Hospital: We Are 21 Review

Where do I start with this review? Across 68 tracks and 2 mixes, this encompasses the entire dnb spectrum from soulful liquid to heavy dance floor hits. The first mix is more focused on the mainstream, whereas the second mix goes in and has a much darker and techier feel. I will focus on 5 of my favourite tracks here, although there are many more that I don’t have space for.

Break – Unification: This track was taken from the CIA 20 years compilation, and is one of my favourite tracks of 2016. With Break’s signature groove and funk present throughout, this is a classic roller with crunchy drums and an lfo bassline.

Flite – Awakening: An exclusive for this compilation, this is some of the finest liquid dnb around at the moment. With soaring synths and smooth drums, and a live bass part, it draws you in and holds you for the entire 6 minutes.

Fred V & Grafix x Metrik – Tension: This is an exclusive collaboration between two of my favourite hospital records artists, and has both of their unique styles blended together – elements of J Pop from Metrik and guitars and other elements placed by Fred V & Grafix, the whole tune is held together by the beautiful vocals from Kate Westall.

Hugh Hardie – Sound System Dub: This is an amazing throwback to classic dnb, as it’s all about that bass- just load it up on a loud sound system and it’s almost too good. With a crazy constantly changing bassline, breaks all over the place, and vocal cuts penetrating throughout the mix, this is probably my favourite track on the LP.

Logistics – Shueng Wan: This is Logistics at his best, with an emotional lead and effortless drums, melodic bass and vocals, it is amazing to listen to, on headphones or out loud.

Other tracks that didnt make the list are: Krakota – North Winds, Ambient Jazz Orchestra – Waiting for Space, and Submotion Orchestra – Empty Love (GLXY Remix).

I would rate this release 5/5. Essential.

NHS300 Review

Hospital Records have just reached 300 releases, and to celebrate have released an amazing collaboration album consisting of six tracks, each produced by a different duo of Hospital artists. It is a throwback to each artists signature sounds mixed together to create new and interesting results.

First up is Snakes and Ladders by London Electricity x Danny Byrd. This has the classic sound of both artists, with chopped vocals and strings weighed down by an LFO-heavy but melodic bassline, and an interesting drum pattern not heard before. Next is Apollo 69 by Reso x Frederic Robinson, an amen-break rinse out accompanied by Frederic’s signature chords and stabs, and a progressive feel. The following track is Flutterbyes (feat Prizm) by Logistics x Ownglow, and is a real classic with clean bass, pad and chord patterns and interesting sounds from Ownglow added to make it unique. Blind Eyes (feat Inja) is the next track by Whiney x Hugh Hardie, and it is what you expect: heavyweight bass, rolling vocals and crisp drums, however there are some sections with synths and pads causing a more melodic touch, and that breakdown is just beautiful. Next is Red Line by Bop x Urbandawn, which adds Urbandawn’s drums to a catchy roller, with strange ethereal soundscapes and plucked bass permeating through the mix. Finally is Reality by Keeno x Krakota, with Keeno’s classic haunting pad sounds accompanied by Krakota’s amen-style breaks and clear bass. Real jungle sounds here.

Overall I rate this release 5/5, a must listen.

10 Years of Symmetry Review

It’s a new Break album, which can only mean one thing: I won’t be listening to anything else for a while since what he has managed to deliver here is nothing short of perfection, with every track a masterpiece in my opinion. It is a special album to celebrate Break’s own Symmetry Recordings reaching the 10 years milestone, and contains many collaborations with fellow producers alongside some brand new material from the man himself.

The album starts off strong with ‘If I Could’ featuring Boston and Kyo, with funky latin vibes and a silky smooth bassline. It then moves into ‘Betamax’, a heavy dancefloor tune featuring Total Science with tons of bass weight and ridiculous drops. The third track is ‘Inside’, a half-time progressive stepper featuring the talents of Spectrasoul. Continuing on is the brand new track ‘Ain’t No Turnin’ Back’, with a beautiful melody build up and then a crazy LFO-driven bassline switching from reece basses to soaring high-ends, and finishing on an equally mad second drop. Next is the remix of ‘Free Your Mind’ featuring Singing Fats, which is the follow up to last year’s standout track on Break’s third album Simpler Times. This time however, he slows things down to a weighty stepper with a pounding bassline that hits like a freight train. ‘Give In to Me’ is the next track featuring Kyo again, and this is another new track – basslines everywhere, delayed vocals and a piano melody accompanying choppy drums. The next track is a standout for me, it is called ‘Who Got da Funk’ and is ridiculous: crunchy drums, deep neuro bass and is just so funky you can’t help but to jump around to it – definitely that classic Break style in this one. ‘Overdub’ is the next one, a laid-back dub type dnb track with relentless bass and crackling drums on top. The ninth track is the haunting ‘Left Behind’, reminiscent of some of Break’s earlier work with a spooky intro which then drops into a bass-driven stepper, switching up into a second pattern on the second drop. Then comes the Break and DLR remix of ‘Slimeville’ by NC-17 and KC. Again, so much funk and weighty bass, with alternating bass patterns and uncompromising drums. The penultimate track is ‘The Rush’, a mad adrenaline filled roller that progresses through its 6 minutes at a blistering pace. It is filled with congo drums, delicate synths and bass which propel you through this endurance race. Finally is ‘Not Forgotten’, a jungle rinse-out to finish on, with classic breaks and an 808-style bassline.

Overall, I rate this album 5/5, a must-listen.

Metrik – Life / Thrills Review

Metrik’s second album, Life / Thrills, has just been released and it’s everything we expected and more from the producer. With dance floor tunes, liquid tracks and half-time beats this album is varied but yet concise, with a very consistent high quality. I will talk about my favourite three tracks: ‘Chasing Sunrise’, ‘Northern Lights’ and ‘Western Jam’.

Chasing Sunrise (feat Elisabeth Troy) is a melodic liquid tune with a rolling breakbeat and searing synths accompanied by the mellow tones of the vocal. It has already been aired on Radio 1, and is the perfect end of summer anthem.

Northern Lights is classic Metrik, with harmonic synth lines, a catchy hook and bouncy beats alongside the sub-bass and vocals, this track has everything we wanted from Metrik’s return.

Finally, Western Jam is one for the clubs: a western themed rinse-out (watch the drop) with a hammering bassline and sizzling synths, all tied together with western sound effects throughout, it is definitely one that will be remembered.

Overall I rate this release 5/5, a must listen.

Krakota – Strange System Review

Krakota has been on a roll as of late, with the stunning ‘Citadels EP’ releasing last September followed up by his debut LP ‘Strange System’ this month. Full of jungle breaks and 808s, moody synths and lots of deep bass, this is definitely one not to miss. The standout tracks for me were ‘North Winds’, ‘Turn Of Fate’ and ‘Half Life’.

North Winds is the first track on the LP, and starts the album off with an assault of clattering breaks and deep bass hits, accompanied with grinding, crushing harmonic frequencies pushing through the mix. A true jungle rinse out, this is an instant classic.

Turn Of Fate changes the tempo a bit, with vocal chops surrounded by reverberated synths and a slower, half-time tempo. Fear not though, because the bass is there and so is the second drop twist.

Half Life is my third stand-out track, mainly because it is an all out frenzy with full on energy after the drop, with a crunchy synth mirroring the bassline whilst providing momentum to push the track forward alongside the fierce drums.

I rate this 5/5, a must listen.

Loadstar – Red Rock / On The Wheels Review

The newest release from Loadstar comprises two new pieces: ‘Red Rock’ and ‘On The Wheels’. Red Rock starts as a pad filled atmospheric journey but quickly descends into chaos when it drops into a grinding bassline surrounded by scattered hihats and vocal chops. However, the flip side ‘On The Wheels’ lives up to its name, with the vocal chops reverberating throughout amongst the insane bassline and solid drum hits guaranteed to get the crowd moving. This EP is yet again another smasher, and is definitely one to watch out for over the summer.

https://www.ramrecords.com/shop/download/ramm220d

Maduk – Never Give Up Review

This is the debut album of Maduk, Liquicity co-founder and upcoming dnb producer. Throughout the 12 summer tunes you get an insight into his amazing production values and trademark upbeat style, which he has used here to great effect. Every track is amazing, with the standouts ‘One Way’, ‘Never Give Up’ and ‘Falling’ discussed below.

The first time I heard One Way I wan’t sure what to expect, but when realising it is actually a bass-heavy rinse out quickly became one of my favourite tracks on the LP. With searing hi hats, punchy kicks and snares and a rolling, groovy bassline this is definitely one to be played at the highest volume.

The title track Never Give Up is also a standout, with a haunting opening giving way to the chopped vocals and beautiful piano, with tuneful melody and side chained, almost distorted bass keeping you pulled in for the whole track. It is really uplifting, and well deserving of the title track of the LP.

Falling is a different matter entirely, because it is a half time dubstep track and not dnb. With its arpeggiated filtered chords and ‘stop falling down’ vocal resonating throughout the track, alongside the deeper vocal from MVE accompanying the beautiful electronic influenced melody and bass, it makes for a great penultimate track. The second drop is where it’s at though.

Overall, I rate this release 5/5, a must listen.