Hospital Records is a true institution of the British Dance music scene, and deservedly so. If you have been to one of their Hospitality shows you will know first hand that very few do Drum and Bass quite like they do. They had quite the year in 2015, managing to host 82 events across 20 countries, and Hospitality 2016 – this years compilation album captures the eclectic spirit of a Hospitality event, without having to deal with a room full of sweaty strangers to appreciate it.
Immediately it is clear that this is a fairly hefty package – the compilation collects sixty songs from across Hospital Records’ vast array of artists, plus two continuous mixes using songs from the compilation. Although the album, as expected, contains a large number of songs released in 2015 it also surprises with a good amount of exclusive tracks. I found my favourite among these in High Contrast’s wonderful Calling My Name, a track that displays the welsh producer at his best, complete with a characteristic throbbing bass line. Metrik’s Terminus is another exclusive cut that stood out, possessing a massive hook that begs to be played as loud as your speakers will allow.
Aside from the exclusive tracks, the compilation gathers some of the finest tracks released by Hospital Records in 2015. The songs span Drum and Bass’s sub genres, from dark bass heavy Jump Up tracks such as Phace’s remix of Dreadnaught , to the soulful liquid melodies of tracks like London Elektricity’s (incredibly named) Telefunken Lizard Filter. An honourable mention goes to the inclusion of Dead Limit, a collaboration between Jump Up heavyweights Noisia and The Upbeats. Although neither of the artists are signed to Hospital Records this thrashing track was a personal favourite of 2015, and having another excuse to listen to it some more can only be a good thing.
Inevitably, considering the size of the thing, Hospitality 2016 contains a few tracks that miss the mark. Reso’s remix of Urbandawn’s Neon Nights – a track I personally feel fails to build any kind of momentum and is devoid of any interesting hooks, is one of these. However tracks like these are few and far between and do little to detract from the overall quality of the compilation. In all it makes for a slick, highly varied and greatly enjoyable listening experience, perfect for sticking on before you stumble off to the bus stop to head into town, and you’ll struggle to find as many ‘certified bangers’ for the price of a single album anywhere else.