On 5 March Erarta Stage will host The Bug, MC Flowdan and Armtone.
“It’s angry and ferocious, but always triumphant: When it threatens to bust out your windows and rip holes in your speakers, it crackles with the kind of force that makes you want to punch the air as hard as your subwoofers do”.
Pitchfork : London Zoo 8.6
Main mutation of producer Kevin Martin who over the years has been, and is also currently, known as… King Midas Sound, Techno Animal/Ice/God (with Justin Broadrick of Godflesh/Jesu), Razor X Productions (with The Rootsman & various M.C’s), Pressure, Ladybug, the man behind Pathological Records, compiler of various compilations for Virgin Records (Macro Dub Infection, Jazz Satellites), production work/collaborations with noise-jazz outfit 16-17, Pete “Sonic Boom” Kemper’s E.A.R projects, John Zorn, Kevin Shields, El-P, and Anti Pop Consortium, to name just a few. Has provided bass booming remixes for Grace Jones, Thom Yorke, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Primal Scream, Einsturzende Neubauten, Stina Nordenstam, Dalek, Two Fingers, Beastie Boys, etc… really far to many to list here. A discography spanning labels as diverse as Ninja Tune, Virgin, Rephlex, Position Chrome/Mille Plateaux, Word Sound, Hyperdub, City Slang, Tigerbeat 6, Grand Royal… all of which shouts loud that Kevin Martin is a credible sonic survivalist and not some come lately producer.
The Bug first came to be in 1997, when Kevin collaborated with DJ Vadim on ‘Tapping The Conversation’. Released on N.Y’s Word Sound label is was conceived as an alternate soundtrack to Coppola’s ‘The Conversation’. No thought was given at the time that a collaboration with DJ Vadim would be a precursor to working with Ninja Tune 10 years later.
From 2001–2004 The Bug teamed up with UK dub veteran The Rootsman for a series of singles under the name Razor X Productions. The early productions of which would frame the template for the first proper Bug full length, 2003’s ‘Pressure’. The Razor X material was some of Kevin’s first foray’s into what would become a signature head-sheering apocalyptic dancehall production style. This was continued on ‘Pressure’ but also with an ear to balancing out the sound with headier dubs. Classic dancehall M.C Daddy Freddy was brought in, New Flesh’s Toastie Taylor, along with The Rootsman, Roger Robinson, Paul St. Hilaire (aka. Tikiman), Wayne Lonesome, and more…
Towards the end of this period some crucial connections would come about that would shape The Bug’s work in the later half of this decade, one of which, was being interviewed for XLR8R Magazine by Steve Goodman, aka. Kode 9. Finding they had a lot of similar music taste and interests Steve recommended a new crop of producers in London that he was hanging out with that were revolving around the Fwd Club at Plastic People. Discovering that these people shared the same hunger for bass, space, and unaligned sonic trajectories, The Bug felt right at home alongside Loefah, Digital Mystikz, Skream, etc… Over time this group of people would shape what would be commonly known as Dub-Step. Through his work with Wayne Lonesome, Kevin was turned on to the work of Warrior Queen. Instantly blown away by her delivery he made contact and the ensuing releases ‘Aktion Pak’ (Rephlex) and ‘Money Honey’ (under the moniker ‘Pressure’ which was released on Kode 9’s Hyperdub label) further shaped the musical direction of The Bug. The final piece of the new incarnation of The Bug came about when Kevin was booked for a Mary Anne Hobbs session of BBC Radio 1’s Breezeblock. Two of the main vocalists requested were Roll Deep’s Flowdan, and Ricky Ranking (best known for his work as vocal foil/inspiration to Roots Manuva).
All these connections became the starting point for ‘London Zoo’, his critically acclaimed debut release for Ninja Tune which dropped in 2008. Utilizing the aforementioned vocalists, along with UK reggae legend Tippa Irie, it was a record grown out of the heart of London sound-system culture and multi-cultural meltdown. A record that although was referenced to the early dub-step scene, also busted outside of any of those narrow definitions and stood on its own as a celebration of the capitals urban cultural clash, uniquely detonating dancehall, grime, hip-hop, and noise onslaughts. A record campaign that culminated in a personal invite from Trent Reznor to blow up stages in some of the most unlikely reaches of America on the Nine Inch Nails “Lights In The Sky” tour.
“After ‘London Zoo’ I wanted to come with something intense and fresh, and the ACID RAGGA label is it”. — Kevin Martin, The Bug Having spent the years since London Zoo dropped alternating between Bug live shows, and concentrating on this apocalyptic lovers rock project King Midas Sound, The Bug is remerging, and he’s back with a Roland TB-303 in hand, and an 808 under his arm, detonating a new genre and sub-label : Acid Ragga.
But this isn’t your parents second coming of the summer of love acid. This time there will be no smiley faces, no ecstasy, and no future. The world is truly fucked and Kevin Martin can always be relied on to soundtrack armageddon time. Rather, this dystopian acid takes influence from pioneers like Stakker’s ‘Humanoid’ , Plastikman, Phuture’s ‘Cocaine/Your Only Friend’, Aphex Twin etc and twists it into Kevin’s own perverted take on classic dancehall. Harkening back to when Sleng Teng refined Jamaican music as we know it, the Acid Ragga imprint will forever scar the face of raggamuffin reggae.
The first Bug track, scheduled for release in June, is “Can’t Take This No More” which finds the legendary Daddy Freddy slowed down to a menacing crawl, on a countdown to self destruction. Whilst the flip ft. Inga Copeland (Hype Williams) on “Rise Up”, sounding like Donna Summer on smack, crooning inna deeper shade of blue.
The debut Acid Ragga release will be swiftly followed by single 2 by The Bug, “Ganja Baby” ft. Daddy Freddy, which is a body breaking, robo-raggamuffin, weed anthem (think ‘Witness the Fitness’ remixed by Richie Hawtin in cold crush mode).
Watch for a continuing series of Acid Ragga singles throughout the year. Leading up to the next Bug album proper ‘Angels & Devils’. Names that The Bug is working with on the project, in addition to Inga Copeland and Daddy Freddy include Death Grips, Gonjasufi, Grouper, JK Flesh (Godflesh/Jesu), The Spaceape, Flowdan + Warrior Queen.
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