There are few drum and bass artists that are truly accepted across a multitude of styles and sub-genres. Calibre is almost certainly the apex of these select few. Another several blog posts could be written arguing about the other alumni of this club, but in this piece, I wish to suggest that Alix Perez is as good a bet as any another. His latest 8-track, Without End, is testament to this. The build-up and indeed acclaim to date feels very much as it did when his seminal 1984 album was released over a decade ago.
Whilst a shorter body of work than 1984 and his 2013 follow-up album Chroma Chords, Without End feels punchier for it; quality over quantity. Unlike his work above, Alix focuses purely on the 170 range, yet still encapsulates a variety of moods and vibes.
Sombre and melancholic tracks like the opener Wondering at Loss, Someone Else and the single Lost & Proud featuring the exceptionally talented Liam Bailey on vocals, are woven perfectly alongside more upbeat tracks like Moving On – again with Liam Bailey – and even the more style-agnostic Perfect Stranger with Halogenix. Distant Figures proves another highlight, featuring long-time friend and collaborator Workforce.
Despite these variations, Without End still feels like a holistic body of work, laced with the signature touches that make Alix Perez so universally adored. The deep sine wave basslines, the carefully measured and considered vocals – both sampled and recorded – and his elegant keys and chords, are clear and in abundance.
If 1984 was Alix Perez’ extraordinary freshman folio, and Chroma Chords his sophomore sound after several years of learning and devotion to his craft, Without End represents a most hard-earned (and quite long overdue) graduation ceremony into the genre’s hall of fame – if you still needed to be convinced, that is.
Written by James Austin