S. Process Sensual

Well-rounded and consistently hot, Steve Bug's third artist album is a true pleasure. The German producer, DJ and Poker Flat boss comes on strong with track after track of melodic electronic goodness. He's generally referred to alongside minimal tech-house producers, but I find his work far more diverse and textured than that would imply. Underground pop might cut it as a reference, with Bug wearing his mid-'80s influences both openly and well. "Pleasure Park" and "Shake the Funk" are but two examples, the former combining '80s synths with groove-laden house, while the latter suggests Sheila E rendezvousing with Human League. "You Make Me Feel" nods to the darker end of the synth spectrum, complete with driving beats, hooky bass and playful yelps. Techno, electro, pop, call it what you will; it's just damn good. Bug more than has a way with melodies, whether with the sweet, vocal tech-house of "All I Need" or the early Warp-flavoured bleepy, hooky techno of "That Kid." Similarly, "Criminal Investigation" snags from its first quirky notes; full of suspense and sensuality, this track goes for the jugular, slowly and smoothly at that. Solid, lush, instrumental tech-house gem "Mixed Up Moods" takes the sentiment to the dance floor; funky as hell, it's pure late night goodness. Sensual is, in many ways, the new Pleasure Principle; bold, brilliant and slinky, it's equally stimulating for 'phones, floors or back rooms. (Poker Flat)