Toolroom's annual Miami comp is pleasingly varied three-disc affair
With Winter Music Conference 2020 postponed due to coronavirus, it feels kinda weird to be getting stuck into the year's crop of Miami samplers and compilations! But this three-disc offering from Toolroom is well worth checking all the same… not least because it's a far more varied set than a lot of people might be giving them credit for.
Toolroom has, after all, been quite phenomenally successful over the past 10 years – and that success has coincided with a period when tech-house has been the dominant house music form. As such, the Toolroom name is now quite strongly (and not entirely unreasonably) associated with the tech-house sound in a lot of people's minds – and if you hadn't noticed there's currently something of a tech-house backlash going on, which could lead many potential buyers to turn their noses up. But they shouldn't, because tech-house is far from the whole story here.
Disc 1: Poolside, mixed by Friend Within, operates in more traditional, straight-up house territory… qualifiers like 'deep', 'soulful', 'disco' or 'funky' can be added on a per-track basis if you wish, but for the mix as a whole, "house" will suffice! Leftwing : Kody are at the controls for Disc 2: Club, and yes, it's tuffer, techier house vibes that predominate here. But then Disc 3: Afterclub, mixed by Serge, flips the script again: the Clone boss starts out in tech-house territory but by the second half of the mix he's pounding out proper techno. Across the three CDs, by the way, you'll also find 20 exclusive cuts from the likes of Luca Debonaire, My Digital Enemy, Brett Gould & Steve Edwards and many more, which you can hear below.
All of which means that Toolroom Miami 2020, far from being the collection of formulaic tech-house by numbers some will already have dismissed it as, actually presents a pretty decent snapshot of where four-to-the-floor electronic dance music is at right now. Which is good. Or, y'know, you could just buy it because it's 4 hours and 32 minutes of music to dance around your living room to. That's good, too.
Words: Russell Deeks
Release date: 6 March
Review Score: 8