Words: James Keith

Kevin “The Bug” Martin has been blowing out speakers for the best part of two decades now. Granted, the noisy extremes of his music are thrilling, especially through a top-notch sound system, but it’s not just his very technically-minded ability to craft a big banger that’s made him a favourite of ravers; it’s also his genre-defying freeness. On his 2014 album Angels & Demons, for example, Martin manages to fit together collabs with Flowdan, Death Grips and Inga Copeland—and it works. Elsewhere in his discography, you can find collabs with everyone from Detroit rap maniac Danny Brown to doom and drone metal gods Earth to reggae and dancehall pioneers Tippa Irie and Daddy Freddy, all somehow woven together into a cohesive whole.

The other thing that stands out with The Bug is that he cares. I mean, he really, really cares. The attention to detail in his productions is astonishing and immediately audible. It may sound like hair-raising chaos, but there’s a very precise science behind it all. He tours a lot, but selectively. The specifics of his music—whether it’s dancehall, dub, doom, glitch or his beloved acid ragga—are so finely tuned that it can only be heard live through the biggest and best sound systems. If your tech’s not on point, you’ve no chance of booking him.

He’s also a prolific collaborator. Across four albums and countless EPs and singles, Martin has worked with Danny Brown, Death Grips, Roots Manuva, Flowdan, Manga, D Double E, Riko Dan, Miss Red, Daddy Freddy, Tippa Irie, Gonjasufi, Warrior Queen, Ricky Ranking, Spaceape, Killa P, Earth, Autechre and the brains behind Godflesh, Jesu and a few other different projects, Justin K. Broadrick. Which is to say nothing of the stunning King Midas Sound project with Kiki Hitomi and Roger Robinson, a beautifully gentle departure from his more abrasive side, but still marked by the painstaking detail.

To showcase all of that as best as possible, we’ve trawled through the breadth and depth of his back catalogue. We wanted to pull together a playlist that could give you as much of an understanding of his vast and eclectic palette as possible. Before you say anything, we know there’s nothing from Pressure; we can only work with what Spotify gives us. It still ranges wildly in genre and subgenre, but it’s all undeniably Kevin Martin.

Here are 20 reasons to love The Bug.

Posted on May 30, 2018