‘Word of Mouth’ is the November released debut album from the tireless Leftroom Records boss and
producer/DJ, Matt Tolfrey.
Featuring a rich selection of talent, from the relatively new such as James Teej, Jem Cooke and
Kevin Knapp, to legends like Marshall Jefferson and Ya Kid K, ‘Word Of Mouth’ is a return to the feel
of classic house albums of old where collaborations with vocalists, engineers and mix engineers
were worn as a badge of honour.
Matt Tolfrey is a fixture of modern house music that can feel a definite sense of pride over his
achievements. Once a young upstart who was championed by DJs as diverse as Craig Richards
and Pete Tong, he’s now a mentor to many via his various Leftroom imprints while still retaining the
obsessive and energetic enthusiasm for music and it’s machinations.
A recording artist who has released on Cocoon, Rekids, Crosstown Rebels, Saved, Culprit and
more, Tolfrey’s touch in the studio is undoubted but with ‘Word of Mouth’ we’re treated to a unique
insight into his influences, working methods and what makes him tick.
'I cannot play the piano and I am not professionally trained in any way musically, but through years
of DJing I know exactly what I like, and I have great tracks in my head that need to get out. While
searching the Internet for alternate ideas of making music, I came across some amazing software
that enables you to simply sing or hum into a mic, which then translates into midi notes, which you
then use as the basis of your tracks. In essence, it means that while I am walking the streets, or
away travelling, and I come up with an idea for a bassline, or a melody, I can simply record it into my
phone, return home, and sing it into the computer. In other words, ‘in theory’ the album is mainly
going to be written with my mouth, not my fingers, and then fully realised with the help of engineers
and guest vocalists - hence the name ‘Word Of Mouth’.
(Matt Tolfrey, June 2012)
From opening cut ‘Encarta’, it’s obvious that ‘Word of Mouth’ is Tolfrey wearing his influences
proudly. Any fans of 1990s deep house can feel the soul of classic British deep house imprints like
Paper and DIY Discs (the latter notable as a heavy presence in Tolfrey’s beloved Nottingham during
his University years), albeit with subtle and respectful modern twists.
Dubbed in places (‘The Truth’ with Marshall Jefferson), electronic in some (‘Never Assume’ with
James Teej) and direct in others (‘The Spooks’ with Kevin Knapp packs a real, penultimate-trackpunch),
‘Word Of Mouth’s continuing theme is elegantly employed melodies regardless of tone. A
listen that drags you through from opener to the sublime, broken closer (‘Not So Little’ feat Kevin
Knapp), ‘Word of Mouth’ is a mature, masterful debut from a cherished UK talent.