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King Midas Sound began coalescing when Kevin Martin (industrial dance veteran, of The Bug), was finding vocalists for London Zoo (2008). Trinidad-born poet / author Roger Robinson who had first worked with Kevin on the title track for Techno Animal's Dead Man's Curse in 2001, was a generation older than most of the MCs on "London Zoo", and brought a troubled soul to You and Me. His partnership with Martin mutated & matured to form KMS, later to ultimately be joined by Kiki Hitomi of Dokkebi Q (who has also worked with Martin in both The Bug and their new 2011 project Black Chow).

The duo’s debut album for Steve ‘Kode9’ Goodman’s Hyperdub imprint, Waiting For You, shares some of the hallmarks of The Bug; a musical grounding in dub and dancehall, with lyrics steeped in the grit and danger of city living and often shaded with religious notions of sin and salvation. But where The Bug had a hard carapace, firmed up with industrial beats and dubstep bass, King Midas Sound more resembles a phantom presence: a ghostly fog of sound that seeps through air vents and creeps through cracks in window panes. Think Massive Attack at their most sinister, their most fluid – the heavy ganja vibes of Inertia Creeps mixed with the ethereal drift of 100th Window, perhaps – and you’re halfway there.

Robinson is a commanding presence throughout. Cool Out commences with a soft-sung war chant, whispering “We kill soundboys with our Shaolin styles / Run them out the dancefloor wiping tears from their eyes” as the bass bins commence their slow rumble. Earth a Kill Ya’, meanwhile, mixes dusty organ wheezes with hard philosophy: “The earth will kill you if you try to kill it / Your body heals you if you discipline it,” declares Robinson, before summing up his values with a brusque “Live simply!”

This spirit, of course, is also classic Kevin Martin, and it’s testament to his holistic production vision that King Midas Sound works so neatly. Heavy with urban dread but awake to the promise of a better life, Waiting for You feels like a hard-won victory – the kind that tastes all the sweeter.

In 2011 the group released the rework album Without You featuring an array of both new vocal interpretations and remixes of tracks from the debut album from the likes of Cooly G, Kuedo, Mala, Kode9 & the Spaceape, Flying Lotus and Green Gartside (Scritti Politti).

Sites: Discogs.

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