The Multi-Sensory Experience of Hospital Records

Music effects all of us in many different ways. There are many times I can hear a song and immediately go back to a certain point in my life when listening to it. An experience that is sometimes emotionally overwhelming because of the vivid memories each of these experiences may bring. Sometimes I find myself unable to listen to certain songs because of that same reason.

What can be said about an artist, or a label even that perfectly pairs their music with stunning, powerful, and effective visuals? That is how I feel every time I watch a video from Hospital Records. Never have I experienced a complete label that is able to floor me both from an audio and visual perspective as I have with Hospital.

I originally was introduced to electronica and more specially drum n bass as a genre listening to InterFACE pirate radio on Real Player when I was in middle school. Certainly my love of the genre gave me a lot of strange looks from my classmates at the time. I couldn’t help but love it though. The complex beats, the intricate layers, each track was its own unique escape in its own right.

As I went through high school and early college, my interest in drum n bass waned, I found myself listening to more Emo and Alternative rock. In 2005 however, I was instantly re-introduced to the genre in a new and larger way than before. One night, procrastinating from whatever task I needed to be doing I was scrolling through a number of different tracks on iTunes and stumbled upon a mix album entitled “The Future Sound of Tokyo” by a label called Hospital Records. I was immediately drawn to a specific track in particular; a remix of the London Elektricity track “Rewind” by Japanese producer Makoto.

The opening drum beats, the vocals, the build to the bassline. I was instantly reconnected to the genre that I had fallen in love with so long ago.

As I continued to explore the offerings from Hospital, I began to notice a trend that drew me to them even more. A lot of the tracks had a heavy jazz-influenced soul feel to them, the tracks by London Elektricty especially. I would later discover that Tony Coleman, the man behind the name London Elektricity, actually founded a small group of live musicians to perform a lot of his tracks in a concert setting. Needless to say, I was a Hospital fan.

In addition to the music I fell in love with the story of Hospital Records. Two ordinary men who began producing drum n bass music as a hobby and established a record label to release under. They would begin garnering enough attention to bring on other independent producers who would release under their label and then create events and music festivals to showcase their music under the “Hospitality” moniker. The combined efforts of a small independent label based in south-London began attracting international attention. Even to the ears of one man living in Columbus, Ohio.

As Hospital gained enough momentum, they also established a junior development label appropriately named Med School Music. With this label, Tony Coleman and Chris Goss would bring on young, up-and-coming producers to help develop them and provide them with a platform to build attention from an established audience. It was through this practice that Hospital would continue to not only improve and grow their roster of talented producers, but also continue to establish their unique and experimental sound that had become their internationally recognized trademark.

 

 

 

Beyond the work they do to help up and coming producers spread their music however, they also work with independent artists for album artwork and music videos furthering their commitment as a true independent label.

This documentary really gives an inside look into the treatment each Hospital release is given. Whether it is a music video, or just an audio video featuring the track and moving album art, each release truly is a multi-sensory experience which I believe is one of the defining features of hospital.

Among some of my favorite Hospital tracks ever released there is usually an accompanying video that is equally enjoyable.

 

Each video seems to perfectly capture the overall mood and feel of the song. Which I believe to be one of the constants of the Hospital brand. Each piece they release from the music, to the album art, to the video is so perfectly executed. It is why despite the massive hill they must continually climb against the major labels out there, they continue to win and thrive.

Feature photo credit: “London at Night” by Miguel Mendez is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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