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Drum & Bass

AKA: Tom Withers

Cleopatra, Cleopatra Records, Commercial Suicide
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Tom Withers, AKA Klute, has been a fixture on the Drum and Bass scene for over eight years, lending his creativity to the likes of Metalheadz, 31 Records and his early stable Certificate 18, responsible for releasing his first two albums, “Casual Bodies” and “Fear of People”. In 2001 his own Commercial Suicide imprint was borne out of a necessity on Klute’s part to control his own releases as well as provide a support network for the ever increasing new generation of like minded producers. So far the label has seen releases by Klute himself, Calibre, Total Science, Digital, and Austrian Prodigy D.Kay. Previous to this much lauded and rebellious electronic career, Klute fronted legendary Skate-Punk outfit, ‘The Stupids’, an apt schooling for a producer with this unique level of eclecticism.

But how did we arrive at this point? In his own words Tom recalls: "after releasing my last album “Fear of People” on certificate 18 in 2000 I decided to spend the next eighteen months getting back to my roots as a drum and bass artist." The result of this retrospection was a series of well received singles, “with the dance floor in mind”. The aim (which was comfortably achieved) was “to spread my wings, connect with more people and bring my music to a wider audience.” With this reintroduction a hunger was reborn leading to Klute coupling his early album work with his new found club orientation; “…rather like bringing a book to the people instead of another issue of a magazine.” The twelve track result, “Lie, Cheat & Steal” effortlessly bridges the oft-ignored gap in Drum and Bass between artistic longevity and dance floor appeal.

Tom’s humble contentment with his latest labour of love and its’ non-Drum and Bass offshoot, “You Should Be Ashamed” is indicative of their probable success. “As an artist and as a listener I have always been very diverse and those familiar with my output on Certificate 18 will know that there if far more to me than Drum and Bass”. As a melting pot of every electronic and roots based genre, Drum and Bass is often blessed with moments of inspired creation. Klute’s latest Drum and Bass offering is the latest example. Couple this with “You Should…” and the resulting double album offers both guidance and education to the KLUTE sound and it’s background: "The reason why I went all the way with the electronic album is because my heart lies in Detroit. I’ve always appreciated all kinds of electronic music but for me this revolution began in Detroit and “You Should Be Ashamed” is my own take on this hugely important part of my life."

As an ongoing studio experiment, tracks from both albums have crept onto sound systems and into the hands of DJs all over the world in recent months and henceforth proved their dance floor worth and immediacy. This fresh take on dance floor elements has been welcomed across the board by the likes of Goldie, Bailey, Marcus Intalex, Fabio, Trace, Andy C and Ed Rush. Any preconceived ideas of a lack of non D&B maturity in Klute’s other works have been dispelled thanks to DJ support from Andrew Weatherall, the Plump DJ’s, Laurent Garnier and Mr C amongst others.

With the dance floor firmly taken care of the home experience doesn’t fail to satisfy, in fact it captivates, returning the club support favour with a special link rare in modern dance music LPs. “There’s a lot that inspires me but I believe that what sets this album (”Lie, Cheat…“) apart from the first two was the decision to concentrate more on melody and song structure”. This ethos, almost reactionary in today’s Drum and Bass climate, is ever present in tracks such as “Candy Ass”, “Now, Always, Forever” and the previously released “Part of Me”. “Melody is what drives me, but it’s a constant battle to bring song structure into the Drum and Bass formula.” With “Lie, Cheat & Steal” this challenge has been met, garnering results the like of which haven’t been seen since seminal works such as Goldie’s “Timeless” and Reprazent’s “New Forms”.

Once again the pioneering tones are offset by the extended roots investigation of “You Should…” leaving the listener with an unparalleled insight into the mind of a contemporary (dare I say it) genius. “To me drum & bass is a form of music which has always been out on a limb and the tracks that have shocked me are those that have expanded on what went before them, explains Tom. Whether that’s people using the technology in ways that you’re not supposed to or just turning around sounds in different ways. As far as I am concerned people taking chances is the future and I would like to think that my material falls into that category.”