Ian Martin, Mechanical Rain

[Further Records]


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Rotterdam-based producer Ian Martin has had a reasonably extensive involvement with the scenes in his city and The Hague, recording for imprints like Bunker and Legowelt’s Strange Life and DJing on Intergalactic FM. His sound is a far cry from prototypical Dutch electro, though, veering much closer to ambient, soundtrack-style compositions. Judging by Mechanical Rain, his latest effort for Seattle’s Further Records, Martin is aiming to soundtrack some seriously creepy moments.

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The record picks up where Intensions, Martin’s previous LP for the label, left off. Where its predecessor occasionally incorporated some glimpses of meditative light, Mechanical Rain dives headlong into an unflinchingly grim landscape. A good portion is underscored by clipped semblances of beats that scurry and pop; clearly too frail to be the product of drum machines, they’re coupled with a haze of tape hiss, and the resulting backdrop is an unsettling dim flicker. “Drups” and “Wires” are the outliers, the former a relentless drone, the latter a mess of volatile bleeps atop pumping pulses buried deep in the mix.

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They’re only outliers in terms of rhythm (or lack thereof), as Martin sustains a sense of forlorn tension throughout. “Moving Activity” is as cinematic an opener as you could hope for, setting the scene with drifting, sinister, Badalamenti-esque pads. “Voice Of Space” is a seething mass of granular tones, and while it maintains the overall mood, it does echo its title, feeling more free-floating, less chained to the earth. On the flip, “Stream” is a lengthy, grim, guitar-stab-laden trance, and the title track ends proceedings with a resonant arrangement of lilting chimes, like some kind of technoid giallo score. Martin may not be making Dutch electro, but the bleak “bunker” mentality of transmitting from a metal box palpably translates on Mechanical Rain.

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