Kevin Martin is The Bug, the mastermind behind King Midas Sound, a frequent collaborator of Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, among other projects), half of the talent behind Concrete desert, his new album with Dylan Carlson (Earth), but most importantly, he is a musical genius. However, he seems to be mostly known in the electronic and Dub world rather than in the world of distorted music, which is an incoherence I have never been able to understand. The man has produced some of the heaviest music outside of the world of Metal and he constantly professes on his Facebook and Twitter account his pleasure for pushing the boundaries of the various sound systems he plays on around the world. The man wishes he could collaborate with SunnO))) if it wasn’t for the fact that neither Greg Anderson nor Stephen O’Malley seems to appreciate his work (the fools!). With the release of an album in collaboration with Dylan Carlson, the godfather of drone, it seems as good a time as any to introduce the career of a man with many faces but who is mostly known as The Bug.
Kevin Martin’s « first band » according to the man himself. He described the project as « an attempt to fuse noise rock and free jazz. The last lineup of the band, when I split it, was three bass players, a troop of African percussionists, two drummers, two guitarists, three sax players, one electric viola player and myself, screaming and playing sax through a wall of Marshall cabinets and effect pedals. » (Martin, 2015). Although far away from dub, God was Martin’s first band with Justin « JK Flesh » Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu…), a man he would collaborate it for many years.
Techno Animal (1991-2004)
Now that he was best mate with Justin Broadrick, the duo started an electronic project to explore their shared interest in drum machines and industrial textures as well as rap beats. Techno Animal is what happens when people who are passionate about distortion get into their heads to make music without any rock instruments. Although very rarely mentioned outside of articles about Kevin Martin, Techno Animal was a very influential project without whom artists like Dälek or Clipping would not exist. It should have been successful but many people seemed to take a passion in not getting it. According to Broadrick in a conversation I had with him years ago, they toured the US with Aesop Rock and Mr Lif and got muted response from crowds. The kind of line-up that indie crowd would kill nowadays! Their last album, Brotherhood of the bomb, is a forward thinking piece of Rap and Industrial music where you can find the participation of Antipop Consortium, El-P, Vast Aire or MC Dälek.
This most regular sized band was Martin‘s first step into the world of dub. Although still mostly rock based, the band’s music was getting more cyclic and welcomed collaborators to bring their own flavor to the music. Formed by Broadrick, Martin and Dave Cochrane who went on to play with Broadrick in Greymachine, Ice‘s second and last album welcomed rapper El-P (Company Flow and later Run the Jewels) and singer Blixa Bargeld (Einstürzende Neubauten) on different songs.
Curse of the Golden Vampire (1998-2003)
Broadrick and Martin’s second electronic project was mostly an outlet for the even noisier side of their collaboration. Although contaminated by the dub of Ice, their first self-titled album is a very corrosive affair where Alec Empire joins the duo since the album was released on his own label, Digital Hardcore Recordings. The second disk is a more straight ahead Breakcore machine which makes the album more violent and less interesting. Curiously, it was released this time on Ipecac (Mike Patton‘s label), proof that the pair have connections with every hyper-active musician in the field of experimental rock (to use as broad a term as possible).