After thirteen years and over ninety releases, Med School has stacked the chairs and closed its doors. As a final farewell to the label, the ‘Med School: Graduation’ compilation celebrates the life of Hospital Records’ once sister label, as well as the musicians and culture that defined it, with 23 brand new tracks from label stalwarts such as Bop, Keeno, Etherwood and Whiney as well as the new blood that was always so important to the label’s experimental output.
In Med School fashion, the album brings together a myriad of drum & bass stylings and beyond. From the microfunk movements of Bop to Illexandra’s warped emergency warnings, Lakeway’s upfront grime beats to the unique electronic musings of Frederic Robinson, A.Fruit and Kimyan Law.
Representing the serene side of Med School is Etherwood’s ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’, alongside beautiful contributions from Keeno, Natus and Polaris. The tribal infusions of Royalston’s stepper ‘Mark’s Shibari Groove’ and Lung’s techno-fused rabbit hole ‘Stop Crying’ switch up the pace to reflect the breadth of Med School’s outputs. The compilation also calls back to the very beginnings of the label with a special VIP treatment of S.P.Y’s first release in the Hospital camp, MEDIC1 ‘Black Flag’.
Whiney not only brings in his deep new stepper ‘Close To You’ but is also the man behind the continuous mix on the album, seamlessly bringing together all 23 tracks for one final salute to Med School Music.
S.P.Y – Black Flag
Sustained chords and pitter patter percussion starts us off with washed out alarms ringing in the distance. Stabs start to squeak their way into the atmosphere and then the kick drum build. Everyone groups together quickly and you’re off and running. A nice steady break and a humming sub hold everything together while the stabs continue to dance around within the space. A clean DNB tune that can fit in between a lot of different genres. Also has a solid old school chords to nod to the sounds of yesterday.
Villem – Stereogram
Heavily processed chords act as air to create the soundscape while a chime slowly works its way into your ears. Cleverly the chime is taken over by a heart pulling piano melody. Quickly the piano is accompanied by synth sounds perfectly designed to be digested with the piano. Once the crisp drum patterns start up and the tune is fully in progress you find yourself completely transported into a world of daydreams and happy thoughts. You liquid lovers are going to eat this one up, it’s beautifully crafted and the final product is an amazing piece of music.
Polaris – Computer Music
A high passed break and faint piano start painting the picture for you and preparing you the song. Solid percussion and drums start up and add to the high passed break. The piano continues until the break and you get a twist into a world of digital sound bits. The digital sound bits quickly take shape and the tune drops with them as the lead. Now being backed by a bassline and synth parts the digital soundscape puts the listener inside the computer as it’s creating the music. The sound design and FX painted into this tune really create a unique space that works well as a theme and obviously where the tune gets its name from. This one is a lot of fun and would be a great tune to mix due to the quick moving, appregiated pieces of synth in the main parts.
Phase – Ringer
A delayed bang and a high hat start the tune off providing dj’s with a fun and mixable intro. Soon the addition of vocals and melody quickly get your feet moving. As the drums pick up steam and move you along the vocals start to subside and you are then given the bassline. With no real first drop this tune continues to build tension and momentum from the first sound. This tune would be great in the mix due to the way it builds up progressively leads to the drop without needing a break. The bassline on this one is also fun as its subs really big and heavy. The washed-out vocals create an element of live performance which keeps the tune from becoming repetitive. Solid dancefloor tune here and would do well in many different styled sets.
Words by Bad Martian