- Having just celebrated their second birthday, Leftroom Records are the new kids on the UK minimal techno block. Run by DJ/producer Matt Tolfrey, they’ve quickly made a name for themselves with over a dozen releases from the likes of Marc Ashken, Ito and Star, Alexi Delano & Xpansul and Audiojack, the latter of which have scored the label's biggest hit in 'Robot'.
'Don’t Be Leftout', filled with clinical beats and digital mayhem, is a showcase of the label’s sound and where they're headed. Wholly un-organic, devoid of any real vocals bar some sampling, it’s filled with clicks, cuts, squelches and even the odd eighties videogame effect. It’s boys music, made by boys for boys. Don’t expect any soulful melodies, this is raw stripped down techno and jackin' house, perfect for a head down dancefloor workout, but cold and emotionless.
The live mixing is tight, keeping things moving at an intense pace. The first third has a real M_nus feel to it, weighing in heavily at the digital end of the spectrum a la Marc Houle, with tracks such as Andre Crom’s 'Bodenturnen Dub' (Skoozbot Remix) just to a bit to abrasive for my liking. The main melody of Lunatik’s 'Yeahuhhuhrightthatsit' could be mistaken for the sound of someone tapping buttons on a touch tone phone.
From here things start to get a bit more twisted and moody, and Tolfrey’s sequencing nicely builds a sense of anticipation, illustrated by the aforementioned videogame bomb drop and explosion that is 'Crack-El' by Worthy. Like any good set, the middle of the mix raises the intensity, in this case with a selection of more jackin' tunes. Szenario’s 'Pleaseeasy' (Raudive Remix) is easily one of the standout tracks, with an eastern-tinged influence and a killer rhythm that will make the hairs on your neck stand up.
Fans of the M_nus sound will be happy with what’s on offer here (especially with remixes by Ambivalent and Marc Houle included), but like the M_nus catalogue, it all has a similar sound to it, which can get a bit monotonous after a while. The final part of the mix is full on driving minimal techno, with crispy clicks and cuts, mechanical whirs and cut up vocals. Tolfrey finally offers a little positivity on the final cut 'RootRot' by Marc Ashken, an uplifting, lights on, end of the night, feel good housey number, complete with (shock horror) a vocal.
Leftroom are a label who have found their identity, carrying the torch for the next generation of minimal techno. If you eat, breath and live for this sound, then 'Don’t Be Leftout' is the album for you. For me, variety is the spice of life, and a little love and tenderness never harmed anyone.
2. MarcAshken – Cupcake
3. Andre Crom – Bodenturnen Dub (Skoozbot Remix)
4. Lunatik – Yeahuhhuhrightthatsit
5. Reagen – Party
6. Andre Ferlin – Gender (Ambivalent’s Feminine Remix)
7. Stefan Tretau – Chittagong (Seth Troxler Jack Moves Remix)
8. Worthy – Crack-El (Justin Martin’s Stoopit Crunk-Ill Hyphy Mix)
9. Daniel Steinberg – Uptown
10. Delete and Miguel Colmenares – SariSari (Frankie Remix)
11. Alexi Delano – Obedience
12. Szenario – Pleaseasy (Raudive Remix)
13. Recyd – Your Music Is Bad (Tractile Remix)
14. Molex – Kick C
15. MarcAshken – Nimrod (Marc Houle Is a Nimrod Remix)
16. Simon Baker – X, Y and Z
17. Glimpse – Clinton’s Take
18. MarcAshken – Root Rot (CB Funk Remix)