sprinkled dynamo crowned by a series of blustery synth phrases sure to lodge themselves in your brain for days whether you want them to or not. As far as the two releases are concerned, come for the Hood contribution but stay for the seven others.

October 2015