Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Matt Martians could be famous simply for his association with other acts and hip-hop and rap collectives, though he is not one to rest on his laurels. He is a part of the LA rap collective Odd Future along with Tyler, The Creator and Frank Ocean, as well as Sweaty Martians with Earl Sweatshirt and further, he has been part of The Internet with their most famous member, Syd. All three of these associated acts are known for their artistic take on modern rap, attention to lyrics and experimental approach to music. Matt Martians is no exception.
His latest album The Drum Chord Theory is a solo project, in fact it is his debut as a solist, and it is just as rich with experimental beats and interesting textures as any of his past work. The electronic instrumentals that accompany all twelve tracks of the album are pulsating, throbbing and hypnotic. His features range from Syd and Steve Lacy to Kari Faux. And true to the album’s title percussion is a heavy inspiration for this music. The loose drum beats loop at a steady and enthralling pace, matching perfectly with Martians’ now singing, now rapping vocals. The Drum Chord Theory is eclectic and transient, and Matt Martians is bringing us something truly otherworldly with this soulfully composed production.
Two of the tracks have already reached top charts, and I am sure that more are soon to come as the album – and Matt Martians himself – gains mainstream appeal. The first of these chart toppers is the track ‘Southern Isolation’ and it is lucid and slow, Martians drawing us in with steady percussion hits and a throbbing bass line, before the beat switches up from this apparent intro into faster, rhythmic drum hits. Further backed by dulcet piano keys, Martians begins to sing, “wasted time, summer night” as a repeating, ethereal refrain. His voice drifts over the beats as though from another world.
The other track to top charts is ‘Dent Jusay’ and it is no surprise, given that both Syd and Steve Lacy are featured. But the track I want to talk about is ‘Diamond in Da Ruff’. This song, recently featured on The Fader’s weekly list of Songs You Need in Your Life, in my opinion the best off the album. It is jazzy and hard hitting, Martian’s singing and rapping about a romantic interest that he “found out of nowhere” and he wants to be “with you and only you.” The song is old school and romantic and anti-characteristic of modern rap, as is the whole album, which is one of the many reasons you should check it out.