Even though he’s been signed to the label since 2000, Danny Byrd has never played on Hospital Records’ A-team. It’s probably for lack of a proper artist album: while High Contrast put out his third full-length last year and Nu:Tone his second, Byrd only put out a staid compilation of past EPs (“Medical History”) and a lone original, ‘Under the Sea’.
His limited output might be for the best, however. Past tracks like ‘Dog Hill’ and ‘Soul Function’ are fluorescent-bright, sonically dense drum ‘n bass workouts, which makes them best experienced in small, infrequent doses. His latest, ‘Shock Out’, is in the same basic mold: a megaton of bass shot through with a thoroughly old-school jungle riddim, slathered with a rainbow of samples ranging from nostalgic rap to barking dogs and all made sense of with Byrd’s token theme of soulful house vocals.
Simply put, it’s a massive track. While ‘Under the Sea’ tried a little too hard to be the drinks-down, hands-up anthem of the night, ‘Shock Out’ manages to do all that without being too self-conscious or overbearing. It also doesn’t hurt that Byrd dusted off his old Akai S5000 sampler to make it happen, making the cut stand out in stark relief to some of the more (pardon the pun) clinical sounds that have been coming out of Hospital lately.
Instead of being a dumping ground for full-length misfits or 3 AM noodlings, Byrd’s B-sides are consistently home to tracks that are just as good or better than their other halves. Here, he retains his taste for fast and furious sound collages from ‘Shock Out,’ with a near trance-level slice of cheese melted over film samples, space shuttle radio transmissions and a computer fembot voice. This grocery list of “Dance Music Production 101” staples would sound stale in lesser men’s hands, but Byrd’s technical prowess makes ‘Labyrinth’ another diamond.
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Tracklist: Danny Byrd - Shock OutA Shock Out