Art Alfie - "Dance To The Conga" (2021 version) - (3:35) 84 BPM
Review: Kapote's first Mushroom House compilation for Toy Tonics, released last year, did an admirable job gathering together some of the most cosmic, psychedelic and Balearic-tinged nuggets in the vast Toy Tonics catalogue. This "indie-Afro-weirdo" focused sequel (as they put it) follows a similar script, though this time the percentage of unreleased tracks is far greater. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the drowsy, Afro-influenced deep house jazziness of Harry Wolfman's 'Upstream (2021 Version)' and the chunky, Marimba-laden Afro-house bounce of 'Night Masquerade' by Vito & Druzzi, to the slo-mo disco haze of Kapote's own 'Besamo Fly (2021 Version)' and the feverish, percussion-rich quirkiness of Art Alfie's 'Do the Conga'. Throw in some killer remixes by Joe Clausell, Red Axes and DJ Sprinkles, and you have a genuinely essential compilation.
Review: Having previously worked alongside Cody Currie on two terrific EPs, GRAMMY-nominated pianist and producer Joel Holmes has gone solo on this latest outing for Toy Tonics. As you'd expect given his credentials, Osmosis really is a fantastic collection of cuts. Check first opener 'It Feels Good', a fluid, warm and effortlessly soulful number that brilliantly joins the dots between Detroit deep house (think Moodymann, Theo Parrish and Amp Fiddler) and chunkier NYC flavours, before turning your attention to the deep, woozy and fluid 'Playing With My Mind', which boasts some great Kaidi Tatham style keys and synths. 'Pose' boasts a more bass-heavy and thickset groove alongside Holmes usual starry synths, while 'Got To Survive' is a sparkling slab of jazz-funk/soulful house fusion.
Review: Following his recent trans-Atlantic collaboration with Felipe Gordon on Shall Not Fade, Cody Currie returns to Toy Tonics with a swathe of guest musicians and vocalists in tow. Perhaps the most notable number - and given the quality on show, that's saying something - is 'Moves', a deliciously deep and jazzy vocal broken beat number featuring Eliza Rose that Currie later re-imagines as a Latin-tinged chunk of jazz-house heat (track five). There's plenty to get the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP though, with highlights including 'LS Anthem', another musically rich bruk-up workout featuring Andy K and Ally McMahon, and the toasty deep house soul of 'When The Time Is Right'. Impeccable.
Review: Last year, Kapote joined forces with regular home Toy Tonics to release Teutonik Disaster, a compilation of his own re-edits of late '70s and early '80s, "German new wave funk". 12 months on he returns to the same label with a new collection, Mushroom House, which boasts a mixture of Balearic, Afro and cosmic-influenced cuts from the imprint's vaults. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the rubbery, dubbed-out Afro-house bounce of Ponty Mython's 'Slippin' Into Darkness' and the dusty Afro-disco haziness of Munk's 'Nigerian Jam', to the intergalactic electro trip of the Asphodells' killer remix of 'The Circular Path' by the Deadstock 33s, and the deep space Italo-disco chug of Baldelli's sparkling 'Phobos (2020 Version)'.
Review: As the title suggests, this wonderful EP from COEO pays tribute to the glory days of early '90s piano house. If you've been struggling through the current global pandemic, we guarantee that all four tracks will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Our pick of a very strong bunch is 'Hyperactive', where bold piano stabs, style synth-sax motifs, New Jersey garage style organ chords and a rubbery, all-action bassline ride a sweaty and chunky, hip-house style rhythm. There is of course much to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP, from the deliciously deep, loved-up and glassy-eyed wonder that is 'I Can Never Be Yours', to the acid-fired bustle of breakbeat-driven closing cut 'Bliss'.
Review: Four tracks by the mighty Phenomenal Handclap Band get remixed by the great and the good of the disco scene. Danny Krivit's Edit and Instrumental Edit of 'Let Out On The Loose' have a synth-y, epic feel, while Ray Mang's take on 'Judge Not' is the rumpshaking order-to-dance it was always gonna be. Cooper Saver's breakbeat house remix of 'Riot' is perhaps the most dramatic of the reworks on offer, while David Bay's Remix and Extended Remix of 'Do What You Like' are the most faithful to the original - but as that track was one of the strongest songs on the band's recent album, that's not a problem.
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: Young Italian DJ/producer Sam Ruffillo recently staked his claim to being "one to watch" by contributing two brilliant, musically expansive tracks to Boogie Caf? Records' essential "Bologna On The Move" EP. Here he provides further proof of his "rising star" status via a debut EP on Toy Tonics. It's an assured and surprisingly mature EP, with Ruffillo adding all manner of neat, often jazz-funk-influenced musical touches to a thickset deep house groove on opener "Ride My Bike" and the jazzier, more percussive dancefloor bliss of "Midnight Funk". "Playa Bola" is a dreamy and drowsy slab of organic deep house soul rich in electric piano solos, while "Surf Ways" sees him pepper a seductive house groove with warm chords and playful flute solos. In a word: superb.
Review: They've been teasing it for a while, but finally New York disco fusionists Phenomenal Handclap Band have finally released the new album we've been promised for some time. Somewhat remarkably, "PHB" is their first full-length excursion for nine years. Bringing together recent club hits ("Remain Silent", "Judge Not" and "Jail") with a string of similarly ear-pleasing songs, the set's 11 tracks mix a loose-limbed NYC disco sensibility with nods towards arpeggio-driven nu-disco, chunky funk-rock, summery electrofunk (see the rather delicious "Do What You Like"), dreamy pitched-down pop ("Travellers Prayer"), gospel and Daft Punk-ish cheeriness (the radio-friendly goodness of "Riot"). As you'd expect, the arrangements, performances and production are all top notch, with even the more sanguine songs coming laden with DJ-friendly percussion breaks and heavyweight sections guaranteed to rock dancefloors.
Review: Magou is apparently a new alias for a producer who is "very well known in the contemporary disco scene". We've no idea who it may be, but we can safely say that all four tracks are luscious blends of 1980s synth sounds, the loved-up colour of Italian dream house, and the rolling grooves of deep house. Opener "Sample Dream" lives up to its title by turning a saucer-eyed 80s soul gem into a chopped-up synth-house masterclass, while "Clockwork Lemon" joins the dots between acid, tactile synth-pop and electronic disco while retaining a suitably loved-up vibe. Elsewhere, "More More More"is a slap-bass heavy loop-house gem in the style of Tiger & Woods, and "Heather's Body" is a bubbly, electro-sampling treat.
Review: London producer Cody Currie and American jazz pianist Joel Holmes first joined forces on 2019's "New Chapter", a brilliant EP that effortlessly joined the dots between dusty deep house, jazz-funk and Kaidi Tatham style broken beat. This speedy follow-up is arguably even better. They begin with the organic deep house soulfulness of "Love We Feel", where Holmes' wonderful vocals and keys-work rides loose-limbed beats and a warm bassline, before inviting a cast-list of guest vocalists and musicians to lend a hand on the futuristic, spoken word-sporting deep house/jazz-funk fusion of EP highlight "Metropolis". Elsewhere, "Shitz Cool" is a glassy-eyed shuffle through spacey, ultra-deep house dreaminess, while closing cut "Direction" is a deliciously positive, rich and life-affirming dance through musically expansive soulful house goodness.
Review: Since last appearing on Toy Tonics two years ago, Felipe Gordon's profile has risen considerably, thanks in no small part to well received outings on Black Jukebox, Quintessentials and Razor 'N' Tape Reserve. His return to the popular imprint is of course a successful one, with each of the four tracks proving particularly alluring. He begins with the drowsy, blues-sampling cut-up deep house bump of "Wait On Me", before reaching for the crunchy disco drums, cowbells and funky bass guitar on the Holy Ghost-goes-house vibes of "El Meloncito". Elsewhere, "The Semimodular Bird of Jazz" is a fine bit of dusty deep house/jazz-house fusion, while "Definitely and Completely Mayor" is a slightly off-kilter dancefloor work out rich in poignant pianos and quirkily swung drums.
Review: French outfit Mangabey team up with New York vocalist Kosmo Kint on two tracks that blur the boundaries between deep house, Balearica and neo-soul. On 'Time No More', Kint's R&B vocal, which recalls the likes of Usher or Shaun Escoffery, tops a languid, west coast-tinged deep house groove, while 'Get Lost' is a more laidback, summery affair with echoes of 80s pop. And if the vocals are a step too far into R&B pastures for you, don't worry, because both tracks also come complete with instrumental mixes, allowing the arps on 'Time No More', in particular, to really shine through.
Review: Since joining Toy Tonics last year, the Phenomenal Handclap Band has served up some of their greatest material to date. Predictably, their third outing for the label is another winner. You'll find the band's original mix of "Remain Silent" - a wonderful slab of off-kilter revivalist disco rich in attractive lead vocals, authentic instrumentation and spacey synths - tucked away at the end of the EP. The headline-grabbing remixes once again come from Ray Mang, whose "Extended Mix" and "Instrumental Mix" both offer a slightly tighter, polished-up feel that's arguably more suitable for club spins. The EP also contains rather good "Remix" and "Dub" takes from Superpitcher which subtly strip the track back and give it a more spaced-out dub disco feel.
Review: For the uninitiated, Joel Holmes is a GRAMMY Awards-nominated American jazz pianist. It's somewhat of a surprise, then, to see him collaborating with deep house rising star Cody Currie on Toy Tonics. We're glad the collaboration has happened, though, because the resulting EP is exceptionally good. Check, for example, "Beyond The Stars", a wonderfully warm, loose and organic deep house cut rich in improvised scat vocals, hot-to-trot electric piano solos and heady jazz-funk bass, and the ambidextrous broken beat bustle of "A New Chapter", which is every bit as inspired as anything made by Kaidi Tatham or Dego. Elsewhere, "Blue TV Screen" is a deliciously jazzy deep house bumper and "Theme One" is an even deeper and warmer dancefloor excursion with tons of great solos from the effervescent Holmes.
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: 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".