Some sub-labels remain a subsidiary throughout their lifespan: a shadow to its dominant parent imprint, sometimes used as an overflow during times when there’s too much good music to sign, or an experimental sketchpad for future ideas.
Other sub-labels are so strong they develop such a distinctive character and identity of their own that the precursor of ‘sub’ seems a little insulting.
Labels like Med School. Currently celebrating their 10th birthday, the label’s mission has remained consistent since its debut release (S.P.Y’s Black Flag / Double Dragon) in 2006: nurture new talent, explore new ground and refuse to kowtow to formula or function. Over the years this mission has delivered exceptional records (many of which are debuts) from an array of exciting artists: Keeno, Etherwood, S.P.Y, Anile, Bop, Joe Syntax, Fracture & Neptune, Lung, Villem, Rawtekk, Royalston, The Erised and many many more.
To celebrate their landmark anniversary, Med School have put together an album loaded with brand new originals and a collection of reversions of Med School classic from some its artists and closest affiliates.
“We wanted to celebrate our 10th birthday in a way that showcased everything that the label has achieved during the past decade, as well offering a glimpse into the future,” says label manager Mullett.
“It gave us the perfect opportunity to get some of our favourite artists – Frederic Robinson, Kimyan Law, Ivy Lab, G.H.O.S.T, Abstract Elements – on board to remix stand out moments from the Med School back catalogue, demonstrating everything that was special about the original track but with a fresh twist. It’s not just a compilation made up of one sound, it’s a true reflection of the myriad of styles the label has embraced from day one. As for the next ten years, it’s impossible to say where things will end up but our main focus is to continue our open minded approach to music. It’s been the driving force that’s got us this far, so as long as that remains, we’ll be doing interesting things.”
Amen. We collared each artist currently signed to Med School’s roster (plus label boss Mullett and close confident Blu Mar Ten) to catch ten Med School highs over the last ten years. Get to know:
The Erised – Pray (Bop Remix) (2016)
One of my favourite releases on Med School in the last ten years… Bop’s sound is imprinted all over it and everything just progresses beautifully into an 80s synth-laced Blade Runner dream in the second breakdown. For me this really concretes why Med School has grown and grown over the last decade into a leading label in D+B, pushing corners further apart with such artists like Bop!
Blu Mar Ten
Song About My Dog (2009)
This track was a real revelation when it appeared. It took the best of the minimal, ‘Autonomic’ sound and meshed it with some amazingly moving melodies and harmonies. It’s inspiring how much it didn’t give a shit about what else was going on around it at the time.
Fracture & Neptune – Ventura (2006)
My choice is. I think this tune was what first caught my attention by the label because I was a big fan of drumfunk and the Fracture & Neptune sound. The atmosphere and the mood of this track is unbelievable.
Keeno – Nocturne (Frederic Robinson Remix) (2016)
These are two producers that pay a lot of attention to the intricacies of their sound and this remix is classical yet fresh. The original was ace but I love the half time element that Fred does so well and he’s weaved the piano perfectly across skippy percussion. Then it gets all grimy and Flumesque before the breakdown. Love it!
Synkro – Departure (2010)
Our favourite tune is because it’s Synkro and that’s it.
Rawtekk – Snowflakes (2011)
The whole New Blood 011 album was what really sold me on the Med School sound. This tune takes me back to the days when I was learning about sub bass and this one sure has a tasty bassline! It’s that vocal that’s the standout part of the track – I’ve always wanted to play this out but it’s an absolute mission to mix. It was the music from Med School that convinced me that there was an appetite for musical drum and bass and songs like that this that drove me to work harder on my production so I guess these tunes are special as they remind me how far I’ve come in five years. Also, I still LOVE this tune and it still sounds fresh after all this time. A certified Med School classic.
Trisector – Morning Rain (2008)
Stefan: We’ve always liked the charm of the Med School releases so we feel that we can’t choose just one track…. Although we especially love the atmosphere of and the sound design of Trisector’s Morning Rain, we have to shout out Abstract Elements’ remix of Bop’s Spiral too!
Christine: Also I personally still think Rawtekk – Snowflakes has always been and still is a very special and unique song. I think I’m allowed to make that comment on a Rawtekk track, because I didn’t write or sing it. It was sung by another singer. Today I only sing it when we perform it live.
Lung & Joe Syntax – Red Rhythm (2012)
First place goes to Red Rhythm by Lung & Joe Syntax for no other reason than because it’s a killer tune. I also have to mention Spoken by Etherwood, Z-Grab VIP by Enei and the brand new Sunchase Remix of Hide Your Tears Because We Are In Heaven by Unquote.
Etherwood – Disposition (ft. Rocky NTI) (2013)
For me it’s the perfect example of a tune that doesn’t need a barrage of various elements and mind-blowing technicality, instead showcasing the fact that simplicity can often produce a brilliant piece of music. The incredible atmosphere throughout the tune that’s initiated by the rhodes is complimented beautifully by Rocky NTI’s haunting vocal, making it without a doubt the track I’ve kept coming back to most out of the Med School catalogue.
The Erised – Pray (2015)
Firstly, because it’s a truly beautiful piece of music, but it also represents a really key moment for the label – signing a band allowed us to follow our music driven ethos and push the label into completely new territory. It’s been an interesting and rewarding challenge but the energy surrounding the band is exciting everyone at the label and we can’t wait to see the reaction when we release their debut album in June.