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: 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: 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.
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.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.