Top 3 Tracks of 2014

January 10th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

It’s been a while since a promised post arrived (just about) on schedule, but here we are with the Japanese scene’s roundup of the tracks of 2014. Although it wasn’t a massive year for releases, the biggest group of DJs and producers so far has made plenty of really interesting choices, including a few tunes that might have been overlooked by some.

Big thanks to everyone for taking part, and the commenting crew should also feel free to add their own choices down below.

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Posted in Japanese, Top Tens | 6 Comments »

Top 3 Mixes of 2014

December 31st, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Time for today’s final post – the now-traditional look back at my favourite sets of 2014. I’ve actually checked out a lot of mixes this year (far more than you’ve seen here, in fact), but in all honesty it’s been a bit of a thin year for sets that really fit the increasingly-picky TYFTH bill.

As always, respect and thanks go to all the DJs supporting our little corner of the freeform scene. This year it has been especially nice to hear a number of well-constructed, ‘emotional’ sets, a necessary counterbalance to the ferocious, melodic freeform we’ve heard a lot of in 2014.

My picks are below, but feel free to take to the comments with your own choices.

No. 3

Shimotsukei – Hardcore Summer Bash 2014 Mix

Shimotsukei’s excellent set is the place to find this year’s best transitions, with some creative selection and very original use of some oldies. Other track choices might feel a little out of place, but the overall atmosphere and progression to the high-bpm second half is top class.

No.2

Nomic – Freeformaniacs Round 14

Following his superb efforts in 2013, Nomic goes to the next level by combining his deeper recent tracks with the harsh, angry sounds of the Nu-Energy and FINRG years. The master of melancholy and aggression strikes again then, and all as solidly-mixed as we’ve come to expect.

No.1

Hellfury – Shin No Noir IX – Soul Abyss

This set is a another lesson in how to maintain an atmosphere, as Hellfury combines psy and pianos for a beautifully consistent hour of thoughtful freeform. Crucially supported by some quality track connections, this was my favourite set of the year.

Honourable mentions: Guld, Pearsall, Cuedy, Dyzphazia

Well that’s it – thanks as always to everyone for the support in 2014, it’s massively appreciated. The first post of 2015 will be a roundup of the Japanese scene’s favourite tracks, but the main event in January will definitely be the announcement of major (I repeat, major) changes to TYFTH. Have a Happy New Year then, and I’ll see you next month.

Posted in Finnish, Goa / Psy, Japanese, Mixes, Top Tens, UK, USA | No Comments »

Shanty, Tazz & Loopy – Maximum (Carbon Based remix)

December 31st, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Electronica Exposed’s Electromotive sublabel has spruced up 2014’s release list in fine style with a few unreleased tracks, including a freshly mixed-down version of Carbon Based’s Maximum remix. You really can’t get much better than ‘old school’ FINRG with modern production values, and this release gets very close to that ideal.

Check the Electromotive site for a wav or mp3 download, along with more tracks that appeared during December – the standout being a previously-unreleased mix of Pain on Creation’s Second Death.

Posted in Finnish, Releases, UK | No Comments »

Dawn of the Sol (Lucky Lotus & Touitsu Recordings)

December 26th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

This upcoming (29th December) collaboration release between Lucky Lotus and Touitsu Recordings is going all-out for variety, with everything from goa to dubstep, via twee Japanese vocals and gabber. Freeform’s what we’re here for though, and across the three releases¬† (‘Day One’ is up above) there are top quality tracks from Nomic, Evolutionize and an interesting effort from Harrs.

Posted in Drum & Bass, Finnish, Goa / Psy, Japanese, Releases, USA | No Comments »

Substanced & Alchemiist – Jawshatter

December 24th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

One of those releases you’ve probably seen by now, but Jawshatter deserves a post of its own, just in case. It feels like a while since we’ve had a FINRG track that combines melodies with a harder edge, at least this effectively, and we’ll surely be hearing lots of this one in new year sets.

Posted in Finnish, Releases | No Comments »

U-F SEQUENCER – CHESHiRE CAT

December 22nd, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

With the best ‘first listen’ impact since Guld’s Gozenzeuna, U-F SEQUENCER’s CHESHiRE CAT confirms recent thoughts that the strongest NRG and freeform is coming from Japan this year.

The bass reminds me of Holocaust of Death and other Kreatrix classics, especially once those filters and shaky leads start hurtling around. Post-drop the melody threatens to lighten the mood a little too much, but in ikaruga_nex style some addition elements and filters eventually bring things back to an aggressive level. A brilliant track then, and currently a free download on U-F SEQUENCER’s SoundCloud.

Posted in Japanese, Releases | No Comments »

CODEX4, 1st November

December 21st, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Time for a look back at last month’s CODEX, definitely one of the year’s best events for freeform. Raqhow is going beyond the call of duty to keep up momentum, and so it’s nice to see more ravers taking notice of his hard work. This time of course the guests were Thumpa and Technorch, while the slight improvement in crowd numbers made for a quality atmosphere. Raq has coincidentally just uploaded his own video report, which you can take a look at above.

Le Dos-on opened the event with an absolutely brilliant warm-up set – starting with Carbon Based’s Dark Side (Intro Mix), things progressed through hard dance and NRG up to a nicely midrange freeform speed. Continuing the top-level mixing of his past CODEX sets, this really was something pretty special. The video below catches a snippet of Fury Theme, toward the end of the set.

Alabaster was up next, playing some uplifing, UK-styled freeform mixed in his trademark considered style. The thin crowd numbers at this stage didn’t give him much to work with, but the set itself was very well put together. As is traditional these days, he closed out the set with Fairytale - this time followed by the always-entertaining Arkitech remix of Alanamra.

There was more UK freeform from NONAKA+CHIN, but with a typical harder undercurrent of Re-form and Alek Szahala that always makes for a surprise or two. A good example is my video below – expecting to hear Comet Catcher played to the end? In leaps Solution and Ephexis’ Requiem to take things in a totally different direction. Definitely a good set for the almost-halfway point of the event, and followed by Technorch’s unique style.

Technorch played a very nostalgic selection of older hardcore and trancecore, including some of his own material. No Gothic System sadly, and not as hard as I remember from his THC appearances, but a well-mixed departure that made for a distinctive hour in its own right, refreshing the crowd for the final few sets.

With the crowd warming up nicely, Thumpa hit just the right note with a real something-for-everyone set. The main sound was UK-styled, but there were some welcome nods to the deeper side, including a lovely little sequence of alternating Alek Szahala-Aryx tracks. A very good set then, and keeping the variety up for the whole hour meant that the crowd stayed with him to the very end.

Apologies for the lack of video around this point – I had retired to the background for a quiet moment or two, as I didn’t feel quite as focused as expected. Seems as though chanelling memories of 10 Years of FINRG usually does the trick, and so I was definitely up for it by the time Thumpa played his last track.

Going on past CODEX events and the guests for this instalment, I decided not to worry about uplifting, melodic sounds, and instead concentrate on a real TYFTH almost-hour of darker, melancholy tracks. Worth mentioning that although these days I treat event sets as another recorded ‘studio’ mix in terms of preparation, I was initially so stuck for inspiration that I wasted time cobbling together an intro edit of one of my own unfinished tracks (!). Obviously a terrible idea, and so I instead went for the slightly better option of Vengeance 2007 to start, splitting the set into ‘dark psychedelic’, ‘dark aggressive’ and ‘dark melancholy’ sections.

Thanks to Soham we have a couple of nice (if muffled) videos, showing Vengeance and then The Game / Symphony for the Devil:

A big, big thanks goes to the CODEX crowd for sticking with the slightly different style, and a TYFTH gold star to the sizeable group of ravers who really seemed to know their darker tracks. It’s extra rewarding to see a crowd react well to the stuff I spend so much time arranging beforehand, while it was also a nice confidence boost to pull off some especially difficult connections. I won’t be adding the full tracklist here as the best parts are already ‘reserved’ for use in future recorded mixes, but I might play the set one more time on ustream.

Final, massive thanks go to Thumpa for lending me use of his HD-25’s after I left mine at home – trying to improvise with a different brand during the soundcheck didn’t go well at all.

Raqhow played the final set alongside Le Dos-on, a best-of-both-worlds way to open and start the event with a Le Dos-on set. They work very well together and have similar taste in tunes – the hard, melodic sound of modern FINRG combined with some older Japanese tracks. Ending as usual with Lacrima, there followed a raffle for Rebuild albums and t-shirts, before the close of another successful event. 2015 is looking very positive for CODEX, as the lineups and timetabling seem to have found a sweet spot, while crowd numbers and awareness continue to grow.

For more photos from the event, take a look at photographer Mizuho’s Flickr gallery.

Posted in Events, Japanese, UK | No Comments »

Otep – Smash the Control Machine (Evolutionize bootleg)

December 13th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Evolutionize’s bootleg of Smash the Control Machine recently went online in preview form, and the full version will be downloadable once he reaches 1000 SoundCloud followers. He’s gained one for sure, as I realised that the TYFTH account hadn’t yet connected with him. I’d have been more than happy to correct that without the carrot of a free tune, but this is a brilliantly aggressive bootleg that I’m looking forward to trying out in darker sets.

Posted in Releases, USA | No Comments »

Le Dos-on – Voice of the Wolves

December 3rd, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Le Dos-on’s Voice of the Wolves is the biggest Splash Energy Recordings release for quite a while, appearing on CD and digitally a month or so ago. Fans of Le Dos-on’s recent sound will find lots to enjoy here, but there are enough elements of his older, FINRG-influenced style to widen the album’s appeal beyond that.

Anastasia is good example, with a sound somewhere between UK and Finland, and would likely mix well into either style. Quite an uplifting track then, followed by the Substanced/Transcend-esque Chaotic Infection. Again, not an especially dark tune, but more than matches most of the harder stuff we’ve heard so far this year, with some excellent work on the filters. The title track, Voice of the Wolves, harks back to Le Dos-on’s older tracks, with the classic ‘catchy melody over some twistiness’ and a very short break keeping the pace high. One of my favourites on the album, this.

Umbla drops the bpm for a Aryx/Paocala-style trancy tune that starts really well but fades away a little, just as you’re expecting the next level to kick in. I’d be interested to hear a remix/rework though, there’s lots of potential. Tsukumogami has more than a hint of Hybridize to it, what with the piano and simple-but-catchy melody. We’re back to freeform speed here, and plenty of melodic-mix potential.

We Are Here, We Are Waiting sets off into UK freeform territory after a deceptively promising intro. There’s even an electro section for those who like that sort of thing. This leads into a bona fide trance track at 145bpm, Signals Intelligence, featuring some really nice elements that lead into a lovely breakdown. The melody again seems just short of the complexity you’d expect, but it’s a nice change of pace.

Unnamed is by far my favourite track on the album, and manages to channel some of the emotion you often hear in Le Dos-on’s best tracks. There’s a Nomic-esque feel to the intro, before some echoes of Betwixt & Between with the pianos in the breakdown. As the drop arrived I was praying for some demented filtering, but sadly it wasn’t to be – still, this is a quality tune and lifts the album into must-listen territory.

Overall Voice of the Wolves is really worth checking out. Personally I feel the addition of a Psycho Stalker track and some more of the melancholy that Le Dos-on does so well would have improved the album no end, but after so many releases on various labels that might have been a tough ask. The CD is still available, but all the tracks are also online at Le Dos-on’s bandcamp.

Posted in Japanese, Releases | No Comments »

Alchemiist & J-Mx – Escape Velocity

November 28th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Alchemiist and J-Mx’s wild new track is part of the long-awaited Smiling Corpse 002, and bodes very well for the rest of the compilation. A nice mix of the guys’ styles,¬†Escape Velocity really reminds me of the best Hybridize tracks that nailed the ‘freeform + trance’ subgenre. Definitely one to look forward to, but in the meantime there are plenty more 002 previews appearing on the Smiling Corpse SoundCloud.

Posted in Finnish, Releases, UK | 1 Comment »

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