Vocalist Roger Robinson explains: “We’ve set our sights on where drone melancholy and fuzz blisteringly collide. The sweet voices on Waiting for You have a hint of bitterness now. One journalists who’d seen some of the live material described it as an apocalyptic “My Bloody Valentine in Dub” I think that goes some way to describe what it’s like.” Read more at Fact
New single Aroo / Funny Love will be released next week.
Kevin Martin pka The Bug is on a serious-as-cancer march. One of the most dedicated producers going, the one I have had the pleasure of having my ears and body destroyed by, is currently getting ready to drop a set at SWSX, as well as few other dates in North America. He is armed with MC’s Miss Red and Daddy Freddy for these live dates. Come late May, his label Ninja Tune will release Filthy, an EP featuring Flowdan, Daddy Freddy, Danny fuckin’ Brown and Kiki Hitomi of King Midas Sound. How’s that for a tenner? The video below gives you the Flowdan and Daddy Freddy contributions within one clip. Flip it.
Kevin ‘The Bug’ Martin gets into his compilation suite for the first time in ages, as he and Soul Jazz mainman Stuart Baker present Invasion of the Mysteron Killer Sounds in 3-D. It boasts contributions from Roots Manuva, Harmonic 313, Steely and Clevie, Diplo, South Rakkas Crew, King Tubby and a whole heap more. You know if it’s a Soul Jazz comp’ it’s worth checking. Whenever I’m in London, Kevin and I always rendezvous at Soul Jazz’s record shop, making sure to save a few pennies for cakes later.
How did Invasion come about?
Stuart Baker: “From Soul Jazz’s point of view – I wanted to make an album of dancehall digital B-sides which to me always sound like a mix of experimental digital music from the present (even though some are 20 years old). I wanted people to hear them alongisde current sounds and realise the connection. To relate the music to science-fiction (as opposed to, say, reggae) by making a cartoon seemed a way of being seen in a different way. When Kevin asked if he could help it made a lot of sense to me and he was instrumental in bringing the new artists into the release which made the idea very strong to me.”
It’s far from your first foray into compilations Kevin – were you itching to get back at it?
Kevin Martian: “You know, when I put the compilations together for Virgin, I felt it was part of a propaganda war [laughs] a way to turn people onto music that’s maverick, rare, neglected or shunned. Primarily it’s about helping people discover sounds/styles that may seem alien at first, and hopefully they will discover the same sense of revelation that I did… At the moment there is so much music out there, and so much choice, if I can help in a curatorial sense, to popularise dancehall, fantastic.”
I met Kevin Martin in 2002, right before my first London gig. I played Steely and Clevie’s dancehall riddim “The Street Sweeper”—a militant, brilliant instrumental with cut-up guitars that had over a dozen versions voiced by top Jamaican MCs and singers. After my set, he told me that the track was a favorite for him as well. Before we parted ways, he gave me a promo 12-inch of his single as The Bug, “Politicians and Paedophiles,” featuring Daddy Freddy. It stepped inside dancehall reggae—also called ragga or, in the UK, bashment—and reimagined the sound from the inside out. The Bug’s sound world proved that the lyrical fire and propulsive waist wind of dancehall could cohabitate with the bruised sonics that made the 12-inch seem loud even when played quietly. It stayed—fresh—in my record crate for the next few years.
In person, Martin is soft-spoken, articulate, and generous. But when you see him perform you realize that he’s a hardcore motherfucker who has dedicated his life to furthering the possibilities of music: from running the late-‘80s, early-‘90s label Pathological Records to his ever-evolving, perfectionist studio approach, which brings out the best in his collaborators. His dedication to craft gets deconstructed and then rebuilt, dubwise, in the live arena. On a proper sound system, The Bug becomes a monster, reminding us of the sensual possibilities of sound. It’s a heavy party and you can feel it. Gravity meets momentum in The Bug.
I arrived in London last night. On the way from the airport I walked into a newsagent and who was staring me in the face below Penthouse magazine?
“The first interview I did, the guy asked me what my biggest influence was. It was seeing my mother getting beaten up by my father on a regular basis”
The article takes quite a lot into account, the interview was seven hours long – God, his first musical group incarnation; his work with Justin Broadrick as Techno Animal, creation of the Macro Dub Infection albums among others, and head long into the foundations that have gone into forging his sound and philosophy.
“I wanted to make a more spacious form of music for The Bug, and that allows maybe space for people to come in, as opposed to this wall of ‘fuck you’.”
Catch The Bug with King Midas Sound this weekend at Clandestino Fstvl in Gothenburg, Sweden, where I’ll be celebrating my birthday tomorrow with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Adrian Sherwood, Mala (DMZ), Little Dragon and more.
Can’t make it? See the new visual treatment for ‘Lost‘ from King Midas Sound.
I finally got my mitts around Leila’s album, Blood, Looms and Blooms. It’s all in there, such detail to sound, incredible. It’s like Autechre, DeBussy, Sarte.
Gilles Peterson is back with the next chapter in the Havana Cultura series – a compilation of remixes transporting original Cuban grooves on ‘Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura: New Cuba Sound’ to the club domain. Louie Vega, 4hero, MJ Cole, Philippe Cohen-Solal from Gotan Project, Rainer Trueby, Carl Cox, and homegrown Cuban producers Edgaro and Wichy de Vedado all contribute. There’s a lavish 12″ featuring reworks by Michel Cleis and Seiji. Did someone say Seiji?
Kevin (The Bug/’King Midas Sound) Martin hit me on the head with a new Black Chow track. Black Chow is K-Mart and Hitomi, two-thirds of King Midas. Black Chow’s Air will surface on Soul Jazz I believe somewhat soonish. Black Chow has found space to operate between the two aforementioned projects in a manner that goes down well in this neighbourhood.
Also on the ‘air’ tip is Dabrye, and man introduced to me via K-Mart. This time Dabrye gets Doom involved and this track is riding on a Madlib remix. How cool is that?
One other major thing this week, Jneiro Jarel, drops in from Viberia to lay on the Android Love Mayhem EP courtesy of his Label Who imprint.
Rub those mittens.
Ear Conditioning – Transmission 16 / Air Particles – broadcasted via Sunhole dot net tonight at 22h00.
Yes, a great way to start the weekend, and a great way to rinse my head of the tacky ’80’s-themed track I’ve been working on all day. Freshly arrived in the inbox a little while ago…the album from King Midas Sound, the project of Roger Robinson and Kevin Martin.
King Midas Sound mutated from a chance discovery during a collaboration between the two for for Kevin’s other project as ‘The Bug’.
Kevin had employed the skills of Roger as a highly respected poet, but when Roger opened his mouth to sing in a fragile falsetto, everything changed and King Midas Sound was born.
The album can’t be readily compared to Kevin’s previous production work. Although there is a militancy to the beats as always, King Midas Sound is more like the aftermath to the fierce battleground dancehall of the Bug, Roger’s voice is like a paranoid and vulnerable soul resting inside a blanket of bass and heavy vertiginous atmosphere.
As opposed to Roger’s spoken word pronouncements and The Bug’s fierce battleground dancehall, King Midas Sound is more like an opiated aftermath; a sound somewhere between Gregory Issacs and Vincent Gallo, nestled inside an intimate blanket of bass and vertiginous atmosphere.
On three of the album cuts, the duo becomes a trio, as the bittersweet backing vocals of Hitomi (Dokkebi Q) adds a further disorientating swirl around the mix like memories gatecrashing the present.
This just hit my inbox, the artwork and music from the forthcoming Dub Heavy – Hearts and Ghosts EP from King Midas Sound (Kevin ‘The Bug” Martin and Roger Robinson) on Hyperdub. Tune into your fav’ radio programs to hear the goods. Everybody from /Rupture, DJ Ripley, Kid Kameleon, Stinky Jim, MAH, will be on this harder than two day old shit.
I’ll def’nutt-ly be dropping a slice from the reverb-drenched EP on this week’s Ear Conditioning program.