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London Elektricity

The co-founder and flagship artist of London's Hospital Records, London Elektricity was a mainstay and pioneer of the late-'90s and early-2000s drum-n-bass scene. Putting a soulful twist on the genre with live instrumentation and emotionally charged vocals, Elektricity was a key player in the development of liquid, a subgenre which swiftly found mainstream success through Hospital's ever-growing roster. London Elektricity, initially a two-man project, was formed in the mid-'90s by musician Tony Colman and graphic designer Chris Goss. Having worked together as part of jazz outfit Izit, the duo began recording drum-n-bass on the side, working as London Elektricity along with various aliases like the Peter Nice Trio (with Oscar Wilson) and Dwarf Electro. Founding their own label, Hospital Records, the duo soon used the platform to release their debut single "Sister Stalking/Brother Ignoramus" in 1996, and two 12"s as the Peter Nice Trio. After getting a taste of major success with 1998 underground hit "Songs in the Key of Knife," the duo dropped their debut album, Pull the Plug, the following year. Combining the typical sounds of studio-made drum-n-bass with a plethora of live instrumentation, Colman and Goss put a brighter, more orchestral spin on the club-bound sonics of the late '90s. After the success of their debut, Goss departed the group to manage the label full-time, leaving the moniker in Colman's hands. From here, Elektricity leaned further into live instrumentation, following a pattern of self-proclaimed "Fast Soul Music" for his 2003 sophomore album, Billion Dollar Gravy. Working with the album's roster of performers, Colman formed a live touring band for the project, including frequent collaborators like Andy Waterworth, the Jungle Drummer, and Robert Owens. Performing live from 2003 to 2005, the moniker's concert counterpart found international success on the touring circuit, as well as recording and releasing Elektricity's third studio album, Power Ballads. After the project's live grouping disbanded in December 2005, Colman returned London Elektricity to a solo affair. 2008 saw the release of Elektricity's fourth studio album, Syncopated City, which merged the jazzy, warm sonics of older material with the anthemic direction of Power Ballads. As Hospital's founder, CEO, and flagship artist, Colman remained at the core of its artistic direction, headlining the ever-popular Hospitality in the Park festival and hosting the label's award-winning podcast. Among near-constant touring and label work, Colman continued to produce new material throughout the 2010s: in 2011, Elektricity released the mellower, roots-recalling Yikes!, while in 2015, Colman opted for a more diverse set of material on sixth studio album Are We There Yet? For Building Better Worlds (2019), he embarked on his first conceptual project, with each of the album's tracks paired with one of Benjamin Beech's photographs. As well as featuring "Final View from the Rooftops," a track 13 years in the making, the album marked the first musical collaboration between Colman and his youngest son, the Secretary-General. Two years later, a companion-piece remix album, Rebuilding Better Worlds, was released, featuring reworks by the likes of Seba, Polaris, Logistics, and Winslow.
© David Crone /TiVo
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