Review: After a stupendously prolific 2013 and 2014 (wherein he delivered no less than four albums), Calibre appears to have taken his foot off the gas and slipped into a more comfortable release-rate. Following his "Strumpet" EP on Exit comes this ace four-tracker that represents all his drum & bass styles: "Boogeyman Bullshit" is Dominick Martin at his darkest and most mischievous, all wobbly bass and slippery. "Smother" (featuring long term compadre Marcus Intalex) slaps with big washy chords that chime with an almost Detroitian hypnotic affect, "Multi Tasking" is a swam of sonic bees that have set up a nest in Metalheadz HQ circa 1997 and show no sign of budging. Finally, with its twinkling arpeggios and major chords "Dream Of You" is Calibre at his dreamiest and most emotional... Then drop comes and, once again, his sub bass melts your cones. Immaculate.
Total Science & SPY - "Past Lives" (feat Kevin King - Lenzman remix)
Break - "Slipstream"
Calibre - "Clipper Man"
8 Bitys & Q Project - "Low End Theory"
Serum - "Vendetta"
Riya - "Stolen Moments" (feat Zero T)
Review: Some things are worth waiting for: it's been 11 years since Total Science's debut Tuned In collection. Not ones to fire out releases willy-nilly, they've toiled hard to curate an immaculate compendium that celebrates drum & bass's most timeless, enduring aspects. Over three plates we're treated to some immense cuts that will tickle all D&B DJs flavours. Break's outrageous sub session "Slipstream", Calibre's dubcentric stepper "Clipper Man" and Serum's ghetto-bang drama screamer "Vendetta" are just three of these gems. Get tuned in or go home!
Review: Another high quality EP in his signature style from Calibre. 'Corner Dance' is a gorgeous piece of future soul, constructed with solid, unrelenting percussion, heavy subs, plunging bass, animated flute flourishes, restrained vocals and sparkling keys. 'True Stories' on the flip side, blends lively classical strings with snappy beats and lava flow bass. The second vinyl includes both tracks 'V Neck' and 'Dirty Mind', which are just as exhilarating.
Review: "Carry Me Away" features a sublime layered amen, warm bass, distant piano and dreamy soulful vibes. "Mr Right On" is a hypnotic jazz roller. Think St Germain meets d&b and your getting close. Nobody does d&b quite like Calibre!
Review: Calibre and Zero Tolerance drop this amazing 12" featuring impeccable vocalists Merci. The intoxicating funky a-side, "Waterfall", has been winning over the hearts and minds of d&b's cutting edge DJ's for months. These include Fabio, D Bridge, Commix, High Contrast, Lee, Friction, Doc Scott, Klute, Marcus Intalex and more.
Review: "Shelf life" contains 21 unreleased classic tracks covering d&b, house, broken beat and dub productions (from 1997 to 2005). There aren't many artists that have a veritable vault of back dated and in demand tracks, but Calibre is an exception to the rule. None of the tracks on "Shelf Life" have ever been on CD format before and have only been played by a select few lucky enough to have been given them on plate.
Review: "Release Me" features the vocals of Georg Levin while "Basic" catches Calibre on a more moody day. The track is full of rolling breaks, Detroit stabs and a heavyweight bassline holding the track together.
Review: Put your hands up if you remember Calibre's exceptional "Steptoe" from a few years back! Deep hypnotic dub made with a D&B mindset, it resonated with true sub low funk and that unique soul the Belfast producer has always maintained. Well here's another track cut from a similar sonic cloth; "Temple Step" is like "Steptoe's" meaner, moodier brother. More spacious than a Hummer glove box, darker than a Frankie Boyle joke, this is deep and deadly material. Meanwhile on the B "Simple Emotion" takes up back up the swift, lightfooted hats and fat kicks Calibre is best known for. With a warped bass groove and dark, minimalist production approach, this is guaranteed to add great texture to your next set.
Review: Given his status as one of drum and bass's true heavyweights; you'd expect this eighth Calibre full-length to be one of the most hotly anticipated jungle sets of the year. Certainly, it's a fine effort, packed with emotion-rich atmospherics, fizzing rhythms and intricate, occasional beautiful, musical touches. He seems to be at his best when concentrating on musicality, as the delightful "Close To Me', soulful "Wilderness" and summery "Do Not Turn On" prove. There are, of course, rawer moments (see the tech-tinged "Simple Things" and dubstep flex of "Start Again"), but these don't hit nearly as hard as his effortlessly soulful compositions.
Review: Signature drop Calibre's best work to date with "Steptoe." A deft halfstepper that displays rigid programming and sumptuous bass weight, this is a subtle killer from Calibre. It has hint of jungalism and the peaceful melodies set it apart from the rest of his work. B-side "Silence" is less refined but rolls out a worthy number in itself.
Review: Drum & bass's most unique gentleman Calibre plunders his vaults to compile a new collection of unreleased gems through the ages. As you'd expect, the end result is a timeless assault of lush grooves, soulful sonics and sweet skippy riddims. From the soft jazz insistency of "Honey Dew" to the hollowed harrowed bass tones of "Bellamee" via the harder, rave-referencing "Sagan" and the deep bass gurgles and DRS's reggae-style vocals on "Eschaton", the only issue here is the fact Calibre hasn't released them sooner. Unarguably incredible.
Review: Does drum and bass get any better than this? Two of the finest names in the genre club together for "Run Away", met in the middle by the man like Fox who puts his vocal stylings into the mix. Rolling out smooth, it's that lulling bassline and softly-spoken chorus that takes the edge off punchy drums and signature Intalex-style strings from the pad section. Fans have been waiting for a release on this for some time now - finally, it's ownable. Showing that they can still deliver tastier goods for the dancefloor, "Something Heavy" is a funk-fuelled hips-mover with Fox sending out his raggamuffin sounds over down and dirty bass. You've heard it in the dance, now get it on repeat.
Review: It's by Calibre and it has balls in the title... Does any more need to be said? Not really, but credit where it's due - no artist comes close in consistency, proliferation and out-and-out distinctive style than Calibre. Here he is in "Posh Boy" mode - all sizzling in the bass and hazy in the chords - "Iron Balls" is nasty but restrained, cruel but kind, furious but funk. "Angel Breach" takes us even deeper into Calibre's darker side with a ricochet drum set and bassline that ploughs deeper and deeper into the abyss. There's no mucking around here - just up dark style Calibre.
Review: Celebrating 20 years of CIA (and switching from The Funky Technicians to Total Science) Quiff and Spinback have curated an almighty album with some of their label's most popular artists alongside a bunch of label debutants. Here's a taste of the LP with DLR's sinewy tech take on Quiff's 93 agenda-maker "Champion Sound", a sultry slice of piano gold from Calibre and dubbed out stepped jam from the guys themselves as they pay homage to the likes of Digital and Spirit with "Respect Due". Immense.
Review: The A-track "Like It Is" is a subtle tune that leads into the healthier, more melodious side of d&b. Flip for a more basic and raw roller with some haunting samples. For the ones who doubt.. Calibre is still the man.
Review: Exit launch the 'Aptitude' series, focusing on one off, beautifully packaged items for the collectors market. Debut release in this series features a sublime double header from Calibre and L.I.S.
Review: Calibre on Exit... Need we say more? Four tracks deep, each one as subtle and classy as you'd expect. "Strumpet" balances swooning somnambulant strings, distant harmonies and a bumping bass that billows with the perfect amount of gruff. "Stranger" is a sharper, steppier blend with metallic twists to the undulating subs, "The Sweet" is all about the rhythm thanks to insistent percussive jungle shakers and a drum dynamic that switches from lean to mean at the drop of a snare. Finally we hit "Concrete". The hardest track of the pack; here we find Calibre in a more unrelenting mood as an array of bass tones ebb and flow over a thicker, more robust rhythm. The clue's in the title... Calibre is indeed a sonic strumpet of highest order.
Review: Calibre on Digital's Function. Life doesn't get much better than this. The Belfast doyen has brought along his mate Jet Li for the ride and the results are every bit as golden as you'd expect. "Push Through It" is an immaculate string affair with that classic Signature poignancy while "Trees In The Wind" echoes with a marbled synth texture, sudden flickers of piano and yearning guitar twangs. A match made in soulful roller heaven.