Bugz in the Attic

Got the Bug

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Got the Bug is a handy package, collecting 12 remixes from West London's Bugz in the Attic -- leaving almost as many out of the equation -- and adding a trio of the group's own productions, along with a bonus disc that provides most of those tracks in the form of a well-executed DJ set. One factor that might be irritating for some is that, in order to squeeze more tracks onto the first disc and make for an easier-to-listen-to-in-one-shot compilation, the crew sawed off a couple minutes from most of the remixes. We're not talking drastic, deal-breaking hatchet jobs, but the extended intros and outros are significant portions -- especially since the tracks were originally formatted for dancefloors. (The vinyl version, however, includes the tracks in full form.) Regardless, it's a strong showcase of one of the best remix teams around. For the past several years, Bugz in the Attic have been the ambassadors of broken beat, spinning relentlessly bright and choppy dancefloor tracks for a considerable range of downtempo, R&B, and house artists. Their ambitious streak is best exemplified by a remake of Gene Harris' "Losalamitoslatinfunklovesong," in which they show off their soul-jazz/fusion chops. Bugz play it rather straight for a couple minutes before reimagining the original as an extended mix, with a spine-tingling vocal arrangement from a trio of female broken beat go-to vocalists wrapped around alternately drifting and tugging strings from Chix With Stix. Despite the complex, fractured nature of the typical Bugz beat, the crew is fully capable of playing within the bounds of contemporary R&B. In fact, if they spent more time writing songs than fielding remix requests, they could -- with a charismatic frontperson or two -- be the U.K. equivalent of Timbaland or the Neptunes. That's not likely to happen, though, since they're not that pop savvy and are perfectly fine with their level of success. Their own "Booty La La," a track from 2004, does bode well for the first production LP. All skipping keyboards, buzzing basslines, and a chorus that evokes prime Brides of Funkenstein, it does happen to show them a little closer to a more pop-oriented style, not terribly unlike Basement Jaxx. The Afronaught mix of an older production, "Waiting," is also thrown in.

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