Published Feb 14, 2019In the year since DIY Toronto DJ/promoter collective Forth debuted a label appendage to document and elevate the city's underground dance music community, they got their wish, but at the same time, the scene's struggled to accommodate the interest locally as it's wrestled with a venue drought and bureaucratic red tape.
The very night the newly minted label held the release party in celebration of Forth Vol. 1, the cops showed up and security started letting people out in groups just as Joel Eel started playing.
"Last night had its ups and downs, but in the end, we're grateful and inspired by the people in the crowd and on stage that were resilient against the forces trying to silence what we love to do," Forth posted on the Facebook event's wall the next day. "This was our first locals-only party, and last night crushed any doubt in our minds that Toronto can do big things on its own. We're growing, we're inspired, and we're going to make sure that this city can make shit happen."
Skip forward to the present, and the collective's readied another spread of sounds, this course a little leaner as it draws from a slightly smaller pool of collective members and kindred local noisemakers.
Approaching eight minutes, head Hanger Management honcho Aquarian's "Ten Years (Leather Jacket Mix)" is the longest track on offer here, and it sets things in motion with a spinning plate piled high with simmering hi-hats and a kick submerged under the glistening surface of a gelatinous breakbeat session, but it all breaks free in a radiant surge of throbbing euphoria perfect for thawing out a winter deep freeze.
Further along the path towards accessibility she started down on last year's Dedicated to Sublimity, Summer Isle co-operator E-Saggila burns rubber with the midnight oil on a kinetic "Reflex," a breakneck collision of unnerving pulse and kinetic energy, samples of cars zooming through the night throughout. Lab.our's Basic Soul Unit follows up by mixing lively Caribbean percussion into an acidic techno jam on "WCK," ducking and weaving sweaty through a laser field.
The remainder of the comp is rounded out by Forth's own City Dance Corporation and TYVYT-IYTYI. The former's "Qtrak" best played loud and nimbly designed for peak club energy while the latter's "Beyond Reach" lowers the BPM and heaves bleary eyed through a darkened wasteland, tossing out casual chops and blows that provoke the amusing image of a seasoned martial artist casually swatting off a stream of assailants like it's routine.
A press release for this broad band of vibes explains the collective "aimed for a balanced and purposeful touch of breaks, IDM and techno among a gritty palette of otherworldly sounds" with this round, and while that generally means forfeiting eccentricity for functionality more than Vol. 1, as the collective enters a new year, it's proof positive there's plenty of gas left in the tank. (Forth)