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Calyx & Teebee: All or Nothing

Review von Joe Gamp, erschienen auf pulseradio.net

RAM Records have been widening their sonic-net ever since they celebrated their milestone 20th birthday last year. After defining the main room, big drop sound for well over a decade, things started to go, in places, a little more leftfield. It;s always refreshing to know that RAM still have it in them to release a no holds barred, roaring brusier of an album - especially when Calyx & Teebee, former students of the Moving Shadow empire, are the responsible parties in question.

As the opening track (Heroes & Villains) of Calyx & Teebee’s EXTREMELY long-awaited debut album drops, it moves gradually into a soundscape that's driven by rough-recorded one note guitar strums and ambient layers of effects and major tonal chords. It’s nice and uplifting stuff – almost enough to trick you into thinking this is part of RAM’s progression into more eclectic territory. But how wrong you are as it literally drops into machine funk driven, techy 170bpm assault music, reminding of that early neuro-funk sound that made tickled many a d'n'b head. But the album is not without its surprises and differences: with each track decidedly different from the last in terms of tone, style and inspiration, the duo demonstrate an ecclectic longevity and technical production skill through turning their hands to a range of sonic beasts.

It’s typical RAM territory – techy, aggressive and unapologetic - and its sounds fucking awesome – possibly the best release on the label in a fair while. Pure Gold featuring Kemo on mic duties samples lots of lovely hip hop classics, bleeding in on the intro (including Cypress Hill) before diving into double-bass sampling jazz fusion, backed by nonchalant verses by Kemo. 'We Become One' carries on the hip hop theme featuring cheeky UK scamps, The Foreign Beggars, plying  the UK hip hop, d’n’b fusion that they experimented with alongside Noisia so explosively. It's all backed by those relentless bass seeps, mechanised armour beats and stepping rhythms. After this short, arresting divergence, its back to their trademark sound on Scavenger – much like its name sake, it ducks, dives and belts along, evading capture through its fragmented basslines, disjointed signatures and tempo-changing beats.

The duo even take a stab at the Autonomic / Instra:mental style minimalism of recent times on Strung Out, still retaining the tempo through a sparse and dark plain of haunting synths and puncturing snares and kicks. Starstruck emanates early Sub Focus, a jumping banger featuring dirty and growling jugular basslines before the album finally closes off in the same spirit it opened with on Nothing I Can Say' . Etheral atnospherics, ambient soundscapes... before the tightly-compressed hydraulics kick in, reminding you that you're listening to one of the finest drum and bass albums of the last few months. And that it's a superb return to form for RAM.

Calyx & Teebee werden am 6. Juli nach Le1f gemeinsam mit Low Cut für einen unvergesslichen Abend sorgen.

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