Older releases on Rekids to recent outings on Cosmic Pint Glass, Delusions Of Grandeur and ESP Institute, Toby Tobias productions are eternally sleazy and more often than not, a little bit strange. Off-kilter and playful they might be, but a genre-fluid synthesis of nostalgic melodies and impeccable drum programming is underpinned by disco influences coursing through his back catalogue.
A purveyor of oddball disco hybrids, sun-lounging Balearica and interstellar chug, the latest effort, a 2-tracker on ESP Institute, finds Tobias at his most outlandish. Shimmering voyages through dubbed-out landscapes and futurist breaks, liner notes suggest that playing these loudly will see you “arrested for public nuisance.” All in all, the unconventional take on recognisable dance music tropes is quintessentially Toby Tobias and keeping to that theme, the British producer assembled a playlist of genre-bending ‘mind melters’.
[Listen to all 10 tracks via the playlist above]
1. Hype Williams – Blue Dream
I’m really not sure where I discovered this – but could have been a moment of clarity when I realised what a badman Hype Williams is after chancing across his live set on Boiler Room. I later found this – slow, sludgy but dramatic.
2. Begin – Elate
This is pure modern euphoric dancefloor/not dancefloor music from a gentleman named James Holroyd or boggy to his friends. I could equally play this on a sun lounger in a super hot tropical heat or in a peaking sub frequency environment.
3. Wino-D – Untitled B2
This could be my new favourite artist – I know nothing about him at the moment. An artist from Ireland I believe? But this whole EP is ridiculous – so weird, wonderful and dubbed out – this track in particular is something you could get very lost in.
4. Mappa Mundi – Trance Fusion
This is a 100 percent mind music – so many subliminal sounds ,that build a slowly intense feeling ,with a subtle pulse of a beat. Having the chance to play this at the right moment would be a special opportunity.
5. M-AGE – Mindwar Dub
This is one of my long time favorite labels. Still to this day I discover lost gems on Rising High belonging to the sadly deceased Caspar Pound who was responsible for many of the productions on the label including this one. Ambient beatless, but with emotion and a groove that moves the body.
6. Zero Zero – Waiting (Dub Mix 2)
This has that ecstatic mix of breakbeat/dub/reggae/emotional vibe that was very common in London around 1991. In fact this is very similar to the equally as good Made in 2 minutes by Bug Khan and the plastic jam (instrumental original mix) which came out around the same time. Beware of the sub in this one – soo heavy!
7. The Countach – Aqua Marina (Paradise Mix)
Another random dig at music and video exchange in Greenwich a few years back. I was surprised I’d never heard of this before. This tune has this super long build up, building the warmth before dropping into to silky guitar licks and heavy breathing. Classic Italian sound.
8. Arpanet – Wireless Internet
Trippy soundtrack business coming from some heroes here. There’s not much needed in this track. Just a hypnotic arpeggiator and some hard hitting chords.
9. PFM – For All Of Us
I really think PFM has to be mentioned. Even though I’m not a huge D&B/jungle head, his sounds really touch me. His remix of Eat static had a massive influence on me when it came out and had definitely inspired me over the years. Love a tune with a positive message!
10. Boards of Canada – Telephasic Workshop – Live: Warp Party 10+3
I wasn’t at this gig though I wish I was. I would have definitely cried. BOC are everything that’s good about our music. And this “your mums living room version” version – as many of the passionate comments say – is probably a bit better than the album version. Deeper, more melody, it just takes you somewhere else. As it’s been 20 years since there album, it’s right to mention them as often as possible.
Second Stimulus is out now on ESP Institute – buy it direct from the label.