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The Bug

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The Bug


You need only check the names of Kevin Martin's early projects to get a sense of the English musician's intensity: Ice. Techno Animal. God, for goodness' sake. Martin's work has always been animated by Jamaican dub science; in the early years of his career, he crossed dub with heavy metal drones and dark ambient to create sinister and desolate analogues to trip-hop's merely moody drift. (Martin is also the curator behind Isolationism and Macro Dub Infection, compilations that helped define the post-rave avant-garde in the mid '90s.) He first trotted out his alias the Bug in 1997 with Tapping the Conversation, a homage to Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 surveillance thriller; he focused the project with 2003's Pressure, a blistering, techno-punk take on dancehall reggae. In 2007 Martin signed to Ninja Tune, releasing a string of singles that found his skeletal ragga rhythms morphing into a jelly-like mass of bass pressure and menacing chants. His lyricists are nominally "conscious," forgoing idle gun talk in favor of meditations on revolution and suffering, but the Bug's insidious frequencies operate subconsciously, like dread itself.

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