Some albums, quickly…

November 30, 2015 in Albums

Time once again tonight to catch up with some album releases from the past couple of weeks that I didn’t quite get around to… all are out now but still fresh!

Various – Ten Years Of Leftroom
Ten Years Of LeftroomHard to believe Matt Tolfrey’s Leftroom label has been in business for an entire decade but such, seemingly, is the case. To mark this landmark, they’re releasing this 10-track collection which takes in old favourites, some new remixes and a clutch of new material as well. Tolfrey himself either provides, collaborates on or remixes a full 50% of ’em, while his partners-in-crime include the likes of Route 94, Audiojack, Kate Simko, Jay Haze and Laura Jones. Together, they serve up a heady cocktail of meaty house and sinuous techno that’s dark, often trippy, and perfectly in keeping with the label’s always forward-looking remit. Oh, and you get a 37-minute mixed version thrown in as well. More info here.

Danny M – Deeper Vol 1
Danny M Deeper Vol 1 New Politics RecordsThe New Politics Records stalwart comes with his debut artist full-length here. If you know the label, you’ll already have a pretty good idea what to expect and sure enough, contemporary-style ‘bass house’ with strong nods to both vintage UK/speed garage and the mid-00s bassline house era is pretty much the order of the day throughout. If you’re not a fan of the style, then it’s fair to say this won’t be the album to change your mind, but if you are then cuts like the dreamy Need You, or the big n’ strutty Rock The Disco with its familiar vocal sample, will more than satisfy. More info here.

Various – Ekletik Beats Vol 004
Eklektik Beats Vol 004 EDM UndergroundAnother label comp here, this one coming from Greece’s unfortunately named EDM Underground, who for those that don’t know them have nothing to do with cake-throwing, pyrotechnics and electotraptrancestep, and everything to do with quality underground house music. Across this 17-track collection you’ll find deep and tech vibes ranging from the laidback and jazzy to the peaktime and stompy, and while some names – BiG AL, Pano Manara, Vincenzo De Robertis, label boss Analog Trip – should be familiar to TIWWD readers, most of it’s been made by relative newcomers – making the high quality standard throughout all the more impressive. More info here.

Various – Jazzy Best Pt 6
Jazzy Best Vol 6 Apparel MusicAnd from a label called EDM that have very little to do with EDM, we move on to a compilation called Jazzy Best that has very little to do with jazz! Okay, there’s a brushed snare here, a mournful sax parp there, I’ll grant you. But a Peterson-esque noodlefest this definitely isn’t; instead expect 20 tracks of the finest underground house music – mostly on a deep dancefloor tip but with one or two techier moments and a few more downtempo excursions – coming from the likes of Echonomist, Sarp Yilmaz, Sek and a raft of lesser-known names. ‘Jazzy’ it may not be, but ‘best’? Not far off, I’d say… More info here.

Various – Krafted Vol 1
Krafted Vol 1 Krafted MusicLastly for tonight’s little round-up but by no means least, we have this first-ever label comp from Krafted Music, which consists of 13 full-length tracks plus a continuous mix by Paul Moore of Soultrak. Ger Gleeson, Danny Satori and Christ Burstein are probably the best-known names that feature but as with the comps above, this isn’t about big names, it’s about quality house tuneage. And on that count these 13 slices of underground deep and tech goodness certainly deliver, with Prudence’s Notice Me and Sean Grainger’s Climax – MONSTER tunes, the pair of ’em – worth the price of admission on their own. More info here.

As ever with these round-up thingummies, sorry to all concerned that each of these albums didn’t get a little more in-depth love but there’s only so many hours in the day!

Various – The Extended Family Pt 4

April 22, 2015 in Singles

The Extended Family EP Pt 4 LeftroomHeads-down, tracky house shiznit is the order of the day on this four-tracker from Matt Tolfrey’s Leftroom label, which comes a full 10 years after the original The Extended Family EP which was the label’s first-ever release.

Hector is up first with A Clown Called Snapper, a twitchy, techy percussion-led affair augmented vocally only by some female ‘heys’. Marcman’s Aerophobic, which follows, is similarly heads-down and driving but much housier, with a big rolling funk bassline. Montel’s Control rides dark tech drums with throbbing, pulsing bass and a male voice imploring you to “take control”, while finally Neil Parkes gives us Come Back, which is a little housier again and sports some trippy, acid-y synth squiggles.

Four cuts made to played in dark rooms at ungodly hours, pure and simple.

Out: This week

About: You can find Leftroom here, here and here.

Kerb Staller – Four Fingers EP

October 19, 2014 in Singles

Kerb Staller Four Fingers EP LeftroomMatt Tolfrey’s Leftroom mark their 50th release with this two-track, five-mix EP that sees the label boss teaming up with Jozif (known for his work on Crosstown Rebels, Infine and Wolf+Lamb, among others) as Kerb Staller.

Safety Instructions is up first, which kicks off with a funk breakbeat and an intricate, throbbing b-line. A very tracky affair, it’s marked out by an odd bleepy/water-drippy breakdown round about the 4.20 mark, and by how the bassline gets more prominent, and more acidy, as the track progresses. Jerome Sydenham’s remix is a deep, down and driving affair with added male vocal snips and the lightest of tribal tinges to the drums.

The other original is Siren Song, the Club Mix of which, with its DFA/My Favourite Robot overtones, is a bit too ‘v-neck tee and sculpted facial hair’ for me. Thugfucker’s tuffer, tribal-leaning remix too is quite ‘hipster house’ but things get a lot better on the Dub once the indie-style vocal is dispensed with…

A mixed bag to these ears, then, but luckily Safety Instructions is distinctive enough to carry the EP on its own!

Out: Er… this week on vinyl, from 27 October digitally if you believe the top of the hype sheet, last week on vinyl and next week digitally if you believe the last line! Round about now, anyway.

About: You can find Leftroom on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Route 94 – Misunderstood EP

August 7, 2014 in Singles

Route 94 Misunderstood EP Leftroom

Gotta hand it to Route 94… only 21 years old, and what with My Love going to No 1 and some great remixes for Storm Queen and MK under his belt as well, it’s fair to say he’s got that contemporary house sound well and truly nailed. Without going all cheesy pop tart about it either, so more power to him.

Here, though, he takes time out from chartbustin’ to serve up a four-tracker of more underground vibes for Matt Tolfrey’s Leftroom label. Misunderstood itself owes a debt both to Detroit techno (the beats) and to 80s electro (the tinky-tonk, Casio-ish topline and dramatic piano chords). Escape is a heads-down, drum-led dark house groove, while Cowboy is very now-sounding big room chug topped with a vaguely disturbing downpitched male vocal. But then, at the very end of the EP you get Elevate. And if Elevate, with its tuff drums, nagging looped “Every day I elevate” vocal and shape-throwing main hook isn’t actually the most irresistible house record yours truly has heard so far this year, it’s certainly gotta be in the Top 5.

The first three tracks are good, but Elevate is the reason you need to stop what you’re doing and buy this EP immediately.

Out: This week on Beatport, everywhere else from 18 August.

About: You can find Leftroom here, here and here.

Sweatshop Boys – Wanna Be More

June 5, 2014 in Singles

Sweatshop Boys Wanna Be More LeftroomThis would’ve deserved a shout just for the artist name alone… but thankfully I don’t have to do that cos the music’s really rather good as well.

Sweatshop Boys have released on Leftroom before (the Wide World EP in 2013), but are probably better known to you as Ryan Crosson, Lee Curtiss and Ceser Merveille. The original version of Wanna Be More that they deliver here is a druggy, chuggy main room houser that sports a lively, fluid b-line and comes topped with chopped-up, disco-y fem vox. There’s a suitably wobbly, mind-melding breakdown around the four-minute mark to keep the energy levels up on the floor, too.

Remix-wise, Crosson’s Opening DJ Tool (which is only on the vinyl) makes no bones about its intentions, and as befits the situations it’s meant for builds slowly from an atmospheric beginning, while the Tom Demac Remix is a tribal-tinged pounder that reminds me of Sondos tackle from the early 00s. But it’s the original that takes top honours for yours truly here.

Out: This week

About: This is brought to you by Leftroom, who you can find here, here and here.

Matt Tolfrey – Word Of Mouth Remixes

April 27, 2014 in Singles

Matt Tolfrey Word Of Mouth Remixes LeftroomIn which four tracks from the Leftroom boss’s 2012 long-player (or five if you buy the EP on Beatport) get the remix treatment from what it has to be said is a pretty darned heavy-hitting line-up.

First up, Distant Story from Tolfrey and Kevin Knapp gets a Mr Fingers Deep Mix from the mighty Larry Heard. Kenny Dope then does the dub honours on Ya Kid K collab Turn You Out, before Rob Mello serves up a No Ears mix of Never Assume (credited to Tolfrey and James Teej). Completing the standard package is Freaks’ take on Downtown, but those buying on Beatport also get a bonus in the form of a Misi Remix of Spooks (also credited to Tolfrey and Knapp).

It’s between the Misi rub of Spooks and Heard’s mix of Distant Story for top honours for yours truly, but beyond that I’m deliberately not going into much detail here because with a talent roster like that, you KNOW you need to check this one for yourself!

Out: This week

About: This comes, of course, on Leftroom, who you can find on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Matt Tolfrey feat Marshall Jefferson – The Truth

October 27, 2013 in Singles

Matt Tolfrey Marshall Jefferson The Truth LeftroomOld school meets new school here, on a release featuring Leftroom boss Matt Tolfrey and Chi-town legend Marshall Jefferson.

To be fair though the emphasis is firmly on the ‘new school’ side of the equation – Jefferson’s contribution coming in the form of extensive samples from an interview in which he talks about house music artists of today and how they shouldn’t copy those who’ve gone before. The music itself, as it to prove the point, is decidedly ‘now’. Tolfrey’s deep, chugging Original is working best for me, but elsewhere you’ll find a tech’d up Deep Vox Voyage mix from Geeeman, a militantly jacking, Relief-esque Rough Mix (also from Geeeman) and a Jon Chamis Remix that has that artier, soundscape-y vibe that’s so en vogue right now.

Out: This week digitally, though vinyl’s been doing the round for a couple of weeks.

About: You can find Leftroom on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Matt Tolfrey – Word Of Mouth

November 18, 2012 in Albums

Matt Tolfrey Word Of Mouth Leftroom

Having just made some slightly sniffy remarks about ‘east London hipsters’ (see Deep Cycle Vol 2 review below) I should point out that it’s braying, snotty-nosed 24-year-olds in those stupid elasticated-ankle jeans and sailor tops I object to, not necessarily the music they listen to. I mention this cos Leftroom is, I believe, quite popular with those very same irritating NO2-snorting club brats… yet it’s also without a doubt, one of the UK’s finest deep house labels.

So when label boss Matt Tolfrey serves up his debut artist full-length, you’d expect pretty good results, and Word Of Mouth doesn’t disappoint. Managing to sound contemporary, look to the future and evidence an awareness and appreciation of house music history all at the same time, it actually delivers pretty freaking awesome results, truth be told.

Regular readers may remember how taken yours truly was with the first single, Turn You Out, back in August; well, it sounds just as fresh and essential now, only now it’s accompanied by nine more cuts of equal quality. Simply speaking, this is a superb debut that’s been well worth the wait… whatever cut of jeans you happen to be wearing.

Out: This week

About: You can find Leftroom at their website or on Facebook.

PS I should probably try and make this blog a bit less ‘bitter, grumpy old man’-ish, I know. But what’s a bitter, grumpy old man to do?

Matt Tolfrey feat Ya Kid K – Turn You Out

August 4, 2012 in Singles

Matt Tolfrey feat Ya Kid K Turn You Out Leftroom

Yes, you read that right. This latest from the Leftroom boss features, on vocals, none other than Ya Kid K, better known in a previous life for getting up and pumping up the jam with Technotronic… aah, memories.

As impeccable as Ms Kamosi’s old-skool credentials may be, though, rest assured this is as contemporary and on-the-money a slab of house music as we’ve come to expect from Leftroom. In its Original form, Turn You Out is a mid-paced locked-on dancefloor groove, Ya Kid K’s “gonna turn you inside out” vocal sitting atop a pulsing, throbbing bassline and piercing, wibbly keys. Remix-wise you get an Instrumental (surely missing the point somewhat, though?) and a Dub, which to be honest does sound rather like the Instrumental.

But no matter, cos the Original is the one here. Just watch it turn those dancers’ heads outside in… this is one to take ’em DEEP into the zone!

Out: This week

About: This is the first warning shot from Tolfrey’s debut artist album and as such, bodes very well indeed! So keep an eye on Leftroom’s website and Facebook group (rather than page, so you’ll need to be logged in) cos the full-length’s due to drop next month.

Huxley & Sam Russo – Jamma’s Basement

May 24, 2012 in Singles

Okay, last one for tonight… last one for a few days, probably, cos TIWWD is going away for a long weekend’s R&R and Mrs TIWWD thinks that should involve a bit less time hunched over a laptop and a bit more time actually talking to her and stuff! She’s right, of course, but I couldn’t go away without telling you about this one.

Leftroom seem to have a knack of always being just that little bit ahead of the curve, and this team-up between two currently v. hot producers is no exception. Jamma’s Basement WOULD be a fairly standard deep/tech workout, were it not for the use of a big, boomin’ bass that harks all the way back to the hardcore days; I’d suggest there’s a dubstep/bass music influence there too. Top that off with vocal stabs both female (ethereral, garage-y) and male (tribal, chanty), and you’ve got an anthem in the making.

Over on the B, meanwhile, William’s Trainers starts out, again sounding like your standard techy chugger (albeit your standard techy chugger done very well)… but then in come the organs – big, Jersey-ish organs – and it’s game over.

It took these two tracks a day or two to sink in with me, but now they have, I’m thinking this is very possibly the best release of the week, and that’s something I very rarely say.

Out: This week

About: This actually comes on sub-label Leftroom Ltd, not Leftroom itself, though quite what the difference is I’m not sure. Anyway they can be found on Facebook… their website seems to be doing something strange at the mo’.