Review: Since going solo following years spent collaborating with fellow Stockholm resident Mr Tophat, Art Alfie has delivered some superb material, not least a fine debut album for Studio Barnhus that expertly showcased his quirky approach to electronic music. His audio eccentricities are writ large across this Toy Tonics outing, from woozy and soft-focus opener "Downstreamed" - all dub-flecked, slow motion beats, lilting melodies and slowly shifting chords - to the bounding dub disco/deep house fusion of "Bondkatten". Fellow Swedes Mount Liberation Unlimited provide a superb "Ethereal Teen Dream" re-make of "Downstreamed", craftily re-imagining Art Alfie's original version as a defiantly dubby blend of Scandolearic bliss and hypnotic deep house.
Review: Swedish enfant terrible Art Alfie returns with more dusty and soulful disco loops presented in splendid fashion as always, for the first edition of his new Velvet Pony imprint. From the deeply sunkissed and lo-slung groove of "Soft Spoken" to the tough swing-fuelled shuffle of "Front" (feat Manns Glaeser) which is assisted by a throbbing 303 bassline - these are a couple of solid tracks. Velvet Pony signals the opening of a new door for Art Alfie - the project arrives after a highly acclaimed album on Studio Barnhaus, as well as his first solo EP on Karlovak last year.
Flaunting (feat Mons Glaeser - AA dub) - (7:15) 124 BPM
Review: Karlovak boss Art Alfie delivers a rare solo record for his own label. Despite the absence of his longtime collaborator Mr Tophat, the Swedish producer sticks to what he knows best; in keeping with Karlovak's in-house sound, "Trippfiguren" and its dense, rolling tribal groove ride waves of melodic chords. Meanwhile, on "Madame Larcier", the groove is tracky, the kicks heavy and dark vocals unravel over an insistent disco stab. The last track is the deepest one; while a similarly snaking groove underpins "Flaunting Snippet", its relentless bass provides a backdrop for warm Rhodes keys and a mysterious vocal sample.
Review: Alongside pal and fellow Karlovac Recordings founder Mr Tophat, Art Alfie has produced some of the most interesting and respected house music of recent years. Remarkably, Reveries Of is not only his debut album, but also his first solo outing of any kind. It's a sprawling but hugely enjoyable set, full of spaced-out, lo-fi deep house cuts that are rich in evocative melodies and mood enhancing musical elements, but low on slick production polish. Highlights include the Detroit influenced melancholia of "LLamada 911", the jazz-fuelled Balearic house pump of "Klubbensborg", the dub-wise, ska-sampling madness of "Greg's Island", and the epic, techno-tempo stomp of closer "East Village Trip".
Review: Berlin's Toy Tonics present Mushroom House - a series for 'Indie Afro Disco House' now in its fifth edition. Stockholm's Art Alfie made a lot of great records with partner in crime Mr.Tophat and is part of the Studio Barnhus crew. His deep and minimalist slow burner "Dance To The Conga" will hypnotise you into submission. Harry Wolfman has released on Lost My Dog, Under the Shade and Dirt Crew - and is a specialist in that they call 'underwater house'. He presents a dusty, urban flavoured jam here called "Downstream" which wouldn't have sounded out of place on a label like Money $ex. There is also great track by The Barking Dogs - two guys from Milan who run Serendeepity Records. "Mamarracho" is a raw, old-school house jam featuring Marcelo Burton's sleazy deadpan vocals. Lastly, a 'psychoboogie' jam by Jacky Mingo and Kapote in the form of "Make It Hot" was made in three hours in Berlin last summer, while 42 degrees in the studio!
Review: The latest release on Tophat and Alfie's label shows two different sides to the Swedish pair's sound. "Bengan" is a rolling, drum-heavy affair that resounds to rich, organic drums and really sounds powerful on a big system. However, the more impressive track resides on the flip side. "SDIK Orchestra" is a beautiful, disco-sampling groove that manages the rare feat of borrowing rich strings from an unspecified 70s source without sounding cheesy or derivative. Lush and musical but also functional thanks to the pair deploying a snaking, pulsing groove underneath these samples, KVK 1000 is one of the strongest Karlovak releases to date.
Review: A decade has now passed since Future Disco's debut compilation of colourful nu-disco treats and disco-fired house grooves first hit record stores. To celebrate that fact, they've given their distinctive design a makeover and asked chief compiler Sean Brosnan to serve up another hot-to-trot collection of cuts in their usual style. As you'd expect, Brosnan has picked some belters, with highlights including Darshan Jesrani's sublime, mid-'80s NYC style revision of Galaxians' "How Do U Feel", the D-Train inspired synth shuffle of Flamingo Pier's "Hold It", the sun-kissed '80s soul/Whispers style warmth of Kiwi's "Midnight Driver" and the dreamy, synth bass-propelled deepness of Force of Nature's loved-up rework of Khotin's "Aloe Drink".
Review: It would be fair to say that Toy Tonics releases a lot of "Top Tracks", making this seventh digital-only label sampler a must-have for those who enjoy the twin delights of heartwarming deep house and celebratory contemporary disco. Some of the label's biggest dancefloor hits of recent times naturally make an appearance - see Ray Mang's fabulous remix of Phenomenal Handclap Band's "Judge Not", Pontchartrain's cheery and chiming remix of Felipe Gordon's "Tell Me Something True", Los Amigos Invisibles and Dimitri From Paris's cover of Chaz Jankel classic "Glad To Know You" and COEO's brilliant "Japanese Woman" - alongside some gems that may have passed you by. These include the impeccable deep house of FYI Chris's "Encounters", two brilliant contributions from Kapote and Mangabey's drowsy disco-house number "Just Luv Machine".
Review: Mushroom House is the Toy Tonics series for house and electronic music with a weirdo-afro-psychedelic touch and featuring only exclusive productions. Following up several editions on vinyl that were well received, you can now find all the tracks compiled on this digital compilation. Curated by Berlin by way of Munich duo Munk, you'll hear such 'schatzis' as the Red Axes remix of bossmen Munk's "The Bolero Bunuel" which is totally trippy, local hero Hugo Capablanca with T Keeler on the mariachi vibes of "No Hay Ritmo" and a killer remix by the one and only Joe Claussell - The Joaquin Joe Claussell's Electric Afrika version to be exact - of Karl Hector & Nicolas Tounga's "Ngunga Yeti Fofa".