Far from being a straight drum and bass producer, Calibre has tried his hand at numerous different genres as the years have gone by, both under that name and under his real-life name – Dominick Martin. His work has always been easy to distinguish, from the darker shades to the rippling tempos to the lounge-jazz melodies, but in particular, his vocals. He was one of the first names in the drum and bass world to take to singing on his own tracks, and his lyrics are often concise, but meaningful.
At the tail end of last year, he dropped Grow, an album which certainly exists outside of the straight DnB stratosphere. Thing is though, there was one track notably absent, the title track. Grow was released on Craig Richards’ The Nothing Special, very much an experimental label, in order to give Calibre room to develop some new styles, and release some older material which was somewhat harder to categorise. The pair had worked on the album for years before it was finally released in December. ‘Grow’ provided the name, but the track was deemed stylistically unfit for the album itself.
Now it’s here, and it’s been deemed one of the most important tracks Calibre has ever dropped. It trundles along at 130-bpm, with a twitchy, fragmented beat and sunny, warm melodies, but that’s not the important part. In the layered, distorted vocals, we here him sing about feelings of hopelessness, escaping constraints and the difficulties of, well, growing. Allegedly, this was written about 12 ago, when Martin was struggling to overcome the end of a particularly difficult relationship. Again, there aren’t many words, but they carry a lot of weight.
2016 was an especially prolific year for Martin, and with talk of a new album coming out on his Signature label very soon, it looks like 2017 will be no different.