Plenty of big-name collaborators on The Bug's latest, 'Angels & Devils'. Billed as a "battle between utopian and dystopian" (but definitely not a "concept album", oh no) you get Liz Harris (Grouper), Warrior Queen, Gonjasufi, Miss Red, Death Grips, Manga (Roll Deep), Copeland and Flowdan for your money.
Pulling together "the fringes of all outsider music into a common voice" according to the press release, the 'Angels' side is described as "the heady/heavy dubbed out Angels side of the equation" whilst 'Devils' "brings The Bug's grime/ragga bass beat downs back into play". Should be interesting!
CD £9.99 ZENCD211
CD on Ninja Tune feat. Liz Harris, Copeland, Miss Red, Gonjasufi, Flowdan, Manga, Death Grips, and Warrior Queen.
- Shipping cost: £1.05 ?
Vinyl Double LP £18.99 ZEN211
2LP on Ninja Tune.
- Includes download code
‘Angels & Devils’ is the fourth album from Kevin Martin as The Bug. Once again he’s assembled a stellar cast of vocalists to contribute to, and complete his vision.
It could be said that this record is sorta split into two halves. An Angels half and a Demons one. This concept is pretty self explanatory kicking off with the Angelic ethereal dub of opener ‘Void’ featuring none other than Liz Harris aka Grouper on vocals, and who better if you’re looking for the voice of an angel. The result sounds like Iration Steppas plays HTRK and Seefeel.
Inga Copeland (Hype Williams) takes the mic next for ‘Fall’ adding her sultry tones to a morphing, driving gritty bassline and stripped back rhythms alongside cavernous electronic dub textures. ‘Ascenscion’ is a stoned head nodder at the intersection of hip-hop and dub. ‘Mi Lost’ is probably more reminiscent of the King Midas Sound stuff than The Bug. featuring Miss Red chattin’ over a cracking rhythm and deep atmospherics it really feels like where reggae music can go into the 21st Century. Hearing ‘Pandi’ for the first time really was a pleasant surprise. A huge organ piece with heavy emotional impact and a real devotional feel. ‘Save Me’ enlists the talents of Gonjasufi and marks the transition from the “Angels” into “Devils” parts of the record as things become more paranoid and creepy.
Frequent collaborator Flowdan (Roll Deep) marks the Devils' arrival with the aggressive itchy dancehall/ industrial grime mutant ‘The One’ with military snares, gunshots and explosions that induce the panic of being in a war zone. Manga spits with intense delivery on grimey banger ‘Function’. Then the mighty Death Grips step up on “Fuck a Bitch” which is everything you would expect/ hope from the collaboration. Hardcore hip-hop meets nasty bass music that my wife actually said she was into! I don’t think she properly clocked the lyrics though. Flowdan sounds pretty intimidating on the brooding ‘Fat Mac’ which I think from the guitars features JK Flesh. Warrior Queen provides the slackness with ‘Fuck You’ telling us in no uncertain terms that she will absolutely destroy you and your member in the sack if she feels like it. Leaving you're poor unfortunate pee thing resembling a blind cobblers thumb. This lady doesn't mince her words and for that I adore her. The album closes with another Flowdan voiced cut ‘Dirty’ which appeared previously on the ‘Filth’ 2x 10” also on Ninja Tune.
Everyone is in fine form on ‘Angels and Devils’. I think it goes without saying that it’s highly recommended.
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