Review: There's much to enjoy about the ninth volume in Toy Tonics' ongoing Top Tracks series, which showcases much played, sought-after highlights from the label's rapidly growing catalogue. The standard of material on show is uniformly excellent, from the warming and organic broken dancefloor soul of Cody Currie's compilation opening 'Moves' and the sparkling piano house retro-futurism of COEO's 'I Can Never Be Yours', to the Amp Fildder-esque deep house soul of Rhode, Brown & Kosmo Kint's 'Through The Night', and the good-time, carnival-ready dancefloor sunshine of Sam Ruffilo's disco-tinged 'Es Buena'. Throw in a couple of killer cuts from jazz pianist-turned-deep house don Joel Holmes, and you have a seriously good compilation.
Review: Tilman has had many studio adventures in the past, many alongside the likes of Florian and Johannes Albert, but few were quite as storied and emotionally stirring as the quartet of dancefloor tales told on his latest EP. He begins in fine fashion via a Will Buck collaboration that perfectly captures the sun-kissed positivity, tactile bass, sunset-ready pads and loon bird samples of turn-of-the-90s Italian house ('What's Mine is Mine'), before smothering an extra-percussive retro house groove with chiming synthesizer sounds and new age electronics on the equally summery 'Strawberry Fields'. Rhode & Brown hook-up 'Velvet Park' is another classic-sounding slab of warming deep house colour, while closing track 'Lovin' sits somewhere between deep synth-pop, electro and Soul II Soul style street soul.
Review: Permanent Vacation bring us the debut long-player from Rhode & Brown, a Munich-based production duo consisting of Friedrich Trede and Stephan Braun. It's sitting in our Deep House section, but to label it simply as such would be a disservice to the wide range of influences on display, as acid, disco, Motor City techno, 80s coldwave and more are thrown into the Balearic melting pot, then served up with a distinct pop garnish - on 'Lost In Cat Content' there are even nods to jungle and breaks. The 303-sprinkled 'Note To Self' is probably the closest we come to straight-up deep house territory, though, while 'Wave 200' is another standout with its late 80s/early 90s Ibiza feel.
Review: While it may have been designed to reflect the evolving nature of the label's sound over the last half-decade, Shall Not Fade's fifth anniversary compilation is nevertheless packed to the rafters with previously unheard treats. It begins with a techno-tempo blast of garage-influenced deep house warmth from DJOKO and ends with the dark, squelching and ghostly bounce of Dart's 'Transformations'; in between, you'll find 19 more reasons to be cheerful with plenty of serious dancefloor chops. Undisputed highlights include the crunchy, head-nodding pleasure of GVRL's instrumental hip-hop jam 'Love Game', the angular and acid spiked tech-breaks of Harrison BDP's 'The Powerful Play', the drowsy deep house dreaminess of Mutual Attraction's 'MPC Live Track 1' and the rushing rave revivalism of Baltra's killer re-fix of Earth Boys' 'I'm Not Afraid'.
Review: Earlier in the year, Toy Tonic regulars Rhode & Brown joined forces with fellow German deep house sort Tilman for a first collaborative EP on RTB. Here they repeat the exercise on Shall Not Fade, delivering an EP so expansive we should probably refer to it as a mini album. There's naturally much to enjoy throughout, from the bongo-laden heaviness of bouncy piano-house rinse-out 'Times New Romance' and the jazz-funk-goes-deep house wonder that is 'Body Heat', to the huggable breakbeat-house lusciousness of 'Could Weave a Memory', and the ultra-deep, saucer-eyed Afro-house bliss of 'Aywo'. Closing cut 'The Highest Pressure', a tropical-tinged disco-house loop jam, is also rather good.
Review: Toy Tonics' annual 'best of' compilation series reaches its eighth installment. While the label's best known for disco and disco-house, there's a little more variety on offer here than you might expect: Cody Currie & Joel Holmes' opener 'Beyond The Stars', for instance, is a Latin- and jazz-tinged cut aimed straight at soulful house floors while Mangabey & Kosmo Kint's 'Time No More' veers towards pop/R&B territory. Nu-skool disco and boogie are still what Toy Tonics do best, though, and this compilation packs some fine examples, including Kapote's irresistible 'Jaas Funk Haus', Kapote's sugar-sweet 'Happiness Juice', COEO's so-80s-it-hurts 'What's Going On' and two contributions from the mighty Phenomenal Handclap Band.
Review: Thanks to a string of rock-solid releases on Toy Tonics and Slam City, amongst others, Rhode & Brown has proved to be one of the most reliable deep house duos of recent times. Here they prove their growing eclecticism via a superb EP for Permanent Vacation. Opener "Aku Aku" is superb, with the Munich-based duo cannily combining dreamy female vocal snippets, undulating acid lines, stirring chords and bubbly bass on a track that blurs the boundaries between deep house and Afro-house. Elsewhere, "Not My Mind, Not My Planet" is a rushing chunk of arpeggio-driven piano house/Italo-disco fusion, "Break 2 Break" is another rushing retro-futurist peak-time workout laden with rave style piano riffs, and "Cliches & Romantic Arguments" is a Tuff City Kids style chunk of synth-heavy Balearic house warmth.
Review: Future Disco invites you poolside and guides you through the long hot summer days, where the parties begin early and finish late. Taking you from lounging by the pool under the clear blue sky to sunset house, this is perfect for any laidback occasion. an essential summer soundtrack that features key artists such as: Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak who present the sensual lo-slung disco of "Don't Want This To Be Over" (Jean Tonique Remix), U.S. artists David Marston & Life On Planets who team up for the evocative deep house groove of "Contortions" feat. Hannah Noelle & Dan Izco, and Berlin-by-way-of Vancouver artist Jayda G who serves up the hypnotic Detroit vibe of "Rishikesh". Elsewhere, the ever reliable Butch delivers the main room dancefloor drama of "Lale", and Brazilian techno legend Renato Cohen makes his comeback on "Sweet Nightmare" but makes a departure from what we're used to on this funky house anthem. Also comes with a continuous DJ mix.
Review: Having forged their reputation via a string of rock solid EPs on Toy Tonics, Rhode & Brown pop up on debutant label RTB with fellow German producer Tilman in tow. "One Grand Jams" consists of four tracks, all of which wrap extensive samples from disco, boogie and jazz-funk records around chunky, bass-heavy and in some cases slamming house grooves. We're particularly enjoying the insatiable electronic piano motifs, looped guitars and energetic synth-bass of "Good Time (Not A Long Time)" and the punchy, Latin-tinged disco-house rush of "Spencer", though the jaunty cheeriness of "She Knows" and the deep disco-house warmth of "Certainly" are similarly impressive.
Doppelate - "Four Feet Up The Stairs" - (5:57) 118 BPM
Rhode, Brown & Leo Woelfel - "More Drama" - (5:38) 126 BPM
Marco Lazovic - "In The Jungle" - (5:17) 120 BPM
Review: Slam City Jams is an upcoming label from Munich, and its third release provides a platform for emerging house music talent. First up is production pair COEO, who are best known for their releases on Toy Tonics. "Never Going Home", their contribution to Volume 1, is an off-beat, slinky electronic groove that features a moody bass and warm, warbling melodies. By contrast, Doppelate's "Four Feet Up The Stairs" is more in keeping with classic deep house, thanks to its gentle keys and reflective composition, while on label owners? Rhode & Brown's "More Drama (Less Hysteria)", the release moves into the warm and squelchy electronic disco the Dutch West Coast. Rounding off this impressive EP is Marco Lazovic's Chicago-influenced "In The Jungle".
Review: Munich twosome Rhode & Brown (AKA producers Friedrich Trede and Stephan Michael Braun) have put out an EP on Toy Tonics every autumn since 2013. B Tru 2 U, then, is their fifth annual missive for the prolific deep house stable. There's naturally plenty of rock solid club fare on show, from the brilliantly stuttering, chopped-up peak-time flex of "Mary's Tool" - think Tiger and Woods with R&B samples, and you're close - and moody-but-spacey late night pump of "B Tru 2 U", to the languid, solo-rich jazz-house shuffle of closer "Iruzu Jam". "Third Rail Mills", a dreamy but jaunty fusion of jazz-funk instrumentation of drowsy deep house grooves, is also rather good.
Review: Bavarian hipster house hooligans Public Possession and their Serie compilation are here to combine music by label artists and friends, showcasing a broad spectrum of audio entertainment. Their brand spanking new Serie A features some great cuts: a trance inducing collage by Rhode & Brown entitled "Black Cardigan", a pop build up by label staples Tambien, Swede Mr. Tophat's homage to an almost forgotten communication medium (the answering machine!) and one damn heavy acid tool in the form of Obalski's "Achim" .
Review: Rhode & Brown, AKA Munich-based producers Friedrich Trede and Stephan Michael Braun, are no newcomers. They first appeared on Toy Tonics back in 2013, and have been regular contributors to the label ever since. There's naturally much to admire on this latest annual missive, from the dreamy deep house, ragged acid and UK breakbeat fusion of opener "St Hippolyte", to the Andres style deep house jazz of hazy closer "Snabsnus". There are treats in between, too, including a further acid exploration ("The A"), and the sun-kissed positivity of the pleasingly loose and languid "Leeched Love Boils".
Review: From deep beneath the bowels of Munich come Friedrich "Rhode" Trede and Michael "Brown" Braun, purveyors of slick, garage-influenced deep house. This EP for Toytonics, their third in total, begins with a slinky chunk of breezy garage goodness, "Under Your Spell". It's the sort of thing you'd expect to hear on Local Talk, but with an added contemporary sheen. "Joyride' offers more anthemic deep house/garage fusion - all screaming female vocal samples, big riffs and hip-wigglin' beats - while "Floating Figures" laces some delicious old skool pianos over a suitably deep and groovesome backing. Best of all, though, is Kyondai's remix of "Joyride", which throws some fantastic jazz drums into the mix for added percussive impact.