Mr. Tophat & Art Alfie

For dance music purists, it might have looked like Rudolf Nordström and Oscar Wedren were going about it all wrong. The Swedish duo, better known as Mr. Tophat & Art Alfie, announced their arrival early last year with five EPs in six months, put out through their newly formed Karlovak label. In today's electronic music scene, where an infrequent release schedule is often thought to have a greater impact, it could easily have resulted in overkill. As it stands, though, the pair's tough, exciting take on club-centric house made heads turn for all the right reasons.

Their first outing as Mr. Tophat & Art Alfie landed on Junk Yard Connection, a vinyl-only label Nordström started in 2010. Dusty Ballroom, with its fusion of thick, pulsating grooves and uplifting samples, would mark the foundation of their captivating style.

In the months that followed, Nordström and Wedren worked tirelessly together. Compiling a list of their favourite labels ("I think we were aiming too high"), they sent out the tracks, but no one bit. Determined not to fall at the first hurdle, and confident that their music deserved a wider audience, they did what any pair of determined producers would do in their position, and started their own label. With a ton of music ready for release, the aim was to the hit the ground running, putting out an EP a month. KVK 100 hit the shelves in January 2013. Pure, powerful and funky, "SDIK BABY" and "Marlboro Lights" were house tracks unashamedly aimed at the jugular. Merging thumping kicks with basslines that could pull a horse, these were records that were built to last.

The follow-up, KVK200, shifted the focus to their other passion—sampling old disco records. "No Holdings" saw them strap Darryl Douglas's "Holding On" to a chunky set of drums and claps, displaying a more playful side to their repertoire. Made using largely analogue gear (the duo have access to several classic Roland machines in the studio they share with Abdulla Rashim) and samples lifted straight from vinyl, their music is raw and unfussy. Read the full article:

KVC-2 (Snippets) by Karlovak