Kevin Martin (The Bug) and Dylan Carlson (Earth) have each been mining and defining their respective genres for more than 20 years. They’re united by an interest in – really an obsession with – heaviness. They search for, examine and break the boundaries between beautiful and ugly, minimal and maximal, light and dark.
They first started to record when Martin was recording his ‘Angels & Devils’ LP in 2014. The tracks ‘Boa’ and ‘Cold’ were released as a standalone EP, with Dylan’s signature guitar sound weaving seamlessly around some of Kevin’s most destructively heady bass explorations. Martin had decided to exclude those songs from ‘Angels & Devils’, as he felt “they had developed a singular life of their own, outside of the identity of that album.”
Ninja Tune asked The Bug and Dylan Carlson to perform live in LA around the label’s 25th anniversary, and Martin and Carlson took the opportunity to further the recording project in person. So The Bug vs Earth project holed up in Daddy Kev’s legendary LA studio. Those recording sessions have resulted in ‘Concrete Desert’. Inspired by J.G. Ballard’s urban dystopias, and the Californian dream capital’s sordid, fragmented underbelly, Martin says that the album is in some ways a Los Angeles-set companion piece to ‘London Zoo’.
In making it, Martin decided to break from The Bug’s study of groove, tone and texture, and think more cinematically. The result is a wondrously visual album.