Review: Calibre aka Dominick Martin pairs up with DRS, each taking one side of this 12" and each more than holding their own. Martin continues his current obsession with the pure sound of the real piano, a powerful antidote to the more synthetic sounds we're more used to hearing in the genre. Add a supreme male vocal in plaintive mood,. declaring "I've been looking for love in all the wrong places" and you've got something that really stand out of the crowd. Living For by DRS is more of straight anthem, with reggae influences and a hip-hop vocal giving it a proper lighters-in-the-air atmosphere, its conscious lyrics very much echoing the mood of Britain in 2020. Two very different tracks, for sure, but this package is strong in its diversity.
Review: Northern Ireland's Dominick Martin, or Calibre, to the drum & bass buying public, has a reputation for bringing new angles on this well-worn sound and these two new sides of vinyl are no exceptions. The VIP version of Falls To You sees his crisp, irresistible beats doing their magic but the piano, reflective vocal and minimal electronic flourishes lend this roller a spooky, eerie quality. The flip track End of Meaning has a slightly warmer, more optimistic vibe but is still reflective, the vocals being sent through echoey dub effects for maximum atmospherics. Definitely ploughing his own furrow, as ever, Calibre demonstrates here why those in the know will always check what he's up to.
Vintage (Ontology Hard N' Mellow remix part 1) (6:29)
Guru Meditation (5:31)
Vintage (Ontology Hard N' Mellow remix part 2) (7:16)
Review: Old skool jungle flavours get put through the mincer of 21st century studio techniques on this double 12" pack from Mike Symiakos. The title tracks uses raging Amen breaks - all smashed up and re-built in wonderous new shapes, of course - some lovely sound system sirens, smooth synths and a reggae MC adding his echoing textures to create junglist heaven. The red, gold and green rasta credentials continue over into 'Guru Meditation', definitely one for fans of early 4Hero and Reinforced releases, and the two remixes of 'Vintage'. Everything here is firing on all cylinders, but it's executed with plenty of dynamics and technological dexterity.
Review: Last spotted shelling us with his 'Vintage Dubs', self-styled liquid gangster My Symiakos returns with some foundation fire. Four cuts heavy, 'Oldskool Flavours' is a veritable rave rainbow with pots of gold at the end of every tune. The title track warms us up at 160 with its dubwise beat that suddenly turns inside out with the help of some razor-sharp amens. Elsewhere 'Wind It Up Selecta' brings the breakbeat bashment with large helpings of chaos, 'Up For Tha Business' is choppy and hectic it wouldn't go amiss in a Remarc set while 'Rub A Dub Style' concludes affairs with more insane drum science, classic rave vocal samples and synths so beautiful you'll swear you heard them in a dream.
Review: Belgian badman Nickynutz has been flying the jungle flag for the best part of 20 years and his beats remain just as fizzy and unpredictable as they did back on his early Animal Breaks outings. Here we find him paying homage to the jungle drum & bass motherland LDN with four crisp sound system jams that all tap into that original inner city melting pot that lit the fuse in the first place. 'London Town' breezes with a touch of hardcore promise thank to the dreamy synths, 'Agony Fi De Body' and 'Lick It Back' are heavier on the ragga and breaks tips while 'It's Gonna Get Rough' signs out with a beautiful Trojan adieu. Wicked.
Review: Riffz and Green Wald take two tracks each per side on what proves to be a varied but accomplished showcase of styles. 'Doubtful Being' revels in deep, clunking sub-bass pressure, crazy effects and timestretching, nodding perhaps to the scrambled breakbeat glory of Goldie and 4Hero's early 90s collaboration Rufige Kru. Jungle techno - that often forgotten missing link between rave and jungle - informs the four-to-the-floor but breaks-splattered 'No Visibility', the second offering from Riffz, an unusual vein to mine but all the more refreshing for it. Green Wald also harks back to the moments before the big bang that was jungle, opting for a slightly slower than normal tempo but plenty of beat manipulation and mixing desk skullduggery on 'Hot Pushin', before closing proceedings with the heavy but jazzy 'Gangsta', probably one for those who loved T Power's early work on the SOUR label.
Break - "Whispers In My Ear" (feat MC GQ - Break remix) (4:16)
Break & Total Science - "Dog's Dinner" (Mefjus remix) (4:16)
Review: MC GQ has a pedigree that stretches all the way back to the early jungle nights of AWOL and his presence on this new version of Whispers In My Ear by Break shows he can imprint his personality on a piece of vinyl with a bare minimum of chatting. That's how good he is. Break knows what he's doing too, and his the gnarly electronic harmonics and descending one note bass riff, combined with fresh sounding, spacious breakbeat action, make this the kind of workout that DJs will build their set around dropping. Dog's Dinner with Total Science gets remixed by Mefjus in powerful fashion too, a little more roughneck perhaps than its A-side companion, but a choice selection of ruthlessly applied sonics all the same.
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