2014 has marked the year at which one of the true titans of drum and bass record labels reached 18 years old. Since January, Hospital has been celebrating in style around the world to reach this landmark in a fast paced music industry. It is a testament to Hospital Records that they manage to keep their sound as fresh and as diverse as it was 18 years ago. On the 24th of May 2014 we saw the Hospital grace us with their presence at the mighty Warehouse in Southampton.
The line up began with a Hospital Records veteran and a DJ that needs little introduction. Danny Byrd is renowned for his energetic sets and was not afraid to start with a bang. The crowd were more than willing for the temperature to be turned up. Danny Byrd’s signature sound can be captured in his remix of ‘M-Beat’s Incredible feat General Levy’ where classic jungle breaks are combined with a modern bouncy twist. This was how the set carried on, with notable classics DJ ‘Marky & XRS – LK (ft. Stamina)’ producing a hands in the air moment as well as the track ‘Tonight’ co produced by Danny himself with Netsky. By the end of his set it was only 1am and there was still plenty of dancing to do yet!
With the Hospital patients well warmed up it was up to two juggernauts of the drum and bass scene to maintain this momentum. Fred V & Grafix joined forces in 2009 and were a breath of fresh air coming into scene. It wasn’t long before Hospital Records recognised this and quickly snapped them up in 2013. These boys have exploded within drum and bass and by 2014 had released their debut album ‘Recognise’. In a similar fashion after replacing Danny Byrd, what you saw was what you got. Two high flying producers and DJ’s that delivered the goods in a relentless swarm that is typified by back to back drum and bass sets. Most notably though, was their first single to be taken from their debut album which has the same title of the album ‘Recognise’. Another hands in the air moment where pure appreciation of the melodic symphony of synth’s overlain by smooth and soulful vocals from Fred V himself, it was a special moment.
As the night continued, a progression into the more darker elements of drum and bass was heard. Carlos also known as ‘S.P.Y’ has a sound like no other. Any respectable drum and bass fan would easily be able to identify a track by S.P.Y. One such tune released on his ‘Back To Basics Chapter One’ album is the colossal track entitled ‘Brooklyn Dub’. He first wrote this track in Brooklyn New York in 2012 which was inspired by a mix of breakdance and Afrika Bambaataa. This is easily recogniseable as the break style within the percussion is preserved and is combined with a gut churning bassline that contorts oneself into a ridiculous euphoria. Moreover, halfway through the track, the beat slows down to a 150bpm before slowly increasing again and demolishing the dancefloor one more time.
A phenomenal set by S.P.Y. produced absolute carnage on the dancefloor and very few DJ’s could pick up where he left off. But a special set was played by ‘Lynx’, a veteran label owner of Detail Recordings that has released over 40 singles over the last 8 years. An all time classic tune that the real drum and bass head will remember is ‘Disco Dodo’ released in 2008 and hence it received a rapturous reception when Lynx dropped it. Another absolute bomb of a track was ‘Shimmy’ which it punchy bassline finished off the last of anyone’s energy. The early morning ravers did Hospital proud by staying throughout the morning until close at 5am. There was no doubt that Hospital Records brought the party that night and everyone left knowing they had an amazing time.
This is normal for Hospital Records however, to travel the length and breadth of Europe to execute a killer party, one after the other. This is why this record label remains to be one of the exciting drum and bass labels for the future and thus when Hospital reach your city, miss it at your peril!