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: Toy Tonics are getting their money's worth out of Kapote. Since making his debut for the label 18 months ago, the Berlin-based producer has had a hand in no less than four other EPs. There's no messing around on this latest four-track missive, as he launches himself at the dancefloor with the rubbery, punk-funk bass, fizzing percussion and jazzy disco samples of "The Nose". He heads for smoother, groovier deep house pastures on "Get Down Brother", before dipping the tempo a little on the shuffling, pie-eyed disco-house goodness of "Uhh Baby". That track also gets the remix treatment from Irish twosome Brame & Hamo, whose jazzy-but-driving interpretation makes excellent use of clattering drum machine hi-hats.
Review: Kapote is head honcho down at Toy Tonics HQ in Berlin with Manuel Kim and Bavarians Munk. He presents the label's latest offering in the form of The Body Move EP. It starts off with the funky and disco-fied jam that is the title track and then moves into "Tell Tony" which continues on in a deep and filtered fashion reminiscent of early Daft Crew releases: full of whirly synths and rough beats beneath. Finally, you can recline for the lo-slung acid jazz inflections of "L.O.V.E.". This is slow grooving dance music. In the words of the label, nothing is stressed here: just mid-tempo house with live played bass, keyboards and plenty of warm harmonies.
Review: Here is the first album on Berlin based Toy Tonics by label chief Kapote aka Mathias Modica: the Italo- German label owner, DJ and producer originally from Munich. His label stands for advanced funk-inspired dance music and that sure is evident on 'What Is It?', featuring plenty of live instruments, solos, clever uses of rare samples and a wide range of musical inspirations. Highlights not limited to: the slo-mo disco funk of "Jaas Func Haus", the sexy Italo disco edit "Delirio Italiano", deeply filtered disco house on "Fuck Music" (Short) right through to the block rockin' beats of "Salva Tion" proving there is a diverse repertoire in Modica's sonic acts here.
Review: Berlin's Kapote has fast become a staple of local label Toy Tonics - this will be his fifth release on the imprint in as little as three years. These remixes by some of the top names in house music are equally as worth your while: "Temptation" from last year's EP of the same name gets a remix by Real J: dusty, blissful lo-fi shenanigans from the street in typical Berliner style - much like Money $ex et al. "LOVE" from the Body Move EP (also from 2017) receives a makeover from Swedish wunderkind Art Alfie and is a right stompin' affair that you could imagine hearing up at Panorama Bar on a Sunday night. Then we get treated to a journey down the cosmic hole by Italians Marvin & Guy on their Obscure mix of "Tonite", while FYI Chris' remix of "Salvation" goes down a deeper route on this emotive and swing fuelled number that gallops along quite nicely.
Review: Toy Tonics boss man Kapote is in fine form on Yeah Pass It, the Berlin-based producer's first EP of 2018. There's much to admire from start to finish. He hits the ground running with the title track, a loose and ear-pleasing deep house roller full of jazzy keys, vintage analogue bass, snappy machine drums and jazz style freestyle vocals. The bluesy, low-slung hip-house shuffler "Want No More" follows, before Kapote gets busy with rubbery bass guitar, lolloping deep house drums and mazy jazz-funk synth solos on the warm and tasty "Steal The Fuzz". To complete a rather good passage, Mangabey serves up a fresh revision of "Yeah Pass It" that wraps new vibraphone and Latin style piano motifs around a bolder, busier rhythm track.
Review: Four months after the release of his fine debut album "What It Is", Toy Tonics founder Matthias Modias AKA Kapote offers up fresh versions of two of the set's most potent tracks. Of most interest to many will be the included "big name" remixes of "Jaas Func Haus". Art of Tones does a bang-up job recasting the cut as a dusty chunk of rubbery jazz-house/deep house fusion, while the Sworn Virgins remix is a delay-laden late night analogue-house wiggler from the Ron Hardy school of Chicago sleaze. Best of all, though, is Rahaan's rework, which is a wonky mid-tempo fusion of acid-style electronics and spiraling disco bliss. Elsewhere, there's another chance to enjoy Modias' funk-fuelled disco workout "Delirio Italiano", as well as a stripped back, extra-percussive "Dub" mix.
Review: There's much to enjoy on the latest volume in Toy Tonics' ongoing hallucinatory house series, regardless of your psychedelic state of mind. The undoubted standout is Joe Clausell's epic version of Karl Hector and Nicolas Tounga's "Ngunga Yeti Fofa", a feverish, dub-flecked deep house interpretation of a track rich in both African and South American vocals and instrumentation. That said, we're also fans of Vito and Druzzi's "Night Masquerade", where Steve Reich style marimba melodies and fizzing synthesizer solos rise about a jaunty, tropical house groove, while Kapote's "Besamo Fly" is a lolloping, mid-tempo romp full of delay-laden African vocal snippets, jaunty Afro-funk horns and sludgy drumbeats.
Review: By now, we should all know what to expect from Toolroom's "Poolside Ibiza" compilation strand, namely groovy nu-disco, house and laidback Balearic beats inspired by afternoons spent lounging by the water in stonking White Isle heat. Naturally, there are plenty of gems to be found amongst the 40 unmixed tunes selected by chosen DJs Moullinex and Xinobi, from their own collaborative post-punk/dub number "X Marks The Spot", to the slick '80s synth-pop dreaminess of Tensnake's fine remix of Xinobi's "Far Away Place" and the drowsy, Morricone-influenced soundscape weirdness of Simple Symmetry's remix of Moscoman's "I Ran". Throw in some seriously good cuts from Felipe Gordon, Donald Dust, Pin Up Club and Meera (whose carnival-ready boogie jam "Fine Without You" stands out), and you have a fine collection of summery cuts.
Review: According to those behind the label, Toy Tonics' Mushroom House compilation was inspired by "the new wave of weirdo house" that's inspired by "ethno, Afro and psychedelic music". The collection's 15 tracks include a swathe of new or previously unheard cuts from the likes of Auntie Flo, Daniel Avery & Justin Robertson, Daniel Haaksman, Hyenah and Drrrtyhaze. With such a strong line-up, it's no surprise that the music is uniformly excellent. Highlights include, but are not limited to, DJ Koze's superb Hudson River Dub of WhoMadeWho's eccentric "Keep Me In My Plane", the epic build-ups and trippy, dubbed-out riffs of Munk and Rebolledo's "Surf Smurf", and the psychedelic acid attack of Massimiliano Pagliara's remix of Barotti's "She Once Knew".
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".
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: Toy Tonics regular Kapote returns to action, and this time he's brought a friend along for the ride. Zhut joins the party, lending a hand on the EP's two original tracks, "Make It Cold" and "So Damn Hot". The former is a lively, off-kilter disco-meets-deep house gem built around rubbery electric bass and picturesque melodies, while the latter sounds like a balls-out, pitched-down take on the Soundstream disco-house sound. Nachtbraker remixes "Make It Cold", adding some swinging beats, fluid synths and a whole lot more energy, while Kian T turns the more restless "So Damn Hot" into an undulating, Mister Saturday Night style deep house groover.
Review: The second volume in Toy Tonics' ongoing Mushroom House series gathers together more Afro-influenced dancefloor jams from an impressive selection of producers. Zut and Kapote kick things off with the bouncy house rhythms, chanted African vocals and heavy dub disco bass of "Afro Rico", before Gomma regular Munk pays tribute to Afrobeat on the excellent "Nigerian Jam". Elsewhere, Freerange and Objektivity regular Hyenah throws down a typically tactile chunk of atmospheric, Afro-tinged tech-house ("Fire"), and Glaswegian genre-bender Auntie Flo layers up indigenous instrumentation and hand-held percussion on the standout "Kampala Boda Boda Ride".