The Bug The BugInfected EP
NINJA TUNE (ZEN12273, 2x12” + digital)
The city is dark. The rain on the asphalt hasn’t dried up yet. Traffic lights are blinking. Drag races on the streets. Sirens in the distance. Kevin Martin’s recent body of work is the perfect sonic representation of that image of rough London in which there might be, as in the days of Jack the Ripper, a possible threat around every corner. They’re records that ooze fear mostly, in the case of King Midas Sound, because when he turns into The Bug, what emerges is a feeling of violence and contained energy. This double single is a luxury for the fans of the latter alias of Martin, a real gift (and with the right grammage for the bass lines to make the walls tremble) on which all the images of urban decadence we associate the artist with are condensed. “Catch A Fire”, with vocals by Hitomi, has a paused tempo and sounds more like a composition for King Midas Sound than for The Bug, but the tension is masked, the sonic waves become concrete. It’s possibly the best thing the trip-hop genre has delivered since it was declared clinically dead, and the only recent material on par with Portishead’s “Third”. “Tune In”, on the other hand, and with Roots Manuva on the mic, takes us to the toxic world of “London Zoo”, the industrial ragga stage on which The Bug feels very much at home. And when we change the vinyl, two more milestones: an Autechre remix of “Skeng”, mechanical and oxidated, and another one by DVA of “Poison Dart”, which loses the bite of the original version (the voice of Warrior Queen isn’t as powerful), but adds a varnish of hot rhythm that becomes The Bug nicely. A surefire hit.
Claude T. Hill