Murmurs of melancholy, shades of deep blues, a sense of the transcendental; whichever corner of the anarchic unknown you’ve found Dominick Martin reconnoitring and provoking, his singular signature shines throughout everything he creates.
Every genre he explores. Every instrument he plays. Every song he writes. Every picture he paints or draws. Every record he selects. Every lyric he sings. A soulfully honest expression resonates. Resolutely under-finessed. Raw. A channelled idea tethered quick enough to illustrate or articulate.
One of electronic music’s most respected auteurs: the Belfast-born, Cologne-based man best known as Calibre sports double decade stripes. His body of work weighs deep with 16 albums and well over 100 12”s, most of which are at home on his own Signature imprint but can also be found on labels such as The Nothing Special, Deep Medi, Soul:r and Digital Soundboy. He’s remixed many but has never been remixed himself. He has more unreleased material than you will ever know.
Yet he still conjures, creates and releases with a confounding proliferation and consistent vitality. A tireless verve that has amplified and broadened over the years. Venturing out from his cornerstone jungle melting pot – the genre in which he first established himself in, has influenced countless artists within, yet steadily declined to follow any of its rules – Calibre’s palette stretches from smoky jazz and woozy downbeat (such as the work on his beguiling Dominick Martin albums ‘Shine A Light’ and ‘Valentia’) to oceanic ambient and sombre techno (his ‘Grow’ album on Craig Richards’ The Nothing Special) via some of the most natural and emotive drum & bass records released this century.
One moment he’s serving you your rights with a grizzled roller (‘Iron Balls’), the next he’s reduced you to tears with smouldering contemporary soul (‘Falls To You’). He’s got tunes for the bar (‘Easy Living’), he’s got tunes for the bed (‘Limbo’), he’s not averse to plunging you deep into a dank dubhole (‘Steptoe’ or ‘Stolen Shadow’), he’s had fans singing an anti-war song with shit-eating smiles on their faces for years without realising (‘Even If’). His music asks more questions than it answers yet joins more dots than you thought existed.
The same is to be said for his DJ sets: Fluent within his own vast range, favouring the bookings where space and time allow him to draw out a narrative and provoke emotions (usually with almost entirely his own material), Calibre sets draw across his own personal spectrum, never resort to hype tactics and are perennially sprung with never-before-heard surprises. Often flanked and navigated by spiritual brother and creative sparring partner MC DRS, sometimes as part of their boundary-smelting Alchemy project, his role as a performer mirrors the extensive shades of his releases. And whether you experience him taking over a room for the full 6+ hour trip, or he plays a shorter higher impact role on a bigger bill, his singular signature persists: a soulfully honest sense of the transcendental and a unique perspective from the anarchic unknown…