Review: S.P.Y - can look back over his career with Hospital Records, Shogun Audio and Metalheadz and feel pretty good about his contribution to drum and bass. Looking to the future, DARKMTTR is the artist's new label project dedicated to contemporary, new forms. Keeping the piano rolls fresh and drums liquid in "I've Been Missing You", the groove stays the same in "Alpha Centauri" only with a heavier bassline added to compliment its menacing atmospheres and low end swagger. Breaking it down some in the title-track with rip-roaring synths and tear-out breaks, a slightly stripped back but loaded number of low end frequencies thrum underneath a barrage of chaotic drums, white noise and epic drops in "Bad Monday". DARKMTTR has arrived.
Review: Remix heaven! Hospital's quarter-century celebrations continue with these exceptional remixes of the label's classics. The Caracal Project turns Camo & Krooked's 'Set It Off' into a lesson in pure futurism, Kings Of The Rollers flip Spy's house hit from 2019 into the big old bruiser it always wanted to be while Think Tonk give Lynx's already awesome hyper-stepper 'Clap Track' a completely fresh (and very wobbly) perspective. Deeper into the EP we hit a powerful take on Q-Project's 'Computer Love' by Kessler before Villem brings us all to an emotional farewell with 'Harp Of Gold'. Seriously Hospital are putting out some of their best music in years right now.
Review: It's been a brief minute since we took in a drop from the Maraki team, who return to releasing here with the third edition of their hailed 'Spaces' EP series. We kick off with co-founder My Nu Leng joining forces with S.P.Y for a hardcore inspired melting pot of breaksy drum lines and pulsating bass stabs entitled 'Feel It'. Next, Freddie Martin makes his return with 'Do Your Thing', a typically raucous experiment, combining smooth drumlines with unpredictable melodic structures for excellent listening. From here, NuBass arrives on the scene with the metallic synthesizer fluctuations of 'Titanic' to add a different direction to the show, followed finally by the incredibly groovy bass sweeps of Tony Wonka's 'Break', a perfect ending to a well thought out tracklisting.
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: A label shutting up shop is never, ever a good thing. But when they sign out with a collection as strong as this? You've got to admire them. Graduation is an epic collection of total D&B innovation from some of the Hospital sub-label's longest standing talents, old friends and a few new-gen upstarts along the way. Highlights across the 23 track set include raw damagement in the form of a S.P.Y's "Black Flag VIP", 160 freakery from Lakeway in the form of "Massive", swampy trippy tripletty funk from the long-missed Lung ("Stop Crying") and more blissful uniqueness from Kimyan Law ("Kaleido"). These are just some of the many impeccable designs from a collection that closes the label with full respect and the attention to detail the label has always had. Med School RIP.
Review: Total Science's CIA take a moment for reflection as they look back over the decades of hard service they've done and cherry pick a few old gold favourites. As with previous Select Files collections, the range is widescreen and full of authentic, timeless, honest D&B. You want highlights? You best start going through every track... Everything from Calibre's 2009 snarling bongo-buster "Understand" to some of S.P.Y's earliest cuts such as "Dark Age" and "Magic Hour" and the VIP of Total Science's evergreen ballistic rave weapon "Defcom 69" still hits the spot like they did the first time round. Get selective.
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: 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: Ding ding, round two. S.P.Y gets into his stride as the second instalment of his "Alone In The Dark" series hits hard with five more sterling sounds. "Termination" is every bit the hurter you want it to be with its shattering snare shot and waspy alien bass and "Shadow Play" follows closely behind on the ice front with its chilling pads and sudden junglised drum shatters. "Get Up" follows with big sweeping radar basses buzzing under a soaring vocal and subtle heritage atmospheres and "Coldwave" is just a brutal slap into the 23rd century. Ever the switch flipper, S.P.Y ends on a curveball. This time the Vangelis-goes-neuro drama of "Mind Over Matter" with on-point barsmith Inja. You'll never rave alone.
Review: This is how you do Let It Roll in style... You roll out to Prague with four of Hospital's deepest, most respected technicians on soundtrack duties: Anile, Krakota, Keeno and S.P.Y. Naturally they all smash the mission to pieces, Anile's brilliantly titled "Caveman Neil" does weird and wonderful things with harmonics, Keeno goes all-out gospel to tremendous effect on "Empath", Krakota cooks up some bouldering, smouldering drums and showers them with disco sprinkles while S.P.Y serves up a Randall-level roller. Take us to Let It Roll already!
Review: One of the finest gems in the Hospital crown jewels, S.P.Y lets rip with an ambitious three-part album project Alone In The Dark. We're hurled to the floor with sheet metal dubby synth ripples of "Keep On Searching" before being picked up and dusted down by the already massive euphoric riff blaster "Love Unlimited"... Only to be hurled down even harder by the chiming Randallesque fusion of gully badassery on "Alone In The Dark". Elsewhere "Soldiers" slaps with ragga soul before "Black Ops" closes the show with a homage to techstep and Subtitles-style iciness. Bring on the next two chapters, stat!
Review: The fourth instalment of their Fast Music series, Hospital Records now hit the tracks with one of the most genius compilations to date. Running and drum & bass are the perfect companions; consistent enough in speed to keep momentum but broad enough in shades and styles to keep you occupied as you pound the streets, there's a real sense of positivity and driving drama across the 50-track collection of standards and forgotten classics. Complete with two mixes from Nu:Tone, this is a win from every perspective. On your marks, get set, go...
Review: 21 years old. How about that then? Some of us were barely out of nappies when London Elektricity first launched the imprint, some of us remember like it was yesterday. Either way, we are all united under the big flouro H and right now they're celebrating their coming of age with a humungous 70 track collection. Yes, 70! Each cut handpicked to represent the London imprint's constantly evolving but always soul-touched and groove-laden sound are 24 exclusives such as Urbandawn's insane version of Reso's "Taiga", Fred V & Grafix's titanium colab with Metrik "Tension", Serum & Inja's already-massive "Blow Dem" and Whiney's remix of TC's chop-slapping "Storm Brew". Massive. Happy birthday Hospital!