ToffoBean are a production team based in Glasgow, Scotland. Their music is a blend of jazz, soul, hip hop and funk which they describe as Chillhop, Lo-Fi Hiphop, Jazzy Lounge and downtempo. Previous releases include Cherry Wine, God is Pooh Bear and the Cafe Au Lait EP. They use various vocalists and sometimes rappers on their tracks, though are often instrumental.
This album, Afternoons In A Warm Embrace, consists of twelve tracks. Throughout the album, guest guitarist Jim Burns contributes stellar jazz guitar. This can be heard straight away on the slinky opener Dust to Deity. Over a laid back hip-hop beat, a languid chord progression floats across the speakers, with some mellifluous clean lead guitar weaving in and out to great effect.
Abide in The Heart is a dreamy instrumental with a lovely recurring piano figure whilst You Always Want What You Can’t Have is a very well written track with a sultry lead female vocal and a pulsating, funky bassline. Nico’s Beat is a mellow track with a subtle vocal refrain while Let’s Get Lost is the musical equivalent of a jacuzzi. Featuring a seductive, almost ethereal vocal from a French (or French sounding!) female, jazz guitar, sax and flutes float over a deliciously simple but effective groove.
Need You is quality jazz-tinged soul with a catchy refrain, while Peace Like That carries on the vibe at a slower pace. The bassline should get credit here, and indeed the bass throughout the album is first rate. Blue Noir is moodier with a male spoken word vocal, possibly a film sample.
Kirchwasser takes us back into sensual climes with some Je T’aime style breath noises. Moon Tan is jazzy hip-hop with a fine performance from an emcee with a spiritual vibe, with Hold Onto This Feeling a return to the ‘lazy Sunday’ feeling. Closing track The Orange Grove is a great way to finish, a hypnotic beat with a quirky, repeating bassline interspersed with some gorgeous soulful vocals and harmonies.
Overall, this is an excellent album that has been designed as a continual musical experience. The cumulative effect is indeed deeply relaxing and transports the listener to some interesting places. The musicianship and production is first rate, whilst the musical variety within the tracks means there’s a surprise around every corner. If you want the highest quality chill-out music, look no further than ToffoBean.