10 years old last Sunday and still one of the most celebrated and drawn for tunes across all shades of drum & bass. This week’s TBT can only be Commix – Be True.
A genuine palette cleanser for any DJ and the perfect balance of all the vital elements – weight, soul, atmosphere, instrumentation, variation, vocals and space – Be True is one of the rare breeds of tunes that you remember exactly where you were when you first heard it. It’s also the type of tune that will fit into any style set at any time and enjoy a hurricane reaction of energy, joy and appreciation whether it’s used to elevate a warm-up, capture that special moment at the end of the night or throw people sideways in a surprise double drop.
It’s been this way from the moment it dropped on dubplate in early 2007. Be True has complemented and remained relevant to drum & bass’s every stylistic twist and turn: be it as a key waymark in the perennially mutating ‘liquid’ sound that had reached a peak in the mid 2000s when this first came out; a knowing nod back to the classic genre-forming productions from the likes of Marcus Intalex, Photek and Hidden Agenda or an antidote to more recent commercial and neuro movements.
The best thing was that Be True wasn’t just a stand-alone moment that year for Commix (who, at the time comprised now-sole member George Levings and Guy Brewer) It was part of a much bigger picture: Call To Mind. The first non-Goldie/Rufige Kru related artist album to drop on Metalheadz, Call To Mind enjoys the same stature and respect as Be True does.
Boasting stone cold compositions such as the come-to-bed sultriness of How You Gonna Feel (with dBridge’s brother Steve Spacek on vocals), the groaning, tripped-out roller Satellite Type 2, the beautiful daydream stepper Emily’s Smile and the gully shock-out Change; Call To Mind was a blueprint that at once captured a moment in time (the merging of deep and minimal styles and drum & bass acts beginning to look beyond 170), joined the dots with other genres (hip-hop, house, techno, soul) and still sounded future as f**k… As it still does now.
In fact Call To Mind was the product of such deep studio explorations and creative energy, it left George and Guy “creatively drained” and marked the start of a new slightly fractured chapter for the act as a new decade ushered in. We learnt this in a rare interview with George Commix last year as he returned from the techno wilderness with his first D&B productions in over three years. Like Be True and Call To Mind, the interview is still relevant and well worth a read if you missed it the first time. It features golden quotes like this…
I often think about my discography and what I’ll leave behind when I hang my boots up and I want it to be a solid body of work that doesn’t stagnate. Music has never been about the career or money or ego, it’s about art and creating a solid journey through my life that relates through music. If it takes 10 years to come up with new ideas then so be it.
Salute to Commix, Metalheadz and every DJ who continues to play this. Enjoy..