Justin Martin is a San Francisco-based house DJ and producer whose best tracks and remixes tend to be lean, finely melodic, and a little playful. He debuted with the 2003 single “The Sad Piano.” Released on Ben Watt’s Buzzin’ Fly label, played by Derrick Carter and Pete Tong, and licensed by Steve Bug, the single got Martin’s recording career off to an impressive start. Additional singles for Buzzin’ Fly and Utensil were out by the time Martin and Claude VonStroke co-founded the Dirtybird label, an outlet for both producers’ solo tracks, Martin’s partnership with Christian Martin (as Martin Brothers), and other artists such as Ardalan. Martin’s debut album, Ghettos & Gardens, was released on Dirtybird in 2012 with new productions, a handful of remixes, and a “remake” of Goldie’s “Kemistry” all part of the program. A more collaborative album, Hello Clouds, was issued on Dirtybird in 2016. It subsequently appeared on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart.
From the first strings of album opener “Dive In,” Justin effortlessly establishes an otherworldly mood. Are we deep beneath the ocean’s surface, or squinting at bright sunlight while 30,000 feet in the air? It ultimately doesn’t matter, we just need to hear more. Justin delivers with a set of obsessively crafted tunes for clubs and headphones alike. For example, on title track “Hello Clouds,” Justin mixes the ethereal vocals of rising star FEMME with sub-rattling lows and a chorus of singing 303s.
This is only one of many exciting collaborators on the album. “I reached out to specific artists who currently inspire me,” Martin explains. “Artists I think the world needs to hear more of.” This impressive group of collaborators include FEMME, Charlotte OC, Lena Cullen, Kill Frenzy, Will Clarke, Ardalan, and even his brother Christian. These features introduce a veritable cast of supporting characters, adding additional stories and sounds to the ones Justin is already sharing.
Hello Clouds is an impressive sophomore outing a complete work that invites the listener to float above walls, ceiling,s and any other restraints they might encounter. So lay back, look skyward, and experience the breathtaking scope of Justin’s imagination.
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