Calyx & TeeBee:
Deetron: Fabric 76
Anyone curious about what's happening in drum'n'bass at the moment could do worse than Calyx & TeeBee's contribution to Fabric's esteemed live series. Londoner Calyx and Norway resident TeeBee certainly are well-qualified for the task at hand. Over a fifteen-year span, the producers have issued solo material on labels such as Metalheadz, R&S, Renegade Hardware, and Moving Shadow, and teamed up for Anatomy on their own Momentum Recordings imprint and All or Nothing on RAM Records. Though top-drawer names such as Calibre, Break, Xtrah, Dub Phizix, Friction, Blue Mar Ten, and Optical appear, Calyx & TeeBee are anything but spectators on this thirty-four-track set, as they contribute four remixes (one a makeover of TeeBee's own writhing “Human Reptile”) and five originals (including a collaboration with Noisia) to the sixty-eight-minute recording. Two unreleased cuts also appear, Xtrah's “Compulsive” and a Dub Phizix remix of Bricky Mortar's “Salford John,” and Break figures prominently, with the Symmetry head represented by four originals (his recent blazer “Duck For Cover” among them) and a remix of Blu Mar Ten's “Break It All Apart.”
Calyx & TeeBee's overhaul of Friction & Skream's “Kingpin” (featuring Scrufizzer, P Money, and Riko Dan) sets a blazing tone that the subsequent cuts will little deviate from on this hell-raiser. Once the opener's beats, sirens, and vocals are done colliding in a ferocious swirl, Gridlok & Prolix unleash the snarling “Revenge” to keep the energy level going (something their later “Riot VIP” also does). Memorable moments? Calyx & TeeBee's funky “Pure Gold” is distinguished as much by the groan of its acoustic bass playing as Kemo's laconic flow, and their set-closing “Elevate This Sound” takes the mix out on a satisfyingly soulful note. Elsewhere, Om Unit's powerful remix of Nasty Habits' “Shadow Boxing” is an undeniable ear-catcher, and Agné Genyté's luscious vocal performance elevates “Break It All Apart.” It's not entirely recent material either, as Calyx & TeeBee nod to the past with the inclusion of Ed Rush & Optical's 1999 remix of Optical's “The Shining,” Kemal & Rob Data's 2000 cut “Star Trails,” and Fierce/Optiv's 2005-issued “Surface Noise.”
As one might expect given the generous track-list, things happen fast, and one track is often replaced by the next just as one's getting one's bearings. Halfway through the mix, the sweeter and soulful sides of drum'n'bass come to the fore in Calyx & TeeBee's remixes of Syron's “Here” and Michael Woods' “We've Only Just Begun,” but on average the mix is more hard-hitting than genteel. “Demolisher,” one of Teddy Killerz's many contributions to the mix, could serve as a general descriptor for the mix as a whole. It's an unrelenting, high-intensity ride whose furious attack will likely leave some listeners spent by the time it's finished.
If Calyx & TeeBee's mix focuses on a single genre, the kaleidoscopic set by Deetron (aka Bern, Switzerland-based DJ and producer Sam Geiser) spiritedly references a great many by comparison. Even a mere scan of the tracklist reveals the eclectic nature of the mix, with names such as Tom Trago, Redshape, Four Tet, Moderat, Galaxy 2 Galaxy, Caribou, Function, and Nils Frahm popping up; if anything, Deetron's selections read like representative samplings taken from a tastemaker's diverse record collection. House and techno are of course well-accounted for, but he also dips into left-field zones, too. By his own admission, “I started to pick my favourite pieces of dance music regardless of age or sub-genre and didn't really begin to structure the mix until all the tracks had been cleared, except for one.” Perhaps his catholic taste can be traced in part to his stint as a record shop runner during the 1990s.
An ultra-scenic trip, Deetron's mix gets its heady groove on at the outset by leading the charge with a stoked version of Johnny Blas's “Picadillo” by Carl Craig and never looking back. Similar to Calyx & TeeBee's mix, Deetron's never stays in one place for long, with the DJ threading twenty-eight cuts into a seventy-six-minute running time. Geiser obviously gave much thought to sequencing, however, as the segues are effected for the most part smoothly rather than abruptly, and the mix ends up sounding more cohesive than one might have expected, given the number of tracks involved.
At times funky (SoulPhiction's “Mind & Body,” Juxta Position's “Mercy,” Seiji's “More of You”), acidy (Greg Beato's “Who's the Licho in Charge Ovaa Here”), and soulful (Seven Davis Jr.'s “One”), the set works up a powerful head of steam as it powers its way through Four Tet & Terror Danjah's “Nasty” and stirring cuts such as Marcel Dettmann's makeover of Moderat's “Bad Kingdom” and Atoms For Peace's “Before Your Very Eyes…” Diversity issues aside, the mix's unifying factor is groove: regardless of whether the tune in question is Ripperton's “Searchin 4 You” or Marquis Hawkes' “Honey Kisses,” Deetron's club-ready mix rarely if ever falters in that regard. In fact, only as it winds down during its closing pieces (Juxta Position's “Mercy (Loop),” Nils Frahm's “Says”) does the pace relax.