Kevin Martin, the main man behind a myriad of projects — related to experimental ambient (EAR), space jazz (God), hip-hop (Ice), and electronic music (Techno Animal) — founded the Bug in 1996 for Tapping the Conversation, a heavy dub album (based on Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 film The Conversation) recorded for WordSound with ambient-breakbeat maestro DJ Vadim. Five years later, the Bug returned as a mostly Martin project with Pressure, a record that wrecked dancehall conventions and featured vocal toasts from the Rootsman, Daddy Freddy, and Toastie Tailor. Although it didn't seem as if the Bug remained steadily active during the next few years, Martin and the Rootsman teamed (as Razor X Productions) to record a series of pulverizing singles that were eventually compiled for 2006's Killing Sound.
The third proper Bug album, London Zoo, surfaced on Ninja Tune in 2008, with Martin serving up typically aggressive dancehall informed by grime and dubstep. The likes of Warrior Queen, Tippa Irie, Spaceape, Ricky Ranking, and Roger Robinson contributed vocals. Six years passed before the next Bug album, during which time Martin worked on his new King Midas Sound project and relocated to Berlin. Angels & Devils was finally slated for release in August 2014, boasting guest appearances from the likes of Gonjasufi, Death Grips, and Liz Harris of Grouper. An album of two halves, it juxtaposed softer, shoegaze-influenced tracks with brutal dancefloor monsters mashing together grime, dancehall, and trap. It was followed by the Exit EP in October.
The Bug vs. Earth (Dylan Carlson) also issued their first collaboration that year, with Boa/Cold. The pair dug deep, found time to play together live, and planned an album. Martin released the 12" Zim Zim Zim during the fall of 2015, and Box/Iceman a year later. He and Carlson continued to work exhaustively on their full-length. That collaboration, titled Concrete Desert, was released by Ninja Tune in the spring of 2017. ~ John Bush