- Ninja Tune / ZEN12394
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The Bug clearly felt bad after finishing 'Angels & Devils' that he didn't give his collaboration with Earth the appropriate twenty-minutes-to-five-hours runtime it needed to make sense. This 12", entitled 'Boa / Cold', brings together the sinister bass and the guitar manifestations of drone's most famous band for second innings.
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- Boa / Cold by The Bug Vs Earth
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The Bug wanted to make use of Earth on his daring new record, ‘Angels & Devils’, but even with his dubstep shoehorning of a dozen artists not fit nor ready for his own musical world -- including, of all people, Grouper -- he couldn’t fit the doomslayers into place. If ever there was a chance for this ridiculous collaboration to work, you’d think it’d be now, when Earth are at their most musically sympathetic, straining to make pop songs proper and enlisting Mark Lanegan as an actual vocalist on ‘Primitive and Deadly’. That’s the furthest thing from what the Bug wants though -- this collaborative 12”, born out of the creative limitations of the Bug’s new record, brings together the heaviest affectations of both artists, and makes for the soundtrack to the electric company crumbling to the scorched ground.
Once you get past the fact that slow riff cockroaches Earth have teamed up with sinister beatmaker the Bug, there’s nothing particularly surprising about ‘Boa / Cold’ -- both elements are layered tactfully and precisely, the electronics layered over Earth’s pretty simple and regular-sized doom riff. Both aspects of sound feel like they’d be perceived as pretty bog-standard in their own worlds, and together they make for something chilling but familiar. The most interesting moments seem merely incidental, such as the drum rolls the Bug invokes at choice moments or the skittering electronics in the backdrop, which sound kinda Pharmakon without the fear factor.
Things get slightly skewed on “Cold”, which puts the focus more squarely on the Bug, cutting up Earth’s riffage and scattering it across the barren landscape while the electronics reign supreme. Despite the forceful whispering beat, it feels somewhat ambient in discipline, not veering towards a climax, just getting to one accidentally, like walking up a mountain without realising you’re on one. It’s a surprise how modest and unobtrusive this collaboration is -- it’s between two stalwarts of ferocity, but together they sound like the apocalypse is an inevitability. So like, you know, whatever.
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