Can’t teach and old dog new tricks? Tell that to British producer Kevin Martin–he’s learned about 20 new musical tricks in a two-decade career that’s taken him from noise and ambient bands straight into cutting-edge dance music. After stints as a member of late '80s industrial noise rock band Godflesh and collaborator in '90s ambient electronic projects Techno Animal and Experimental Audio Research, Martin ultimately found his voice with experimental dub since 1996 via his moniker, The Bug.
Recently The Bug has issued several critic and DJ-endorsed dubstep singles, including “Skeng,” with MCs Killa P and Flowdan, and the bombastic “Poison Dart,” with female ragga chatter Warrior Queen. Now, Martin will unleash his whole arsenal on a new album, London Zoo, to be uncaged on July 29 on Ninja Tune.
The new album features Martin’s often harsh, uncompromising dancehall/grime/dubstep variations enlivened by a roster of London’s best toasters past and present, including the aforementioned Flowdan and Warrior Queen, plus Kode-9 collaborator Spaceape, reggae don Roger Robinson and Saxon Sound System veteran Tippa Irie. As with dubstep’s other successful album-based projects to date (Burial, Boxcutter, Skuba, Skream), The Bug’s music veers left of center rather than seeking mainstream club acceptance.
Martin’s output also embraces life’s harsh realities on tunes like “Too Much Pain (featuring Ricky Ranking & Aya)” and “Kill We.” Like the best Jamaican dancehall, The Bug makes sound system music for the “sufferers,” the roots people and working class just trying to get through life.
Catch The Bug live in New York at Trouble & Bass on July 25.
London Zoo Tracklisting
1. Angry (featuring Tippa Irie)
2. Murder We (featuring Ricky Ranking)
3. Skeng (featuring Killa P & Flowdan)
4. Too Much Pain (featuring Ricky Ranking & Aya)
5. Insane (featuring Warrior Queen)
6. Jah War (featuring Flowdan)
7. Fuckaz (featuring Spaceape)
8. You & Me (featuring Roger Robinson)
9. Freak Freak
10. Warning (featuring Flowdan)
11. Poison Dart (featuring Warrior Queen)
12. Judgement (featuring Ricky Ranking)
Kevin Martin a.k.a. The Bug with MC Ras B and Warrior Queen. Photo By Sheikh Amhed.