By Aaron Light
The Bug is the current recording alias of Kevin Martin, a prolific London producer who has worked in the
experimental electronica and hip hop scene for the past 11 years. London Zoo is his new album, a foray into dubstep, an electronic music genre characterized by sparse rhythms, an emphasis on bass and a generally bleak atmosphere. It is packed with enough vitriolic hate to fill five Eminem albums and more nihilism than ten albums by any given black metal band. Dizzyingly claustrophobic and off puttingly minimal, London Zoo reverberates with deep bass rumbles, industrial percussion, space age synthesizers and some of the downright nastiest and angriest verses I have heard in a long time.
The album opens with “Angry,” featuring vocals by reggae legend Tippa Irie. “So many things that get me angry, so many things that get me mad,” Irie raps over an incessantly thumping dancehall beat before going off on just what in the world gets him so pissed off. “America is a big super power. They shoulda been there within the hour,” he sings about hurricane Katrina.
“Skeng,” featuring British rappers Flowdan and Killa P is the highlight of the album. It starts as half-unintelligible rapping about all the guns they have, but takes a darkly humorous turn with some bad ass lyrics: “Sword… Sword… Shot in the face like dart in a board . Worse… Worse… Shot in the face, make you scream for a nurse. Nurse… Nurse… Doctor can’t fix you, send for the hearse.”
With “You And Me” and “Freak Freak” the album lags a bit in the middle. Both of these songs meander aimlessly, their simple beats and ominous effects doing more to bore than provoke. But the low points are few, and London Zoo soon picks up again with “Poison Dart,” one of two tracks on the album featuring Warrior Queen, who sounds like M.I.A. if she spent more time listening to Rage Against The Machine and less time collaborating with Diplo.
London Zoo sounds different from any other album released this year, most of which have been merely passable, with only a few true standouts. In fact, London Zoo leaves everything else in the dust! So give it a listen—sit back, relax and let The Bug swarm into your eardrums.