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!

Matt Tolfrey – Fabric 81

April 27, 2015 in Singles

Matt Tolfrey Fabric 81More quality deep and tech house grooves on this latest installment in the long-running Fabric mix CD series, which is the work of Leftroom boss Matt Tolfrey.

“It’s the mix I’ve been hoping to achieve my whole career!” says Tolfrey on the hype sheet. Obviously I’m not really in a position to pass comment on Matt’s personal goals or evaluate how well he’s met them, but I can tell you he’s got every right to be pleased with himself about this mix, which captures the vibe of the Shoreditch club at 3am nicely. With 25 tracks flying in and out of the mix over the course of its 73-minute duration, there’s little time for long intros or ambient breakdowns… instead, Fabric 81 pretty much jacks from start to finish, with Tolfrey not limiting himself to recent floorburners but instead drawing on tracks he’s played across the course of a DJ career that dates back to the late 90s, including cuts from the likes of Nail, Pure Science, Minimal Man, Kevin Yost and of course Tolfrey himself.

It’s more of a party-starter than a home listening experience, admittedly. But since when was starting parties a bad thing? Crank it up!

Out: Now

About: Fabric are hardly difficult to find, are they? But here are the usual website and Facebook links anyway.

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.

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.

95 North – Let Yourself Go [Remixes]

February 23, 2013 in Singles

95 North Let Yourself Go Danse ClubSomething of ‘back to the old school’ theme linking today’s reviews, starting with this re-issue of 95 North’s classic Let Yourself Go.

First out on Kult Records in 1995, it now gets a new lease of life courtesy of Danse Club Records, who specialise in 90s US house reissues. The pounding dark garage original’s included, as is the original, deeper Let Yourself Go Mix, but those two now come accompanied by new mixes from the cream of today’s production crop – Matt Tolfrey, Moodymanc (with two rubs) and Brodanse, AKA Danse Club label bosses Scott & Austen Smart.

That original Let Yourself Go Mix is still sounding pretty darn special, but with talent like that on the remix, mixing up classic garage sounds with more contemporary deep house vibes, you can’t go wrong really – Tolfrey and Brodanse’s rubs share top honours for me I think (sorry Danny!) but it’s a pretty darn special package all round.

Out: This week

About: You can find Danse Club on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website. They’re based in London and this is the third release in their ‘Gold Series’ – every one a winner to date.

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.

Kate Simko & Matt Tolfrey – The Same Page EP

April 21, 2012 in Singles

Strong stuff as ever from Leftroom here, from the transatlantic team of London boy Matt Tolfrey and Chicago-based Kate Simko.

It’s a three-track affair, so taking them one by one… Take It Easy opens proceedings, a shuffle-y number boasting an interesting combination of warm keyboard sounds that will appeal to the older househeads and colder synth sounds that will please the East London hipsters. No Shame features a cool b-line that throbs away unassumingly throughout, again topped off with very ‘now’-sounding synths. And then finally Lazy B is where the Chicagoan influences really come to the fore, with a squelchy, rough-edged b-line, handclaps and space-disco stabs providing the backdrop for, yep, more of those ‘future retro’ synths.

I can’t help thinking that perhaps one just one vocal cut wouldn’t have gone amiss – there’s only so many too-cool-for-school synth instrumentals these ears can take before a little human warmth and a little sex appeal are required. But this is bang in line with current tastes, and a good example of its particular micro-genre – with just enough funk flowing through its veins to have appeal beyond just the skinny-jeaned youngsters who are its most immediately obvious target market.

Out: This week

About: Leftroom can be found at their website, on Facebook and on Soundcloud

Lee Burridge – Here’s Johnny

March 10, 2011 in Singles

Lee Burridge Here's JohnnyA strange little number from Mr Burridge, here. Here’s Johnny in its Original form is an almost tribal, ‘lost in the jungle’ kind of affair built around insistent, African-esque rhythms in what sounds to my musically untrained ear to some weird time signature, though it may just be the drum pattern itself that’s a bit unusual. Either way it’s certainly interesting, if potentially a little confusing for the dancefloor.

On the remix front, Lazaro Casanova’s Haunted Vocal Mix makes more of both the tribal whoops and the house piano line, while also toning down the freaky riddim a tad in favour of some fast and furious hand percussion. And then finally the Rainy Night Mix, also from Casanova, is more of a deep house take, albeit with those tribal elements not dispensed with entirely.

All told, like I said, it’s an interesting and somewhat unusual release… and let’s hope it does will cos he’s a good lad is our Lee.

Out: This week

This is on Matt Tolfrey’s Leftroom Records… a label that’s never afraid to push the house envelope a little so this is right at home! For more on the label, see their website.