Review: When we are discussing the modern greats of electronic music production, there's no way we can have that conversation without Calibre's name coming into the mix and blend. This brand new album via the team at Signature takes the title 'Feeling Normal' and is a straight up masterclass, from the stunning breakbeat-driven soundscapes of 'Barren' and 'Man Got Sandwich' to the colourful post-garage designs of 'Feeling Normal' and 'Time To Breathe' alongside Cimone. It has a touch of everything and the quality levels just don't seem to dip, regardless of whatever genre or style we are hearing. There are also some serious highlights, with 'Badman' alongside DRS being a somber, post-dubstep homage, 'Has To Happen' being a sumptuous, emotive roller and 'Predictable' being a futuristic steppers delight. Incredible work as expected!
Review: Preceding the release of Calibre's so called 'first bona fide 140 BPM record' is two choice remixes that Signature have commissioned from legendary Berlin producer Mark Ernestus. Popularly characterised for his role in Basic Channel, Ernestus' dubwise remixes are only rivaled Chain Reaction's DJ Pete (aka Substance). Delving deep into the art of the saw wave, "Badder" sees swells of holographic synths float in the ambient textures of Calibre's original groove while occasionally buffered by light, skipping tops. "Bad", just the same only simmered down, allows its drums to cut through in a way that doesn't distract from its cavernous sound.
Review: Calibre returns with another collection of unreleased gems throughout the ages. Famously themed by his bewilderingly fast and consistent proliferation, once again it's a broad range of Dominick Martin's finest flavours. From the delicate smoky soul of the yearning "Years" to the already massive rubber-ball bassline vibe-out "Crazy For You" via the premium funk of "Latin 2000" and system-shaking rudeness of "Pillow Dub", every track on here hits the spot... But would you expect anything less from the don they call the Music Man?
Review: Total Science's CIA take a moment for reflection as they look back over the decades of hard service they've done and cherry pick a few old gold favourites. As with previous Select Files collections, the range is widescreen and full of authentic, timeless, honest D&B. You want highlights? You best start going through every track... Everything from Calibre's 2009 snarling bongo-buster "Understand" to some of S.P.Y's earliest cuts such as "Dark Age" and "Magic Hour" and the VIP of Total Science's evergreen ballistic rave weapon "Defcom 69" still hits the spot like they did the first time round. Get selective.
Review: The one and only Digital celebrates his label's 50th release with this incredible V/A collection featuring some of the most important names and artists in the movement. Calibre, Klute, Kiljoy, Need For Mirrors, Drumsound & Bassline Smith and many more all feature on the album, ensure the Function signature broadsword, open-armed sound remains as developed and varied as it's known for being. Highlights include Calibre & Jet Li's drum-heavy drama stepper "Least Loved", the unabashed bashment of Digital's own "Dub Conscious", Seba & Jr Vallo's epic growler "Wasabi", DJ Trace's wild breakbeat ruckus "Spirits" and Klute's insane "Sick Of It All". These are just examples of a completely killer collection with no filler whatsoever... All contrasts, shades, styles and energies, Digital doesn't not mess around!
Review: V Recordings do some of the best compilations in the business and their brand new Foundation series is a natural recognition of that fact. They're not being hyperbolic with the usage of the term 'Foundation' either, because this is truly an overview of some of the scene's most foundational producers. Old-school Dillinja, Krust, Roni Size and DJ Die, amongst others, make up the roster of acts that formed an integral part of the genre back in the day. The new crew is also represented, however, in the form of L-Side, Think Tonk, Nasza Linez and loads more, all of whom bring some of that V-style heat. Wicked album - one for the heads.
Review: It's that time of year again! The scene's longest-standing platform Drum&BassArena step up with their annual flagship album and once again it's a fitting salute to all corners, all shades and all styles of the rich, wide scene. 60 tracks deep comprising absolute bangers and bliss-outs from the likes of Chase & Status, Noisia & Phace, K-Motionz, Rockwell, DJ Hybrid, GLXY and Seba, it's also home to exclusives from Kyrist, Brookes Brothers, Bou & Simula, Kanina, Kove and A.M.C & Turno. From jungle to jump-up, liquid to dancefloor and complete with three killer mixes for life when you're not practicing your double/triple/quadruple drops, Drum&BassArena continue to celebrate the widest possible scene.
Last Life - "The Worst Awakening" - (6:18) 170 BPM
Estereo - "LV426" - (4:48) 57 BPM
Calibre - "Snoopers Dub" - (6:24) 172 BPM
Antagonist - "Below" - (7:29) 172 BPM
Homemade Weapons & Torn - "Spectre" - (6:12) 170 BPM
Artilect - "System Of Fear" - (6:04) 170 BPM
Torn - "Unjustified Expectations" - (7:57) 170 BPM
Homemade Weapons & Last Life - "Lahar" - (6:41) 57 BPM
Review: Berlin's own Samurai Music imprint has been holding its own across futuristic drum & bass and tech releases for what feels like a long time, consistently delivering high quality releases and eye opening compositions. With this in mind we were thrilled to see the second edition of their 'Samurai Music Decade' project hit out shelves. For us the immediate highlights on this one have to take into account Calibre's monstrous halftime excursion in 'Snoopers Dub', along with the vibrant percussive drives of 'Khans Of Takir' from Shiken Hanzo and the futuristic techno flavourings of Sam KDC's 'Locus'.
Review: Dominic Martin returns with an EP that's deep even by his standards. Stirring corners of your soul you didn't even know existed, "Falls To You" is a heart-breaking piece of work that trembles under his lonely vocals and delicate layers of instrumentation. "Crawler" lures back into the dance with a mystical cascades and far-away beats while "The Spirit" breezes and rattles with a dubby, slo-mo 140 style. A one of a kind EP from a one of a kind artist; sublime.
Review: Magic happens when Calibre and DRS collide. Both masters of space, imagery and story telling; they complement each other so well. Especially here... The piano-massaging "Sunrise" is the light from the dark as the pair make sense of the night before and capture the essence of a brand new day. Meanwhile on "Broken Wings" we're taken right back to Swerve with a subtle velvet disco hook that rises softly while DRS puts down one of the most important messages since "Angels Fall": we need to work together for this to work. Calls for unity don't come with much more authenticity.
Review: When it comes to making drum and bass that strikes a balance between the needs of DJs and home listeners, few are better than Dominick Martin AKA Calibre. It's for this reason that the album format suits him so well. The Deep, his 12th full-length in total, could well be his best set yet. Jam-packed with effortlessly soulful moments, evocative piano flourishes, rich live instrumentation and yearning vocals, it's a far more expansive and ambitious set than most D&B albums. It also supplements his trademark, club-ready rollers with tracks that look to modern soul, jazz breaks, dub and R&B for inspiration. Throughout, Martin barely puts a foot wrong, delivering a set that more than stands up to repeat listens.
Review: A time for reflection: Total Science closes down their 20th year of C.I.A case files with another precision reflection over past conquests and gully accomplishments from their collection of labels. Ranging from one of Calibre's first ever cuts (the raffish, wonderfully unkempt "Tempo Dub") and Bad Company's stupendous grime-funk twist on "Champion Sound" to Break's 2012 gritty slapper "Rare Earth" and Digital's life-changing, amen-smashing bassline slammer "No Reality", Spinback and Quiff have dug deep through the ages for some absolute gold here.
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: Drum&Bass Arena: The longest-standing, and one of the most respected, platforms for all things jungle D&B celebrates an impressive 20 years in the game with this ridiculously hefty document that pays respect to the genre's every twist and turn. From scene-shattering megahits ("Tarantula", "Feel The Love", "Rock It", "Afterglow") to unarguable historical underground scene-smashing megabangers ("Machete", "Aztec", "Nasty Ways", "The View", "Champion Sound", "Turbulence", "Up All Night", "Deadline", Ram Trilogy's remix of "Pacman") by way of tracks that may have slipped under the radar ("Defcom 69", "What's Wrong", "Song For Lovers") the whole album is loaded to the lips with some of the most important records the genre's enjoyed in the last 20 years. Time to get nostalgic, time to fill those holes in your collection, time to educate your dancefloor. Here's to another 20 years!