Published Jul 28, 2008If infected by the Bug, you will spasm from deep bass pulses until you surrender completely. London Zoo, a poisonous brew of dub, dancehall and noise, is the Bugs debut on Ninja Tune. If theres any justice, this release will catalyze the critical respect Kevin Martin has garnered on the margins of British music for almost two decades into greater popularity.
Martin has been scaling walls of sound for years. His 90s band-oriented projects God, Ice and Techno Animal, combined jazz, dub and industrial elements. In this decade, hes been more of a free agent. As the Bug, he has often teamed up with some of Britains most notable dancehall vocalists.
"Ive basically moved from the outside in, and am now enjoying trying to write songs that involve experimentation, says Martin. "I'm enjoying the possibilities of moving a crowd on my terms, via structures they know, as I basically attempt to heavily hit their bodies and minds simultaneously, in a twisted kind of way. I've basically changed from despising the crowd in my early band days, to now proudly watching the full energy of a massed moshpit freaking out to a track like Poison Dart.
With titles like "Poison Dart, "Insane, "Murder We and "Angry, youd expect this London Zoo to be dark and creepy, but its not all deadly serious. Theres dark humour and a range of emotions peeking through. "I tried to make an album that reflects a full frequency spectrum and a total emotional range, Martin says. "I didnt wanna make a cartoon badbwoy album, nor a cheap ravers ragga collection, I wanted this record to tell a story of love, lust, insanity, passion and horror. I feel it stands out by daring to address real life, and not being content to adopt a cartoon characters fake stance. To me it is a protest record in the best sense, in a world of its own.