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: 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: 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: 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!
Dark Shadows (feat Rene Lavice & Total Science) - (5:14) 175 BPM
Step & Flow - (6:22) 173 BPM
Back To Basics (feat Diane Charlemagne) - (4:55) 172 BPM
Cold Harsh Air (feat Total Science & Grimm) - (4:53) 175 BPM
Rise Again (feat Suku Of Ward 21) - (4:18) 173 BPM
Redcliffe - (4:37) 173 BPM
Brooklyn Dub - (5:33) 175 BPM
Riding The Void - (5:58) 175 BPM
Skyzophonic - (5:20) 175 BPM
Jelly Belly - (5:01) 173 BPM
Double Trouble - (5:54) 175 BPM
Stardust - (4:46) 175 BPM
Manicured Reality - (4:58) 172 BPM
Heavy Metal - (5:42) 58 BPM
Lost Orbit - (5:04) 175 BPM
Guidance - (6:11) 173 BPM
Mucky Business - (4:56) 175 BPM
Frozen - (5:35) 58 BPM
Twilight Zone - (5:10) 170 BPM
Scruffy Bugger - (4:22) 175 BPM
Baconhead - (4:46) 175 BPM
Perth Sunset - (5:41) 175 BPM
Back To Basics Bundle (continuous DJ mix) - (1:03:32) 175 BPM
Review: In the slim chance you missed these last year, or you've only just got into drum & bass, Hospital have compiled both of S.P.Y's albums from last year into one massive 24 track bundle. Representing S.P.Y's broad palette and crystalline vision of jungle past, present and future highlights can be found in every track, notably the inner city reflectivity of "Dusty Fingers", the rolling dreamy soul of "Cold Harsh Air" and the brutal classic electro switch on "Brooklyn Dub". Complete with a mix of the tracks by S.P.Y himself, this is the perfect time to play catch up on one of the genre's most respected and talented artists.
What The Future Holds (Special Edition DJ mix) - (53:47) 177 BPM
Review: "What The Future Holds" is the highly anticipated debut album from Brazilian born, London dwelling D&B producer S.P.Y. With releases on numerous labels such as Metalheadz, Spearhead and Soul:r he signed exclusively to Hospital late last year. Long term fans will be pleased to hear that he hasn't deviated from his signature sound at all and in fact, a range of flavours are covered here - from deep, rolling cuts such as opener "You" to techy, neuro influenced pieces like "Back Again" to uplifting, vocal led bangers such as "Hammer In My Heart". Key featured vocalists include Diane Charlemagne and Jazz vocalist Ian Shaw. This is seriously good D&B.
Review: While many producers tend to mellow with age, Brazilian-in-Bristol SPY has taken the opposite approach. His early productions were expansive affairs, musically rich and often smothered in soaring strings, but his most recent album, Back To Basics Chapter 1, was altogether more robust and rolling with clear early jungle influences. This speedy follow-up - a partner piece, if you will - is similarly dark and atmospheric, whilst retaining his ear for melody and love of liquid rhythms. So while the majority of the material spits and pops to the rhythm of classic jungle breaks and surging basslines, there are hints of grandeur amongst the basement beats. "Stardust" and the "Inner City Life"-ish "Lost Orbit", in particular, are amongst his most expansive tracks yet.
Review: It seems the full CIA cast list has come out for this entirely massive release and holy moly is it a large one. Kicking things off with the legendary Total Science guys and the one and only S.P.Y headed up by Chroma on remix duties, "Whoonga" is a relentless roller, pushing on through dark bass and sparks of light from harsh pads and electric samples. In "Stoned", Calibre calms his intensity levels for a chill roller packed with lucid dreamy sounds and tight percussion. Riya joins old friends Total Science to lend her sultry vocals to a crisp, soulful stepper in "Walk The Same Lines" and Utopia henchman Mako
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...
Alix Perez - "Down The Line" (feat MC Fats) - (6:27) 172 BPM
JO - "R-Type" - (5:51) 174 BPM
Subwave - "Think" - (5:58) 175 BPM
Shogun Audio Presents: The Classics (2004-2017) (continuous DJ mix) - (57:08) 174 BPM
Review: When a label as consistent and as well rounded as Shogun Audio announce a 'Classics' release it obviously sends shivers around the drum & bass community. It's hard to imagine condensing thirteen years of dominance into a minimized box of thirty classics, but just looking at the tracklisting is awe-inspiring. We see classic reappearances from the likes of Friction, Spor, Break, Icicle, Rockwell, Spectrasoul, Alix Perez, Camo & Krooked and that's not even half of the names involved. To break it down simply, this compilation summarizes why Shogun hold such a legendary status within the scene, through incredible consistency and magnificent diversity of sound.
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...