Review: While Calibre's studio albums are invariably superb, his periodic Shelflife compilations of unreleased tracks and tried-and-tested dubplates are often even better. Predictably, this fifth volume in the series not only hits the spot, but also contains some genuinely grade-A material. Many will naturally gravitate towards high-class DRS hook-up "City Life" and the sought-after Marcus Intalex collaboration "Bluesday" (a typically warm, melodious and soulful affair), but there are plenty of other highlights amongst the 12 tracks on. These largely tend towards the more sun-kissed and breezy end of the D&B spectrum, though there are some tougher and darker workouts (see the low-slung sci-fi growl of "Jaboc") amongst Calibre's waves of dancefloor positivity.
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: 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: 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: Majestic album from Calibre, who has long been heralded as a genius in D&B circles. His sixth studio album does nothing to dispel this belief and signals a return to his early noughties heyday when he knocked out sublime and understated but fully formed musical gems for fun. "Condition" has a slightly sunnier disposition than his 2010 long player Even If, but still retains the beautifully melancholic touch that has become Calibre's trademark. Standout tracks "Who's Singing" and "Mirage" are both haunting lessons in liquid and the tougher edged "Garbage Man" and "Schlager" are built for maximum impact. A must have.
Review: No other artist in the game could pull a stunt like this off: Such is his proliferation, Calibre's Shelflife series are his way of gathering ideas that he felt weren't right for single releases, or dubs that he just never got round to putting out. As with previous editions, the whole collection rolls like an album due to his consistent, spacious signature. Highlights: How about every track? You need specifics? The piano-slapping sunny-side opener "Latin Way", the big jazzy washes and lolloping rolls on "Model Way", the pushy, gritty breaks on "Spirit Catcher", the wriggling drums, stark minimalism and mid 2000s techno feel to the hook on "Underfire". We could go on and on. It's Calibre - you know what to do.