Steve Bug, one of the world's most renowned artists in the electronic music circuit, presents his fifth and most mature longplayer. "Noir" doesn't deny its roots, but expands the usual spectrum and invites the listener to an exciting listening pleasure.
The title is ‘Noir’. The cover is dominated by the filmic aesthetics of light and shadow. The title evokes a world of shady transactions and secret crimes. Most of the tracks emit a suitably dark and moody atmosphere, with at least three directly referencing the film noir genre – From the well-known classic ‘The Spiral Staircase’, to more obscure ‘Somewhere in the Night’, and ‘The Seventh Victim’. Is ‘Noir’ a concept album? Origi- nally it was planned that way, but in the end Steve found the concept too rigid.
"I play all over the world on a constant basis, and always come back with different impressions", says Steve Bug. "Accordingly, this changes the music that I produce. I’ve had the idea to make a concept album for some time, but on the other hand, that’s not the way I work. My music expresses my moods, and of course, they are always changing. "
The material for the new album was created over a period of three years, which makes its consistency and coherence all the more amaz- ing. The mood is dark, spooked. Over the relentless beats and basslines ghostly sounds swirl and conspire. Although all the pieces are driven by head-rushing beats, ‘Noir’ is more than ever, a listening album. "If I had worked longer on the album, I probably would have replaced even more of the dance tracks with listening tracks", says Steve. "I think a lot of albums in dance music are not convining as albums - more a collection of tracks, than a coherent whole."
‘Noir’ is definitely different. Although the film noir concept isn’t carried through completely, it infuses the spirit of the record in a way reminicent of the sci-fi obsession of Jeff Mills or Carl Craig. In fact, ‘Noir’ could soundtrack a 21st Century ‘Blade Runner’ - tracks such as the pre-re- leased single ‘Those Grooves’ and ‘No Adjustments’, with their evocative spoken word texts, play in to a vision of an apocalyptic-dystopian disco.
‘Noir’ is very much an electronic album. Richer than its predecessor, these tracks easily transcend the merely functional - Steve Bug has in- jected the harmonies with serious emotion. Avoiding the trap of many house music producers, Steve has resisted the temptation to throw in an album full of live instrumentation, explaining: "the results have never convinced me. You have to find musicians who understand repetitive music, otherwise the whole thing is so watery." ‘Poison of Choice’, with its sensational guitar solo, is the exception - and the result of a techni- cal difficulty. Due to non-compatible plug-ins, access was blocked to a sample, and Steve ended up asking his mixer Hannes Bieger to play the guitar chords. While the recording was made, the idea to add the solo
happened and the results were so good they ended up defining the track. Two of the standout tracks involve sublime vocals from performers Steve has a strong affinity for. Emilie Chick, the Portland born, genre- scrambling rising star brings a femme fatale’s touch of jazz to 'Moment of Ease'.
The aforementioned 'No Adjustments' with its driving, edgy groove and out of control synth, is enhanced by the spoken word exhortation to just let the beats flow - the unmistakable work of the Foremost Poet Johnny Dangerous.
Aside from that, Steve Bug has always recorded everything on his own – and similarly, developed his distinctive harmonic knowledge by himself. "I have no training as a musician - I taught myself about harmonies. When I realised that many of my heroes in electronic music, whose mu- sic always seemed so rich, was done with the help of others, I have al- ways been a little disappointed". In this respect Steve can be proud about the fact that his experience producing the intricate and exceptional ‘Noir’ was achieved on his own.
From the driving opener ‘Tell Me Why’ to the emotional closing track ‘The Seventh Victim’, Steve Bug has crafted a rounded, atmospheric al- bum that throws a long and impressive shadow over most contemporary dance albums.