Kevin Richard Martin: Black

This is an album from the outskirts of Dub. Adjacent regions include beatless ambient music and a subgenre with the lovely name of doom jazz. Kevin Richard Martin is somewhat at home in all of these areas, making music and producing there and beyond in various contexts (including Techno Animal, Zonal, King Midas Sound, G36). He is involved in sound system culture primarily under the name The Bug. But just like his American cousin Bill Laswell, it doesn't matter what he tackles within his wide range of interests (including drone, post metal, dancehall): it is inevitably permeated by the experience of the Dub, which was first conveyed to the Brexilant, who now lives in Brussels, personally by Jah Shaka and the Disciples. His output has now grown into an entire network of development strands and collaborations, the complete presentation of which would require an organizational chart in DIN A1 format. In “Black” (Intercranial) various of his interests come together on a 76 minute long album, which will hopefully one day also be available in vinyl form. The hypothetical A-side would then probably contain two numbers loosely labeled “Ambient Dub without drums”. The melancholic arrangements evoke the Berliners' slowest moments Dub-Schmiede Rhythm & Sound, the enigmatic UK producer Burial but also the Münster snail-tempo band Bohren and the Club of Gore. Especially since Martin uses a double bass for grounding in the low frequency range. The individual sound events are placed so sparingly that each one trembles with tension. Additional suspense is created, especially in the 14-minute title track, by the relatively complex chord progressions for Martin's standards. This has its origins in the concept of the album, which is entirely dedicated to Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011. The music is, in a sense, composed around the empty space left by the singer. Interestingly, the distance to their actual band sound, which we associate primarily with the lush retro soul of Mark Ronson and the New York Dap Kings, could hardly be greater. Amy's "spirit" lives more in the bass notes and the chords wafting over them, in which the shape of her songs emerges without ever fully revealing themselves. Martin captures the essence of her music slowly. Like a painter who broadens a detailed detail of an oil painting with one stroke of the brush, Martin here stretches harmony, rhythm and melody into a broad band of swaying traces in which a very unique beauty is revealed. The result is slo-mo soul music that is second to none. Only in the fourth track “Love You Much, Love Too Much” does a drum beat sound after all this minimalistic hypnotic pulsation, which of course also indulges in slowness at 50 bpm. The tone is also set by more powerfully applied synthesizer colors and, if I'm not mistaken, by Martin himself on his “first” instrument, the saxophone. This would roughly define the sound parameters between which “Black” moves. Like many of the EPs and albums that Martin has released, especially since the Covid era, it initially sounds like introspective music for those slowed down moments at home. Individual parts – as a warmup, intro, outro or in the middle (suggestion: “Camden Crawling”) certainly work in the club, and are designed for exactly that. Kevin Martin is a sound fetishist, and nowhere does his obsession with frequencies, vibrations and full-body bass massage unfold for us consumers more clearly than on a capable sound system.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

24 replies to “Kevin Richard Martin: Black”

Hehe, sorry but that's a bit far off the mark. I would say that it is so far over the edge that it is already in free fall on the steep precipice.
I also really like intros that don't contain any essential features of music. At home I also like to put on a whole page by Klaus Schulze before starting with a mystical one Dub break through the synthesizer clouds and dissolve the almost unbearable tension with BASS AND (!) DRUMS and finally get into the groove. I understood the review to mean that from the fourth intro there was finally a bit of a drum beat, but I didn't even fear, let alone expect, that the entire album would feel like it continued without drum beats. Maybe you have to know Amy Winehouse a lot better than I do to find more in this ghostly synth veil than I do.
In principle, I don't care about the number of stars, but there are almost more stars “in the sky” here than you can marvel at in the southern hemisphere.
I'm not a musician, but give me a synthesizer and I can do that too. I can also use a brush to smudge a paint leak from Picasso in such a way that certain “art experts” (who are particularly familiar with “Hurz”) interpret it as art.
If it were to be available on vinyl, I wouldn't understand anything because that wouldn't be sustainable or something like that.
The only club I can imagine where something like this could possibly happen would be a swingers club ………….. as an intro, so to speak.

Ok, please don't get upset... that's just my way of expressing my confusion about an “IntroAlbum” from the edge of the abyss DubBlog with almost 5 stars, to describe. If this gets almost 5 stars, then even Ras Teo's weak album should get at least 500, although I also find that really yawning.

Best regards ……………………. lemmi

lemmi, I'm totally with you... for my taste, this record doesn't belong in this blog... to each their own, but I&I don't like!

Yes, it was very daring to put this in front of us. When it should actually be clear that we are addicted to bass AND (!) drums. And what makes it even more difficult for me is that for me bass is not just simple low tones, but a magical “bias line” and not just a bass line……. if you know what I mean.
This makes me feel like exaggerating a bit again:
There are currents or turbulences - especially in Germany - that want to re-educate us in a certain way. What I find worst is the “gender dictatorship” and such stupid demands as not being allowed to order any more gypsy schnitzel. And now they want to lead us completely on the wrong track by forcing us to watch completely stupid pseudo-sports on television and make a huge hype out of it.
Maybe I'm seeing this too closely, but I can recommend this “IntroData Album” all in one DubBlog, full of reggae and Dub Connoisseurs, something like an American football broadcast on German television! There may be people who don't know exactly what they want out of life, have tolerance for almost everything and apparently have no problem with American football being sold as great. At least 99% of the time they have this strange, unwieldy egg-plum jammed in their hand or somewhere under their arm. For me, the name of this is - how should I put it? – stupid game, the purest fake!
Ok, I'm about to land again and try to calm down again. So far I haven't been forced to do anything, but I've never liked it when I'm given something that I didn't ask for.
Yes, that's right ! Is “offtropic” and I exaggerated but I had fun (even if no one asked about it ;-) ….. )

So long …………… .. lemmi

“At home I also like to put on a whole page by Klaus Schulze before starting with a mystical one Dub break through the synthesizer clouds and dissolve the almost unbearable tension with BASS AND (!) DRUMS and finally get into the groove.”

Oh yes, lemmi! If only then. At your suggestion, I've been digging out the Berlin School à la Klaus Schulze for a very, very long time. Especially Body Love Vol. 2 and the first side “Nowhere – Now here. This is what electronic music should sound like. Harald Großkopf from Ashra Tempel played the drums.
If albums like Kevin Richard Martin's are released in the future Dubblog, then I can also discuss all the albums of the Düsseldorf and Berlin schools here. To be honest, they are all far better and even closer to the “fringes”. Dub” than the above outpouring. Still, the off-beat is just missing.

For me it's especially parts like “Moogetique” from the album “Body Love 2” Ras Vorbei. Just spherical synthy sounds until you are “prepared”. If you then get into one Dub For me, it's like diving into a completely new world. Similar effects also arise when you do this with classical music. I have something by Antonin Dvorak that I was only too happy to celebrate with. When the drums of Style Scott, for example, lay over the violins and the bass waves slowly but surely gain the upper hand, then you clearly notice that you only listen to classical music for one time DubIntroduction can really be used.
Ok, I really don't know much about him, but I wanted to demonstrate again how big and how far-reaching his horizons are DubConnoisseurs who are not completely unfamiliar with Antonin Dvorak ;-) …. Of course there are almost an infinite number of them DubIntros in classical music but I only have two ears and they don't just want to hear intros.

For me, music without an off-beat is like a festival without weed…….

You can do it, but it’s no good…………… lemmi

“In a way, the music is composed around the empty space that the singer leaves behind.”

Sorry guys, but this bullshit has nothing to do with Amy Winehouse. I always thought I was reasonably familiar with Amy's music. The reviewer compares apples to oranges. Actually, I rather assume that the empty space reflects the vacuum in the artist's head. In my opinion, this music isn't music, it's just horrible drone, that has no place here.

I've been reading it for years Dubblog, I'm always happy to see great records that I would otherwise never discover. But of course I don't like everything.
By Kevin Richard Martin Back then (whoa, quite a while ago) I found the publications of “The Bug” really exciting. New and previously unheard of. And recently I've been very excited to see how he's suddenly reappeared on the scene, for example with the album Pressure (Maybe he never left). And it has to be amazing live. Maybe the English are just more receptive to that.
I also find his drone jazz (great word) stuff very special, but I'm still looking forward to finding out a little more about it here. The drone jazz genre will definitely not fit in here in the long run, but hey, Dubblog, please stay open to new/unrelated things. Thanks.

That's where they are DubBlog user agrees :) I can't do anything with rhythm & sound... it felt like they had exactly one bassline...
Otherwise I'm always very open to genre boundaries Dub. That's why I would like to see a bunch of other discs here.
E.g. acid Dub Studies sounds to me like a brother from another mother, it comes from somewhere else but has everything important from it Dub (Drum Base + Effects)
The Rhyth?-?O?-?Matic Style by Cookie Ranks for those who are not averse to trip hop. Or The Yellow King's Revenge.

High duborigini!
When it comes to Rhythm and Sound, I felt the same way as you.
With acid Dub Of course I became curious about stories. As you wrote, it doesn’t have much to do with our/my favoritesDubBut I still really like doing it. But what always fascinates me is this – how should I put it – “murmur” that goes through my whole body when a bias line like the “Acid Tempo” forms the foundation.
Are you wondering why I'm writing such confusing stuff here? That's no wonder, because I made a mistake in the line and acid Dub Stories 2.0
clicked. There is the “Acid Tempo ( Dub )” is my clear favorite.
But what about all of these? DubWhat's always missing under Numeric Control is this flow, which is mainly only available with Dub from Jamaica or at least has reggae as a foundation.
Especially with acid Dub I keep getting into turbulence because there isn't enough air under the wings.

I don't think that sounds much like OPEN BORDERS.

Cheers ………………. lemmi

This album is incredible. One of my best finds of 2023. Maybe not orthodox dub but who wants predictable music? This is perfect winter music: haunting, subterranean, warm.

Bit disappointed by the really conservative comments here.

“Don’t sing it in Russia”, don’t sing it in German. Sing It in Broken English”

So I try my very best. I am honest, when I say that it makes me very angry if someone puts me in a conservative corner. Reggae etc Dub existing over 40 years and more. No one of us is only listening to King Tubby. We are fans of the most progressive music, since Mankind is on Earth. You can never be sure when Sly Dunbar hits the snare, so it will never be predictable.
Do you really think, that a “bubble of synthyloops” is more progressive than the real one DubMusic? If you really think, DubMusic is predictable, I come to the conclusion that you never heard it with your own ears. DubMusic is the “blueprint” of amazing surprise. No one can see what is coming next. That is one of the principals in DubMusic. It can never be predictable. If It is predictable, it is no Dub !
So, if you are able to foresee DubMusic, I have to think that you are “a brother from another Harry Potter”. You must be a wizard.
I think, no, I am sure, that it is really “up-to-date” in many minds of stupid people, that it will be “very progressive” to vote for conservative
political leaders, with a bad attitude, like adolf hitler.
One of the most typical features in the “new generations” is the “false flag action” to turn “progressive” into “conservative” and the big lie, when dem use and abuse Reggae for their ill conservative progression.
So it came about, when the German Neanderthals abused “Get Up Stand Up” from the Wailers for their own illness.

“Fascists on the attack, make us fight back!”
We gonna smash dem brains in, because they ain't got'nothing care"

Ok, I put some more “food for thought” in it, as it was necessary, but this is what happened, when someone try to put me in a conservative box.

“Me ready, when you ready fe go jamdown babylon!!!”

“May the bong be with you” …………………………. lemmi

(Do you think I am crazy? Yeah, Dub makes me crazy! )
(“It’s only mystery and I like it!”)

I reckon Lemmi must be a kind of “KI” on the dubblog and trust me, most of the dubfans doesn't have the knowledge, interest and intellectual power to understand what “Kevin Martin” is doing here…!
In "DUB“we trust.

Maybe you're right but I know you don't have the emotional power and spiritual understanding if you write comments like you do…
“AI” in your sense means “curious individualist”?

Hehe, everything is cool man!

DUB is curious! And me too! And the best thing in life is to be an individual man.
And the “AI” will never be smart like me ;-)

“How are you going to leave before you dance with me?”

Have a nice day …………………. lemmi

Alright Anonymous, so you're implying that most Dub Fans are mentally incapable of understanding Kevin Martin's intellect. Let me tell you something. I'm glad I don't have the knowledge, interest or intellectual power to understand this musical triviality. Boring music is and remains irrelevant, even for Dub ears. I'm awfully sorry, but to my ears that's just noise pollution, and we already have enough of that in this world. I'm pretty sure if I were as deaf as you, I would like it too.
Furthermore, I assume that behind the slogan “In Dub “We Trust” is not an AI, but Echo Beach from Hamburg, Germany.

Where is the problem?

Someone put this album into DubBlog and in his own words, it is “a little bit” far away from DubMusic. He said, it is more ambient music without beats and a little bit of “doom jazz”. So he gave an explanation by his own words, that this should be very difficult for Dubfans.
What we do – or what we tried to do – is to explain why we don't like it and why we will never be able to love it. So, where is the problem?!
I am sure that it is not fair play to say that everyone is “stupid” when he don’t like the album.
Try to put this album inna Heavy Metal Blog and ask them, what they think about it! Maybe they are more tolerant then I and some others DubFans in this DubBlog. But I think they are going to sleep before they come to the end of the review …………….

Greetings…………………………… AI – lemmi

Indeed, you must have already looked in the mirror today. Thanks for your revealing comment, you slippery slug!
In the real world DUB we trust.

I think you need the album:

Prince Fatty and The Last Poets “Understand what Dub is "

May be after that, you will come back, to the reality of DubMusic, Mr. slug ...... or perhaps you will find it for the first time.

Hehe, AWESOME! Duborigini!

“You” get help here. My “medication” has more side effects and doesn’t really fit the lyrics, but it shows that reggae has always been and is “open for losers”.
I can't help myself now and I also think the tune is great!
Otherwise, “the boy” should show a little more empathy for himself DubGet fans into the habit. This album makes you feel like a lion holding out a cucumber for it to eat.

Ridiculous ………………… lemmi

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