Technique can only take a mix so far; after that the material itself has to take over.
Steve Bug, founder of minimal techno clearinghouse Poker Flats and producer since the early nineties, has attained a certain stature in the arena of glacially evolving dance music. On his new mix album for Belgian club Fuse, Bug works in Ableton Live with a clear finesse and deep sense of focus. But technique can only take you so far when it serves mostly to veil any trace of its own editing presence -- after that the material itself has to take over. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions (the sleek, sinewy menace of "Problem #13", the denser electro of Bug's own "Wet"), there isn't all that much to separate one stretch of the disc from another. The mainstays here, then, are simply recurring bass kicks with various counter rhythms, fluttered reverb effects, and revolving bits of three-note melody, all seamlessly sliding from track to track. For those with an appreciation for stripped-down precision repetition, Steve Bug is an undeniably competent purveyor of the form; for the unconvinced or unfamiliar, Fuse Presents Steve Bug is unlikely to draw any special attention.