Review: When you see both The Bug & Ninja Tune involved in a release these days, there is an instant expectation of greatness, due to both their catalogues and history as musical entities. Therefore, this brand new album from The Bug entitled 'Fire' has a lot to live up to. Right from the off we can see that The Bug has taken the project in entirely his own direction, firstly by recruiting some of the most popular MC's to grace grime over the last decade, including FFSWhyThough?, Irah, Manga St Hilaire & more, displaying their unique vocal talents over the industrial introspective sound design behind them. It's safe to say that The Bug is in his own unique lane when it comes to sonic creativity, from the raucous, rapidfire drum punches of 'Hammer' alongside Flowdan, to the explosive reverberations of 'Clash' alongside Logan. There is a truly individual approach to this album, going no holds barred in exploring distortion and dissonant harmony with some incredible results, our favourites of which include the treacherous twists 'War', featuring the 'Nazamba', alongside two masterful poetic pieces with Roger Robinson, who recites a couple of awesome verses on both 'The Missing' and 'The Fourth Day'. This is definitely one you need to let yourself explore over time, allowing your ears the process the carnage in their own way.
Review: More next level dubs from The Bug allows Hyperdub to present In Blue, a new collaborative project between Kevin Richard Martin and producer-vocalist Dis Fig, aka Felicia Chen. With the album described by the pair as 'Tunnel Sound' its seven tracks conjure up a foggy vision of what's been expressed as narco-dancehall, zoned-out soul and dread drenched in low end frequencies and melancholic meltdowns. Not too distant from Martin's work in King Midas Sound, Chen gives this project a fresh personality through her experimental and stylistic charm of 'hushed confessionals' and 'bittersweet vocals' sung with 'seduction' and 'delicate delivery'. Mixed entirely during lockdown somewhere in Brussels, its deeply impactful tones boom with an unrivalled supersonic, with slow tempos shining through in "In 2 U" alongside more functional techno semantics in "Forever" - bringing to mind albums like Eno's Small Craft On A Milk Sea and KMS' legendary Waiting For You. Five stars.
Get Out The Way (feat Killa P + Irah) - (3:40) 140 BPM
Get Riddim - (3:40) 140 BPM
Review: Bad to the bone... Following his remarkable fusions with Earth earlier this year, the Bug continues to flex his finest collaborative muscles with two dirty, paranoid grime cuts. Flowdan takes the lead with an autobiographical tale over a cosmic dirge that palpitates with industrial rawness. Next up: Killa P and Irah who get savage over a sizzling reese bassline that builds and smoulders with intensity of a Hardware night at The End in 2005. Complete with two riddims, this is The Bug at his most direct and dangerous and ready for the dance.
Review: if there is one collaboration that we have bowed down to over the last few years, it's most certainly this new found friendship between London's Kevin Martin aka The Bug, and American doom metal guitarists, Earth. One wouldn't immediately make the connection between inner-city future-grime music and suburban stoner rock, but the two styles were in perfect unison, and this is because they're both fascinated with dark, looming clouds of bass. Whether that's through virtual synths or badass bass guitars, it doesn't matter, because the mood is mightily present. Concrete Desert is the alliance's debut LP, and it's all guns blazing from start to finish; tunes like "Snakes vs Rats" or "Metal Drone" represent exactly the sort of freshen-up that each respective act needed - on the one hand, The Bug could have done with some more external influences to the melodic constructions, while Earth needed a new framework to enter the minds of a new, European audience. We've dubbed this style 'metal drone', and we're pretty sure that it's gonna stick after you've hit the ol' play button. Top quality stuff - highly recommended!
Review: The third instalment of Hyperdub's expansive tenth anniversary series is probably the most surprising volume yet. Having already celebrated their roster's dancefloor credentials and song writing skills, HYperdub 10.3 suggests the UK operation has plenty of artists capable of crafting ambient, experimental electronics. In practice, that means two discs of woozy, dreamy, sparse and occasionally melancholic beatless fare - all drifting synths, dusty textures and far-sighted electronics. While you'd expect Dean Blunt , The Bug or Burial to produce quality ambience (the latter's "Night Bus" being a compilation highlight), it's more of a surprise to find pitch-perfect contributions from Darkstar, Kode9 (the creept "Pink Sham Pain Down The Drain") and Cooly G, whose "Trying" is a comforting wash of spacey chords, ricocheting hits and fluttering vocal samples.
Review: After last year saw Kevin Martin's primary project looming large with the Angels & Devils album and a slew of singles, The Bug is back on Ninja Tune with a new single. "Zim Zim Zim" features seasoned dancehall MC Burro Banton raining down vocal fire over a typically grandiose Martin production, all slow, heavy-footed stomp and strangely emotive slabs of grinding metallic synth tones that sound like the end of the world bursting out of the speakers. Banton's nagging delivery sits perfectly on the track, but for those that want to home in on the subtleties of the production the "Version" provides all the space you need for those staggering sounds to roam.
Review: Kevin "The Bug" Martin and Dylan "Earth" Carlson have finally teamed up for a collaborative release on the UK's mighty Ninja Tune. To be honest, both the artists and the label have all achieved institutional status by now, so you know its highly recommended from the onset. Each artist has been involved in many scenes and genres over the years, ranging from ambient metal to minimal drones and experimental two-step and "Boa" is exactly that, a weird and wonderful mixture of styles and influences. "Boa" and "Cold" share a slow tempo and a set of heavy, metallic guitars weaving over desolate soundscapes and rattling percussion. This is cinematic music to say the least.
Review: This EP finds Kevin Martin zooming in on some of the themes of Angels & Demons, the long awaited new LP from The Bug, naturally showing a diverse approach across the spectrum of his dread-filled half-step swagger. Two versions of "Void" drape themselves across the first side in a heavy-lidded fog of distant melodics, static interference and restrained beat business, while on the flip "Black Wasp" likewise takes two strung out routes through submerged menace and laconic grace. Like a sharp slap about the chops, side three finds Manga spitting out a monolithic grime performance over "Function", while Daddy Freddy is on side four with a perfectly devilish turn on "Blaow".
Review: It's been some six years since renowned misery guys Kevin Martin won plaudits for London Zoo, a typically dark, intense and aggressive full-length that showcased his unique ability to blend dubstep, grime, dancehall and dub techno textures into nightmarish new shapes. Angels & Devils, his belated follow-up, is intriguingly different. While the second half of the set is blessed with plenty of robust, floor-friendly riddims (each blessed with vocals from a range of impressive collaborators), the first half is an altogether more downbeat affair. In fact, it's these moments - the droning, dub-inflected ambience of "Pandi" and the bluesy, soundscape dub-soul of "Save Me" - that hit home hardest.
Freakshow (feat Danny Brown & Kiki Hitomi) - (3:54) 140 BPM
Dirty (feat Flowdan) - (2:56) 140 BPM
Kill Them (feat Daddy Freddy) - (3:32) 140 BPM
Louder (feat Flowdan) - (3:27) 141 BPM
Review: Dropping a searing package of badness ahead of the forthcoming Angels & Devils album, The Bug is back in business with some apocalyptic gutter bass of the highest order. "Freakshow" matches the leering delivery of Danny Brown with the sinister croon of King Midas Sound's Kiki Hitomi over a horn-laden trap swagger to devastating effect. "Louder" pits Flowdan in the depths of a nauseating half-step march, while "Dirty" takes the London MC into a barrage of equally nerve-jangling drum rattles and alarm-clanging stabs. Long-time Bug collaborator Daddy Freddy rolls up his sleeves for "Kill Them", anchoring the dread stomp with a fearsome growl as anthemic as it is nihilistic.