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: 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: Calibre has always displayed an affinity for sounds beyond the confines of drum & bass, but he's never gone as far out as he does on his latest album, "Planet Hearth". Leaving the club behind altogether, he's brought piano-led composition front and centre, folded in an ample dose of ambient and struck upon a cosy Autumnal mood that feels perfect for the time of year. There are still beats to be heard here and there, but this is a personal expression first and foremost. There's a catchy pop tint to "Eratik" while the title track is more concerned with minimalist composition and cathedral reverbs - that's the kind of range he's exploring on this accomplished departure from his usual comfort zone.