Martin Schulte – Dancing Street / Skyscrapers Street

Schulte goes downtown

These days it seems almost paradox that the mother of Lithuanian Dub Techno labels Greyscale and Redscale is called Scale Limited – not only do they supply us with a seemingly unlimited number of fine releases, they also seem to have no limits getting superior international talent on board.

Their latest addition to the talent pool is Martin Schulte who has been very active over the last fifteen years, primarily releasing on the Japanese Lantern label. Contrary to what his German name suggests, he is from Russia, having been born in Kazan as Marat Shibaev. His work is primarily located on the very deep end of Dub Techno with a generous dose of Ambient.

Schulte’s albums show a deep connection to nature that even extends beyond the titles of tracks and albums – he also supplies the artful sleeve photography. This already makes him an almost obvious candidate to the Greyscale catalogue as the label was founded by Grad_u and photographer Rima Prusakova who is in charge of all artwork for the label.

Joining Greyscale is sort of the equivalent of a trip to town – and the names of the titles of the tracks are following suit. After albums that celebrated the forest, the seasons and the ocean he now strolls down “Dancing Street” and “Skyscrapers Street”.

Sure enough his sound on this 12″ does come across somewhat more urban than most of his previous work, and in the case of “Dancing Street” he even slightly leaves us astray in the streets with a tricky little off axis beat as if he was trying to show us that it’s easier to lose your sense of direction in the city than out on the lush green fields he loves to take photos of.

But we do get accommodated quickly and are gladly sinking into the depth of his classy production. Over the course of the track the atmosphere gradually changes from a cool and slightly industrial underlying current to a warmer and lighter, almost jazzy and airy space. From the chill of the street to the welcoming atmosphere of a really good club.

His second track “Skyscrapers Street” picks up where the first one left off, equally airy and calmly confident, applying fabulous touch to the chords and reverbs – we definitely have been elevated, up on the top floor of one of those skyscrapers, grand view from a classy place with someone on the decks that knows what she or he is doing. And when the track slowly drifts off into the night towards the end we have learned that Martin Schulte is at home downtown as much as he is out in the green.

No one goes to town without his buddies, and Schulte is in great company here. The back side of this generously equipped 12″ features excellent remixes by Greyscale founder Grad_u and Vril – and both are taking Schulte’s superb work for an even more urban ride.

Not surprisingly, Grad_u straightens out the tricky beat of “Dancing Street”, condenses the soundscapes and dials up the pressure considerably. The result is an instant Grad_u classic, moving forward relentlessly, cleverly picking the moments when the claps set in for a little more push – these guys should do stuff together more frequently.

Vril – Ulli Hammann from Hannover, Germany – elevates “Skyscrapers Street” even beyond the penthouse – deconstructing the beat to let it feel half speed and letting the soundscapes swirl and flutter and bounce off each other, creating a dreamscape above the urban landscape. This is definitely the moment you want to have a masterfully blended drink in your hand.

Greyscale mention the fact that this 12″ was mastered “at at the legendary Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin” – a fully deserved mention as this one sounds great all the way – both on Martin Schulte’s deep end of the spectrum as on Grad_u’s more banging end. Another reason I am very glad I was online in just the right moment to pick this one up on Bandcamp.

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