Vee VV and Toka are set to drop their new single collab titled ‘Ugly Freedom (Toka Remix)’ on July 31. Being a band with a long and varied history can be both a brag and a burden within and around the music community. It all depends on how well you wear it. Vee VV use that, however, as knowledge and experience and it shows in different forms on their music. This includes ‘Ugly Freedom’.
Both masters of their music, the gasoline meets the match and combusts in a bombastic steady beat with the fire of inspiration and smoke of collaboration that skews the lines between the artists and becomes engulfing.
Vee VV formed in Blackpool ‘81 from the ashes of Factory Records’ band Tunnelvision. They built up a strong local following and established themselves as a hard-hitting live outfit. They played throughout the UK including supports with James, The Gun Club, A Certain Ratio, My Bloody Valentine, The Mighty Lemon Drops, The Beloved and That Petrol Emotion.
Their first release, ‘Love Canal’ through Blam! Fanzine was picked up by John Peel. Four of them moved to London in ’83. Gigs at Alan McGhee’s Living Room, amongst others, attracted favourable reviews in ‘the big three’; NME, Sounds and Melody Maker.
Late ’84, tails firmly between legs, they headed back North; Hulme Manchester M15. ‘Kindest Cut’/’Romance is Over’ a 7” was released on Glasgow based Cathexis Recordings. This consolidated their reputation through the national music press.
In 1998, Toka launched Bosh Records with its first vinyl release, ‘Tomkat’ by Toka, produced at the studio of Mark ‘Blakkat’ Bell, owner of the sister label Shaboom. Mark was very instrumental in the formation of the label, helping Toka with his early productions as well as bringing his own ‘Artilect’ project to the table. ‘Tomkat’ gained great support from taste makers such as Andrew Weatherall, Jon Marsh and Doc Martin. It was followed by possibly the strongest release, ‘Tropika’, which with its Fred Everything remix launched the label into the next level.
Over the next 7 years, Bosh released a total of 35 vinyl releases featuring such artists as Chris Simmonds, Jason Hodges, David Duriez, Grant Dell, Harri and The Revenge, Corrie, Floorfillerz, Spettro and Pete Dafeet. The label came to an untimely demise in 2005 as vinyl sales crashed taking a number of distributors as casualties.
However, the success of the label propelled Tokas DJ activity, enabling a prolific career with appearances at Release (Los Angeles) , Spundae and EndUp (San Francisco), Propaganda (Moscow) and with DJ Sneak for the first Sneak Beats at The End, London. His productions and remixes have featured on such labels as Detour, Moody, Robsoul, Bid Muzik and Simple Soul.
After a lengthy break, Bosh re-emerged as a digital label, firstly re-releasing selections from the back catalogue before moving onto new material. The classic Elephunk ‘Azure’ was given a new lease of life with new mixes from Poncho Warwick and Toka. In the digital domain, the same principles continue, and there have been a ton of amazing releases from such artists as Jay Tripwire, Dylan Debut, Orlando Voorn, Dexter, Andrew Macari, Dubman F and many more. Bosh also continues its principle of supporting and developing newer artists, such as Yana Paisley, Lee Walls and Ryan Heath, Andy Moore, Jardz and Jake Beautyman.
Do you think you’ve heard anything? Strap yourself in and get comfortable for the journey! ‘Ugly Freedom’ (TOKA Remix) is a collaboration between two adversaries – Vee VV and TOKA. Two specialists in their own right; Vee VV, post-punk purveyors of acerbic infectious tracks, and TOKA, esteemed and prolific DJ, producer and Bosh Recordings’ label boss. They have produced something special, something spellbinding, something entirely unique and uncompromising.
An amalgam, a spark, a blistering fusion of purpose conjoined, sending shards of rhythmic shrapnel into the stratosphere. Pounding sub-bass, seamlessly executed edits of live drums, boiler-bass, searing guitar, soaring keys and vocals featuring an astute, lyrical dexterity and skilful phraseology delivered with a poignant authenticity. A totally unapologetic perspective on today’s social mores, “Sentiment, humanity, have no right to reside in this Betfred economy!”
And all this enveloped in an Afrika Bambaataa, ‘Renegades of Funk’ inspired sleeve by a recipient of The Guardian’s Graphic novelist of the Year award, Rachael Ball!
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