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The Bug

Pay close enough attention and you'll smell Jamaican influences in pretty much every club space imaginable. The twin spliffs of dub and dancehall have been sparked again -- remember to thank Jah for the light -- and a wide range of stoners has lined up. Hip-hop kids smoke 'em to escape that long bling trip (Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Timbaland). Dance-rock retro-futurists pick their seeds of influence from post-punk's little green bag (Select Cuts' awesome comp Wild Dub: Dread Meets Punk Rocker, Out Hud). And G4-wielding sonic terrorists are inhaling their sub-bass bin textures while puffing on garage and jungle beats for the maximum combination of bounce and noise (DJ/Rupture, Wasteland, England's yardcore scene). It's the perfect time to cue entrance music for Kevin Martin, who, as a member of ambient-metal machinists Godflesh and noisy hip-hop beat-miners Techno Animal, spent years smuggling in a dub-head's stash. In his Bug guise, he fully embraces laptop dancehall production as an extreme sport, inviting some of the UK and the Caribbean's top underground MCs for bong hits. Not everything here is a full-on digital squall. Bug's got more than a bit of dub techno's hippie side to him. Tracks such as "Thief of Dreams," which features Roger Robinson's Rasta spiritualist verses, and "Live and Learn," with Paul St. Hilaire cooing lover's rock while bass whooshes imitate upskirt maneuvers, are lovely, calm, schizoid bits of populist reggae thought. Pressure's blasts from the dancehall camp are as good as sinister future-funk gets -- particularly on cuts MCed by Daddy Freddy, a gruff-voiced haranguer who once made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's fastest rapper. Lo-fidelity synths rumble at midlevel, shimmying your bowels in a way that's both frightening and exhilarating. This is sweaty lights-off-in-a-crowded-basement stylee.
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Piotr Orlov

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