Collaboratory in one word: random. Maybe not so random for Steve Bug, but random for the average minimal house listener. This randomness, gravitating around the philosophy of being funky, is after all Steve Bug’s specialty. The pairings on Collaboratory, both production pairings, as well as vocal collabs, are at times so unusual it takes a bit of effort to acclimate oneself with the bleepy environment into which one must enter to fully appreciate Bug’s style and creativity.
Apply named for its blending of different instruments and artists, Collaboratory is an airy, amorphous album. Groovy throughout, Bug and his fellow artists create some of the most diverse, moody music. From ominous bass breaks to more atmospheric, liquid synth lines, Collaboratory shifts on a track to track basis, quickly transforming into new vibes, leaving the previous track’s high or low in the dust. This frequent, interruptive shift in mood and tone itself becomes actually quite monotonous. What’s worse, if Collaboratory didn’t have any vocals, it might be one of the more boring minimal albums I’ve heard.
Collaboratory isn’t the easiest of albums to accept to from beginning to end, but in two or three track doses, is generally bearable. It’s saving grace is, as expected, Bug’s creativity. While it definitely takes an admirable effort to endure all 68 minutes of Collaboratory, hats off to Steve Bug for once again staying true to his sound and vibe.