I still remember that fateful 2011 day when the biggest douchebag in my class came up to me and said he had discovered this new, amazing, electronic music genre: dubstep. Keep in mind we’re talking about a major asshole, the kind of guy who wears a white shirt and black shoes to a club and takes Steve Aoki and Armin van Buuren seriously. It should’ve come as no surprise; arguably, dubstep was dead and done the minute trend-seeking magazines started raving over Kode9, Burial, and The Bug around 2007/08. I was dumbstruck, nonetheless. I can only imagine how badly traumatized Kevin Martin — the man behind The Bug — must have been once people started associating the bro-heavy EDM boom with the music he made over half a decade ago.
It’s no wonder, then, that his first album since 2008’s celebrated London Zoo took so long. After washing off the brostep aftertaste with a deliberately eccentric string of 12-inch and 7-inch singles, going from 2010’s Infected to last year’s Filthy EP, he’s finally announced his next LP: Angels & Devils, coming out August 25 on Ninja Tune. The album finds Martin pushing his sound further away from classic dubstep, with the producer going as far as calling the LP “a year-zero reset” for The Bug. Judging from the two tracks Martin has released so far, his sound indeed departs from The Bug’s early grime roots, venturing into industrial doom — a style not lightly indebted to the dubby dancehall songs Martin put out with the Hyperdub label — and some sort of psychedelic trance music. It all fits the producer’s description of the album as a contraposition of light and darkness, harsh noise and loopy melody.
For what it’s worth, Angels & Devils’ biggest selling point, as far as the press is concerned, seems to be the impressive roster of collaborators Martin has recruited: Liz Harris (Grouper), copeland, Death Grips, Justin Broadrick (Godflesh/Jesu), and Gonjasufi, along with recurrent conspirators Flowdan and Warrior Queen. Martin has previously worked with several of them, for instance on the “Rise Up” 7-inch from 2012 with Inga Copeland. Not to mention how extensively he has influenced the work of Hype Williams or even Death Grips.
Listen to The Bug’s collaborations with Death Grips and Gonjasufi below:
Angels & Devils tracklisting:
01. Void (feat. Liz Harris)
02. Fall (feat. copeland)
04. Mi Lost (feat. Miss Red)
06. Save Me (feat. Gonjasufi)
07. The One (feat. Flowdan)
08. Function (feat. Manga)
09. Fuck a Bitch (feat. Death Grips)
10. Fat Mac (feat. Flowdan)
11. Fuck You (feat. Warrior Queen)
12. Dirty (feat. Flowdan)