- At its best, Kevin Martin's The Bug project has beefed up the skank of dancehall with elements of dub and, more recently, dubstep and grime. The formula paid off on 2008's London Zoo, one of the most fearsome hybrids to emerge from the UK dubstep explosion. After five years and countless singles, Martin finally returns to his chief alias for a new album, of which Filthy is our first taste. With two of Martin's toughest productions each presented in two versions (inna true soundsystem style), it's a testament to just how much a vocal can change a tune.
"Dirty! Fuck that is murky! Funktion-One!" goes "Dirty," which has become a 2013 mini-anthem. Vocalist Flowdan isn't lying when he says "murky"—doused in reverb, the track's zombie-like horn riff explodes in lurches, druging up bass and sending it through the mix like a mudslide. Danny Brown and Kiki Hitomi team up on the same beat for "Freakshow." Turning Flowdan's social anxiety on its head, it's a kinky sex jam that sets Danny Brown's rambunctious raps against Kiki Hitomi's dream-pop navelgazing.
The other side is given over to another simplistic beat, with exploding snares that sound straight out of early Skream productions. Daddy Freddy bellows fearsomely over 'Kill Them," but again it's Flowdan who makes the most of the beat, commanding "we need it louder" while he darts around a minefield of explosive percussion. These might not be Martin's most envelope-pushing beats, but it's hard to think about that when the walls are violently shaking.
A Freakshow feat. Danny Brown & Kiki Hitomi
B Dirty feat. Flowdan
C Louder feat. Flowdan
D Kill Them feat. Daddy Freddy