linkthink re: hip-hop, reggae, the US, jamaica, and anything else wayne wants to wax on


the bugosphere

don't be buggin' me, blog: can't you see i'm trying to work here?

[the following is a quick response to a recent promo we received here at w&w]

killing sound (rephlex) is a new(?) release by razor x productions, co-produced by kevin martin (a/k/a the bug, etc.) and rootsman, and featuring a number of the big, bugged-out, hardcore, electronic dancehall anthems through which martin has carved himself out a serious niche in the global 'ragga' scene. [for background, see the interviews at uncarved and hyperdub.] i say 'ragga' here, often seemingly an interchangeable brit term for what others call dancehall or bashment, b/c that term does seem to express a unique sort of UK take on the jamaican sound, one that is often (if it can be believed) ruffer, darker, and harder than the tuffer-than-tuff stuff coming out of kingston and serving as its inspiration.

a recent article in the observer on wayne lonesome bears witness to the somewhat strange, outsider status that befalls such 'ragga' artists, who may be big names in the british/global ragga(/-jungle) scene, but who are practically unknown inna JA. [link via tomas]

at any rate, killing sound is a strong outing, if a bit harsh for my tastes. i have to admit that i like martin's work as the bug (or his recent ladybug stuff) a lot more than this "versus" outing, which doesn't seem to have the same range. whereas pressure had its placid moments, its slow-builds, and a sense of space, this one's pretty constantly heavy, distorted, in-your-face. (and, yeah, i realize that this is one interpretation of "killing sound"--but some people take those jamaican metaphors much too literally.) don't get me wrong: there are some wicked tunes on this, and i could see myself dropping one or two in a particularly raucous dancehall set. but as an album, i find it a bit fatiguing. nice to include a second disc full of the versions, though--they're not quite as grating without the equally hardcore vocals (which i'm sure sound great on their own, too: where's the acapella disc, yo?).

martin and rootsman enlist some wicked DJs to toast over their caustic concoctions, including cutty ranks, daddy freddy, and warrior queen. (though one wonders whether the vocalists recorded to a different riddim or to a click-track of sorts. surely, many a DJ would scoff at these bristling beats. indeed, i heard that a certain well-known dancehall DJ [who will remain nameless], taken aback by the bugged-out setting for his vox, offered to buy his vocals back from martin in order to find another riddim for them!) the daddy freddy and warrior queen tracks are the standouts, in my opinion.

bottom line: tigerbeat6 kids will dig, no doubt. me? i'll wait for the remixes.


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