Review: Hospital's most prolific vocal talent - Degs - is back on the label this week with the follow up release to his sensationally good debut album Letters from Ndegwa, a fitting remake that takes the best elements from the original and flips it in style. There's heavyweight drum & bass flavours courtesy of Bladerunner, AC13 and more, whilst Kikuyu Soul takes things downtempo in serious style. It's the latters remake of 'Colour My Soul' that really stands out, as loping hip-hop drums nonchalantly stroll beneath Degs' supremely soulful vocal overlay. Winslow also takes a crack at the tune, flipping it into a classic Hospital roller replete with sub-heavy bassline and euphoric, hands-in-the-air moments. Bladerunner gets dark and bouncy on 'Sleepless', whilst dreamteam Phil:osophy produce the basis of another sick sprayout version. Top release.
Review: Songwriter, singer, MC, producer, absolute G: since landing on Hospital exactly two years ago in 2018 Degs has consistently peppered us with vibes by way of beautiful releases and powerfully energetic and inspiring shows. Now he levels up with his debut solo album Letters From Ndegwa, a widescreen bounty of musical D&B featuring collaborations with the likes of LSB, Phil:osophy, Unglued, Logistics, Pola & Bryson, S.P.Y and many more. Ranging from the touching almost-beatless ballads such as "4 Days" to the outrageous gully energy of tracks like "The Roots" via raw funkular missions like "Levitate Your Mind", this album doesn't just wrap up why Degs is one of the most exciting artists to join Hospital but a shining example of just how versatile and musical D&B artists can truly be. What an album.
Review: Following Inja, Degs is the latest new mic recruit to join the Hospital camp. And he's bringing a whole truck of soul with him. Fresh from his appearance on Logistics' recent album with "Safe In Your Arms" comes this sublime soulful skipper "Poveglia". Produced by fellow new-gen riser De:Tune, the track is a blissful bed of sparse pianos and brisk spacious beats while Degs lays down some serious dulcet honey and clever rhythmic hooks that match the beats with a very natural ease and hookiness. We're excited to hear what he brings to Hospital next.
Review: Spearhead are back with another compilation featuring some of their music from the past, as well as a handful of brand new cuts. The final track on the release - The Vanguard Project's remix of 'We All' by L.A.O.S is the highlight, a brand new outing which rolls out a euphoric string section to great effect, a hands-in-the-air anthem which will make want to be in the rave. Phaction's remix of 'Mirror Image' came out last year, and we've been in love with its cascading drum section and adrenaline-fuelled vocal magic ever since, a truly wonderful number that's bright, shiny and full of pure vibes. Wicked compilation.
Review: It's hard to believe that Hospital Records have reached the 400th release milestone. It's an unbelievable achievement and one that reflects their dominance over drum & bass for the best part of three decades. NHS400 is a collaborative release featuring joint production from a slew of the label's most consistent producers, including new boys on the block BOP X Subwave and old hands like S.P.Y and label founder London Elek. It's Keeno and Polaris, however, that really nail things to the wall with 'Leviathan', a huge track that lays pounding basslines beneath eerie, choral vocals to create a mash up between dancefloor flavour and the orchestral sounds Keeno is so known for. Whiney and Mitekiss team up alongside Ruth Royall to produce a liquid masterclass, whilst the synthy, upbeat tones of Fred V and Logistics sound as fresh as ever. Superb.
Review: Like some kind of Human Traffic soundtrack to 2020, Hospital's annual House Party VA has arrived. Fresh for a summer of social distancing, house parties and clandestine diversions, it's a soundtrack that will get any D&B head through the lockdown status, BBQs permitted. Top and tailed by the poppy, liquid, sample based and acoustic sessions of both Villem & Leo Wood's "We Had A Sing" and Whiney's "Better With You", find playful aggro in MC LowQui's "Middle Finger" to some hyper fresh material in Degs' "Pressure Cooker". Aggy half time once more in tracks like "Saturn's Strings" with gnarly basslines in Voltage's "The Prophet" and Logistic's "Playing With Fire" bringing the heat.
Review: Is there a doctor in the house? Hospital kick start the new decade with another stupendously massive V/A collection in the form of its latest Sick Music compendium. An album series that consistently lives up to its name, Sick Music 2020 does not disappoint in the slightest; from the powerful soul thrust of Degs and Unglued's "Levitate Your Mind" to the deep pads and sultry kicks of Tolima Jets' "Clams" via Urbandawn's truly electrifying euphoria/gully head shock "Egregor", this one covers the full spectrum from an exciting and super diverse range of artists. Look out for some fantastic remixes lurking in the mix, too; S.P.Y absolutely crushes Kings Of The Rollers' "You Got Me" and Serum flips Todd Terry's house classic "Bounce To The Beat" with a new sense of funk and groove. And these are just a few examples; this is a fantastic snapshot into how 2020 will sound... And it sounds great!
Review: Hospital Records do compilations better than most, partly because there's always something for them to celebrate. This time around it's the second year of Hospitality in the Beach, their new 4 day exercise in beach-based beats, featuring some of the best artists in the game. A huge album, the LP has 33 tracks - 25 of which are brand spanking new. Whiney's remix of Etherwood's 'Begin By Letting Go' is a highlight, the original's smoothness roughly transformed into a pummelling display of techy force. With Bou, Kasra, BOP and others making an appearance, this LP has all bases covered.
Review: Wild West Recordings always try their best to replicate the no-holds-barred, anarchic nature of life on the 19th century, American frontier and they do so via the aggressive tones of modern D&B. This is a best-of compilation of tracks that have come out through the label and it puts that ethos on good display, featuring some seriously weighty acts like Nu:Elementz and Ironlung. The former's contribution is especially potent, a gargling display of production intensity and a lesson to all budding artists out there in how to create a knockout jump-up track, its biting bass stabs teaching you all you need to know. Ironlung's tune - 'Dreaming' - is equally as naughty but it rests on a much more potent set of drum hits, giving it an extra oomph that you can certainly hear. The others are just as good - check 'em.
Review: Three words: "Police In Helicopter"... One of the biggest dubplates last year is finally here, and it's joined by 24 other exceptional bangers as the Hozzy team roll out another absurd stack of "Sick" freshness from across the board. Genuinely on point tune for tune highlights include Pete Cannon's outstanding drumfunk lash out "Ella", Flava D's first D&B tune (the breath taking "Return To Me"), a bone shaking duet from the next gen gems Unglued and Bou ("Ascendant Man"), both Fred V & Grafix's first solo tunes since they split and an absolute neck breaking gully snapper from Lakeway in the form of "War Dub". And that's just scratching the surface, this is a humungous V/A album. Hot enough to burn down a cane field or two...
Review: It's been a long time coming... Since their collaborations emerged on labels such as Samurai and CIA over five years ago, Villem & McLeod have always shown signs of being able to hand out a serious album. And from the moment "Labooko" opens the story with rippling atmospheres, lilting plucks and fluid percussion you know Playing The Changes has been worth the wait. The dreamy rolls and whirls and surging soulful vocals of "Say Yes", the sliding, gliding disco vibes of "Organic Veg", the Degs-fronted space adventure "Crossways", the list goes on. Make no mistakes, this is a highly accomplished debut album that reflects the soul, skills and style of one of the most consistent partnerships in D&B right now.