Review: Oh gosh. Total Science ante up for the summer with this exceptional V/A EP on their CIA imprint. Kicking off with a crucial new remix of their classic "Nosher" by their new hybrid gang comprising of themselves, DLR and Hydro, full breadth and variation abounds as we dip into the gilded soul of Zero T & Phase's "Talk To Me", the gnarled grizzles and dubby danger of their own "Devils Gate" with Scar member Script and the grand finale; a heavyweight purring roller from two of the most respected newcomers in the game right now: Ill Truth and SATL. Each one a persy for different chapters of the night, any further information is classified.
Review: Calibre has been on fire this year, serving up two albums, a swathe of killer collaborations and a handful of fine solo singles. Here he rounds off 2018 in fine style with a pair of polished cuts on his own Signature Records imprint. A-side 'Taciturn" is as musically vibrant and expansive as you'd expect, with poignant piano motifs, sustained chords and breathtakingly beautiful, high register soul vocals rising above punchy breakbeats and warm but weighty bass. Flipside "Butter Love" operates along similar lines, with Calibre wrapping spacey electronics, melancholic strings and liquid synths around a snappy, bass-heavy groove. It's perhaps a little more sub-heavy than the A-side, though both tracks are equally as polished and glassy-eyed.
Review: Hot on the heels of Phil:osophy's latest treasure trove comes another bounty of bliss from Artificial Intelligence's Integral. This time with old friends Zero T and longstanding vocalist Steo. "Can't Hide" is pure soul heaven; delicate layers of Steo's harmonies arranged softly over a spacious beat and lilting pianos, it's T and Steo at their most evocative and feel-heavy. "Make Time" kicks with more urgency as techno-like synths stab hypnotically, balanced by Steo's falsettos and gently rising instrumentation. Elsewhere the unstoppable Monty gives their evergreen 2016 soul-out "Too Close To See" a bittersweet twist. There's no hiding from this one.
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: What a comeback year it's been for Zero T. Kicking off 2015 with a hefty Metalheadz 12" it's been a consistent slew of seismic rollers ever since, including his second album Golden Section on Dispatch. Now jumping aboard the good ship Fokuz, he delivers another double-sided story; "Dice Game", all waspy and electrified, would sit well against a Break production while "Thirty Four" is a much more soulful, somnambulant piece that would sit well against a Makoto joint. Both are delicious and make you wish Zero T didn't disappear for so long in the first place.
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.
Review: Four of the scene's most soulful heavyweights representing with sublime slices of rolling gold on Soulr's consistently impressive four-piece series: Zero T polishes up ivories so much you can see your thoughts in them, Tokyo Prose toys with a lush falsetto and dreamy soundscapes, FD find the blue note on his DAW and wraps it up tight in the smoky tones of Collette Warren while LSB reminds us of the beauty of sample-based groove simplicity with hypnotic Q&A charm. Authentic timeless D&B.
Spectrasoul - "Away With Me" (feat Tamara Blessa - Calibre remix)
Zero - "Refusal" (feat Steo - Calibre mix)
Lynx & Hellrazor - "Passing Time"
Calibre - "Notting Hill"
D-Bridge - "Inner Disbelief"
Calibre - "Hummer"
Kodo - "The Jackal" (D-Bridge remix)
Calibre - "Fire & Water"
Genotype - "Justice Over Law"
Calibre - "Blazin"
Calibre - "Student Music"
Calibre - "Outro"
Review: Calibre has always been one of the more thoughtful members of the drum & bass fraternity, with a passion not just for rumbling rhythms, but also pleasing musicality. It's these two sonic traits that come to the fore on FabricLive 68, his first contribution to the London super club's long running mix series. While there are plenty of sublime moments punctuated by punchy percussion, it's the more fluid, musically complex tracks that stand out (see the twinkling pianos of DRS's "Keep The Faith", Marky & SPY's carnival-tastic "Yellow Shoes (Calibre Remix)" and Zero's "Inner City Life"-ish "Refusal"). As a result, FabricLive 68 is a loose, languid journey through D&B's greener pastures.
Review: After the uncertainty that has surrounded the Fabric Empire in recent months, it's heartening to see a new Fabric Live mix drop. At the controls for the fifty second edition is Dublin D&B don Zero T, with a selection that veers from the confines of junglist workouts into dubstep, house and ends with some hip-hop tinged drum and bass. It's the familiar vocals of a legendary rapper that open Zero T's mix with the bass atmospherics of Paradox's "A Certain Sound" being taken over by Jeru The Damajah's guest spot on the ruff VIP mix of "Watch Your Step" from Kabuki.
Review: After a few years away from the scene, Zero T has returned to remind us who's the boss. Up there with Calibre and Break; his productions rattle with effortless funk and soul while exposing enough dark underbelly to appeal to fans of the harder sound. Hence this appearance on Metalheadz with Beta 2. "Election" is a growling, grunting roller with a simple-but-deadly bass lick while "What's Wrong" flips for a slower tempo halftime slinky session that nods deftly at the very early days of dubstep when UKG took a turn for the dark. For balance Beta 2 goes solo "The Edge". A bulbous roller a la late 90s Moving Fusion, watch out for those strings... When they come in, they'll sweep you off your feet.
Review: Zero T and Fierce on Metalheadz: Few words are required, we all know we're dealing with uncut premium kit here. "Bonesmen" is all about the dark tech groove, the way the drums switch with subtlety, the persistent sub and classic Headz FX rotate through the spectrum. "In Circles" flips the vibe with a lighter tone in the pads, a sweet deep dream atmosphere on the blink-and-miss breakdown and chirpier, looser, funkier drums. Two cuts, both true to the craft.
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.