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: While much of Huxley's material over the last few years has been bold, tech-tinged and druggy, this first appearance on Shall Not Fade is pleasingly celebratory and rooted in classic US house. For proof, check bouncy, bass-heavy opener 'Takeaway', where spine-tingling piano riffs, synth-sax and old school vocal samples catch the ear, and the rushing piano-house largeness of future hands-in-the-air anthem 'Patsy'. In between, he offers up a mix of dark, muscular house (see the Tenaglia-at-Twilo era pump of 'Nothing Works', which features some suitably mind-mangling acid lines) and druggy, early morning intensity ('A Hard Fall Up To The Middle', 'Anxiety').
Review: Javi Bora's popular and prolific Too Many Rules label has now been operating for two years, so to mark the occasion he's decided to offer-up this epic, 30-track retrospective of the imprint's output to date. There's naturally much to admire, including a string of fine cuts from the boss man (Chus and Cheballos's slamming, bass-heavy take on his hook-up with Huxley, "You're Everything", and the lolloping collaboration with Iban Montoro and Jazzman Wax, "Fresh Prince", being our picks), a terrifically bouncy, tech-tinged vocal number from Jairo Beltrami ("Don't Love Me"), multiple muscular workouts from legendary Chicagoan producer DJ Sneak (check the breathless, extra-percussive "Rising") and a notable disco-house workout from Junior Sanchez. Throw in headline-grabbing remixes from Groove Armada, Demuir and Roger Sanchez, and you have a seriously solid set.
Review: DJ Haus has decided to mark the 50th release on his sweat-soaked Hot Haus Records imprint by handing over the reins to Huxley, a long-serving DJ/producer best known for his tech-tinged productions. He's not in tech-house mode here, though. Instead, he begins by peppering a tracky, bass-heavy peak-time house groove with tight, techno-style melodic loops, dreamy chords and trippy, cut-up vocal samples on bona fide banger "Die Hard". The track that follows, "Tight Knitted", is another boisterous and thumping affair. This time, Huxley wraps a weighty, bowel-bothering groove in tribal percussion, elastic riffs, warehouse-ready stabs and some suitably raw-sounding electronic motifs.
Review: 2019 was a very successful year for Javi Bora's Too Many Rules imprint, so it makes sense that he would want to celebrate it with an expansive label sampler. There's naturally much to admire across the 25-track set, with Bora wisely choosing only the most impactful peak-time house jams and rugged remixes (see Chus & Ceballos's throbbing revision of Huxley & Bora's "You're Everything" and the vintage Junior Vasquez flex of Groove Armada's revision of Bora's "Smashing Up"). There's more than enough variety to stave off accusations that the label sticks to one groove, though it should be said that a number of the collection's many standout moments sit somewhere between funk-fuelled disco-house, DJ Sneak style "boompty" and good old-fashioned chunky house (for proof, check Junior Sanchez's ace "Hard To Resist").
Review: With releases this year coming from Athea, Huxley and Hot Since 82, Knee Deep In Sound has been a go to portal for contemporary house and techno-isms. This compilation lifts highlights from the label's 2019 catalogue and pool of artists with label owner Hot Since 82 leading the way with "You Are The Light". Contributing deeper trance elements and bouncing basslines is "Tilted" also, while other ndeniable house, dub techno and vocal numbers come from Maxinne, Miane and Freddie Frampton. And with 2020 still not here yet, Huxley too delivers a delectable percussive number in "Evolution".
Review: It has been quite a year for the Toolroom institution. Celebrating their 15th birthday last year, they weren't ones to rest on their laurels, instead going full steam ahead with a bunch of genre defining compilations this year. But most importantly they have been instrumental in the comeback of funky house after a 20 year dormancy, with killer releases by the likes of Weiss, Cashio and boss man Mark Knight himself. Add to that one banging party at Chicago Social Club for Amsterdam Dance Event and it's evident that these guys are proper 24 hour party people. With a glorious year sadly coming to an end, celebrate a wonderful one that was on Best Of Toolroom 2019 with highlights not limited to: the rework of the Cevin Fisher classic "Freaks Come Out" by Jack Back, Hannah Wants & Kevin Knapp's deep down and dirty "Call Me" (extended mix), UK heroes Alan Fitzpatrick & Wheats delivering the certified banger "M27" and New York legend Todd Terry teaming up with Tuff London on "Psychodrama" featuring Jasmien Nanhekhan. If that was not enough, ascendant producer Maxinne delivers two mixes compiling all the tracks: one smooth House mix followed by a thumping Tech House mix.
Review: Having released on most well known house labels - such as 20:20 Vision; Hypercolour and Aus - Michael Dodman aka Huxley delivers a tougher EP for Tronic. The title track is a grinding affair, with Huxley deploying a rough bass and razor-sharp percussion as evocative synths linger in the background. On "Have U", he opts for a more spacious arrangement that rolls to the sound of sonorous bleeps, dramatic synth drops and slurred vocal samples. "Hospitality" sees Huxley swing back towards house agin, with the arrangement underpinned by a chugging bass and shot through with organ riffs and subtle, filtered builds.
Review: Amsterdam Dance Event holds a special place in the electronic music community's calendar, and it just wouldn't be the same without the Toolroom family putting on a very special showcase for the industry and punters alike. The Dutch capital's clubbing culture is one of the best in Europe and there's only one place to be this October. They join the fun once again this year and this are kicking off the week at Chicago Social Club for an opening to ADE like no other. In celebration, Mark Knight & Co. anticipate the event with this solid collection of sonic arsenal with highlights not limited to: label staple Weiss serving up classic vocal funky house on "Let Me Love You" (extended Club mix), legends Dirty Vegas getting remixed by CamelPhat on the extended remix of "Days Go By" (which reaches near acid moments), the ever impressive Alan Fitzpatrick providing austere peak time tackle on banger "The Approach" and rising stars like Jacky (with Example) on the wonky tech house of "Another 24" and label newcomer Maxinne dropping the riveting main room thriller "The Message" amongst many more. Comes with two continuous mixes: the first by Romanian upstarts Sllash & Doppe and the second by Swiss scene hero Mendo (Clarisse).