Review: Since 2018, Lee Mortimer has delivered a string of typically crunchy, ear-catching singles and EPs for Toolroom that fuse tactile tech-house and deep house sounds with classic house influences and big room-ready production. Hope, his debut album under the moniker, builds on this, offering up the odd previously released single (see the surging, acid bass-propelled late-night sleaze of 'For You') amongst a sea of fresh, mood-enhancing workouts that tend towards the celebratory. Highlights are plentiful, from the synth-powered colour of 'Metro', the 'Pacific' style vintage UK deep house bliss of 'Holding On' and bustling, DJ Sneak-influenced 'UR Everything', to the carnival house explosion of 'Colombia', the piano-heavy Latin house rush of 'Triceratops', and the post Daft Punk disco-house funkiness of 'Touch The Sky'.
Review: Liverpool producer Friend Within returns to the all-conquering Toolroom with a two-track EP that blends disco house and tech-house tropes to devastating dancefloor effect. 'Been A While' takes its title from the treated female "been a while baby" vocal that's looped throughout, while a whomp-y bassline and crisp, pacy drums drive things forward underneath, augmented by brass flourishes and wukka-wukking guitar. 'Want Your Body' leans a little more to the tech side, with space-y synths, big warping stabs and another treated vocal, this time a near-falsetto male one. Two solid cuts that'll move bodies on the dancefloor for sure.
Review: Sometimes you hear a tune and instantly think 'dancefloor delirium'. This latest jam by Lee Mortimer and pals (under their Friend Within moniker) is one such track. Stripped back and effective, the production accelerates down a pulsating electro highway, peppered with sporadic clanging cowbells and general jackin' percussion, before applying the old acid-house turbo boost and there's even a classic rave pitstop, sorry, breakdown in there too! "The Talk" meanwhile is a smooth and sumptuous caress of the soul. Good work!
Review: Lee Mortimer and friends have been making serious waves under the Friend Within moniker, collaborating with Disclosure and receiving plaudits left, right and centre. Here they launch their own He Loves You imprint with a two-track assault. "The Label" has all the makings of a big dancefloor hit - think woozy powder house chords, simple but effective percussion, tight bass, ravey EDM stabs and a pitched-down male spoken vocal. To begin with, virtual flipside "The Hat" sounds a little like Deep Dish's '90s classic "Stay Gold", before morphing into a surging chunk of sub-happy bass house. Neither track is particularly subtle, but both will undoubtedly cause arms-raised commotion on the dancefloor.
Review: After revealing each exclusive track over the last month, Kry Wolf finally delivers his DNA collection. A way of showing his own roots and party passions while celebrating his peers and labelmates' finest studio creations, the mix is a great reflection of Wolf, his and Shadow Child's label and its talented roster. Highlights include Shadow Child and Friend Within's WOW-referencing "The Moon", Kry Wolf's percussion-pummelled twist on "Piano Weapon", Geoff K's floor-melting bass shaker "Dysturbed Trumpet" and NYTA's dangerously demonic vocal cut "The Call". Also included is Kry Wolf's mix that joins the dots between the many sonic shades. A great concept backed up by an immaculate collection; DNA is where it's at.
Review: Each year 'This Is Toolroom' sets the tone for the British powerhouse's musical plans. Presented by London veteran (and Soul Purpose main man) Martin Ikin, this is an essential compilation to kick off a new decade, where you will discover essential cuts from label staples and newcomers alike across these 20 tracks - that cover the musical spectrum that Toolroom dubs its own. Highlights are not limited to: label boss Mark Knight kicking things off with the sultry and tribal vocal house anthem "Mona Lisa", the man himself Ikin contributing the funky house bomb "I'll Be" featuring Malika, Windy city legend Gene Farris bangs the party with the absolutely electric "Back In The Day" as well as the hosts of the label's last compilation Sllash & Doppe and Mendo, who serve up some seriously good vibes on "Back To The House" and "Give It To Me" respectively. As always, it comes with a continuous mix that's blended to perfection by Ikin.
Review: Despite the setbacks brought forth by the pandemic, we're confident that Toolroom will still have a stellar year as always! With that in mind, the fifth edition in their 'House Party' series' looks to be the biggest yet, with a whopping 70 tracks to keep the party going for days on end. As a bonus, label signees such as Wankelmut, TCTS and Siege (who appear with contributions to the compilation personally) provide a continuous mix each - bringing the party to your house. Other highlights come from a wide variety of artists within the tech/house spectrum such as: legends Technasia and Green Velvet with the aforementioned Siege on the mighty "Suga" (Siege extended mix), the ascendant Luxembourger Amii Watson with the sensual mood music of "Higher" and the Fuse London affiliated Rich NxT teaming up with minimal techno vetran Christian Burkhardt on the slinky and hypnotic "Basics" - plus many more.
Review: Mark Knight & Co.round out the year with 'Best Of Toolroom 2020', a 50 track compilation delivering a collection of the label's biggest releases from the year that was into one package. Boss man Knight teams up with Rene Amesz on the year's most massive funky house tune "All 4 Love" (feat. Tasty Lopez) with other highlights coming from: Carl Cox on his stomping heads-down rework of Kevin Knapp & Hannah Wants "Call Me", the anthemic and utterly uplifting soul of legends Gene Farris & ATFC's "Spirit of House" plus the return of the legendary American vocalist Ann Nesby - whose unmistakable voice dominates LEFTI's "Rejuvenate". There's also the worthy addition of two continuous mixes by Mr Knight himself. 'Best Of Toolroom 2020' delivers the perfect annual sign off, as the label prepares for yet another landmark year in 2021.
Review: An outlet for both unreleased and exclusive music from the label's family members alongside rising talents, this is the fourth instalment of Toolroom's popular 'House Party' series. Featuring standout releases from Mark Knight's label plus the scene's biggest imprints, with highlights coming from: industry heavyweights Nic Fanciulli & Andrea Oliva on the slinky "Medium Rare", the inimitable Yousef with the pounding acid of "Save Me" (feat. Molly Green), legend Todd Terry with TCTS on the boompty bounce of "Get Freaky" and UK tech house hero Seb Zito delivering the peak time stomper "Don't Stop". As if that was not enough, there are also three continuous mixes by scene stalwarts such as Lefti, Piero Pirupa and label staple Maxinne.
Review: On 'House Party Vol. 3' the party continues well into autumn with Toolroom's unmistakable blend of killer cuts, red hot exclusives and a host of essential tracks from the industry's leading imprints. Includes a whopping 80 tracks, plus three compiled mixes from current scene favourites such as Kittball co-owners Tube & Berger, Dutch house favourite Rene Amesz, and rising UK talent Iglesias. Highlights not limited to: boss man Mark Knight with the aforementioned Amesz on the funky house anthem "All 4 Love" (feat. Tasty Lopez), Hannah Wants & Eskuche serve up some slick and bouncy electro house on "The ISH", the dream team of Alex Mills, Danny Howard & Illyus & Barrientos delivering a properly soul-infused vocal epic on "Need" (Extended Mix) and the legend ATFC returns with the super sexy "Not Enough" feat. Mia Mendez.
Review: Toolroom is back with the second instalment of the 'House Party' series, with Chicago veteran Gene Farris, the enigmatic Wh0 and ascendant duo Raumakustik closing out the summer in style with their respective mixes. Featuring 80 tracks from leading international names including Carl Cox who goes for a minimal vibe on his remix of Hannah Wants & Kevin Knapp's "Call Me", Hot Since 82 serves up something different than usual on the summertime vibe of "Rise", Saved chief Nic Fanciulli gets some spiritual and life-affirming vibes in effect on "Virgo", Hamburg disco stu Tensnake gives Dombresky & Boston Bun's "Stronger" a neon-lit makeover and label boss Mark Knight impresses with the funky house anthem "Tonight" ft. Chenai and Mr. V.
Review: Following up the 'T1'experiment back in 2015, Toolroom reboots the concept to celebrate their artists' talents and challenge them creatively. With many in isolation across the world, 'T2' will act to raise money for Covid-19 relief funds, with a percentage of profits going to charity. Much like the last edition - which was an album of new and exciting collabs from their label roster - label boss Mark Knight picked the collaborations totally at random during a Facebook Live broadcast, resulting in some 'out-of-the-box experiments and sure-fire bangers.' Highlights include: KC Lights who teams up with Kitball's Juliet Sikora on the soulful sax-driven shuffle of "Tonight", the man himself Mark Knight teaming up with Tuff London and Cagney & Lacey to bring back funky house with a vengeance on "Don't Give Up", while Romanian label staples Sllash & Doppe likewise turn in some late '90s styled filtered disco funk on "Burnin'" and the ascendant Maxinne teams up with Mizbee, Amine Edge & DANCE on the tough rolling main room stomper "What U Say".