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.

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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.

Frederic Robinson – Flea Waltz Preview

This album is amazing. On hearing the clips I wasn’t so sure about Frederic’s style of stripped back, live drum and bass, however after listening to the album in full I can say that it is a fantastic journey through beautiful soundscapes and interesting ideas. Standout tracks are ‘We’ve Been’, ‘City’ and the title track ‘Flea Waltz’. None of his tracks repeat themselves, they are all distinct journeys and need to all be experienced to get a taste of an alternative take on drum and bass music.

Urbandawn: Gothenburg Cluster Preview

This is the new album from Urbandawn released on Hospital Records, and it is looking really good so far. I have not listened completely but I can say from the tracks that I have listened to so far that it is well in contention for album of the year. ‘Together Again’ is a standout track, with a beautiful 8-bar piano chord pattern and heavyweight drums and bass propelling you through this vocal-driven masterpiece. ‘Black Notes’ is another standout, with Daniel Baeder on the drums, played live so they just sound otherworldly. Again, Urbandawn’s amazing production and piano-led riffs pull you through this tune, with loads of interesting twists and turns throughout. Finally, ‘Prime Expansion’ is the third track I will describe, with shimmering pads and crunchy live drums, chopped vocal effects and a bass reminiscent of Camo and Krooked, however warped into Urbandawn’s distinct funky style.

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.

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.