Not much seems to have been going on this month, so let’s change that with a cluster of older, unreleased Epyx & Cyrez tunes. The standout for me is Typhoon – if I recall correctly the project files went AWOL at the time, so denying the scene a full-quality version of one of E&C’s finest ‘nasty melodic’ tracks. This is definitely better than nothing though, giving us a listen of the glorious (and now, tragically, slightly old school) filtering and that beautiful second breakdown – one of my very favourite Epyx & Cyrez moments.
The other two tracks here are fine examples of E&C’s brand of NRG, with Desolation really hitting its stride after the breakdown and the thumping Make Him Pay impressing with a hint of the original Risk Addiction.
Also worth mentioning that All of Us, Epyx & Cyrez’s excellent collab with Heathen, is now available again via Cyrez’s SoundCloud.
Watchtower Vo. 3 is finally emerging Rip Van Winkle-like from schedule stasis, with two CDs of high quality freeform and NRG. For TYFTH purposes the best news is the appearance of two brilliant Japanese tracks in Guld’s remix of Hatral and Le Dos-on’s Chemical Wash, but there’s also a very strong Finnish showing from Alek Szahala, Alchemiist, Grimsoul, Substanced, and Epyx & Cyrez / Tyranoid & Strongstream. Throw in some great tracks from Qygen and Aryx, and there’s a lot of material here for our side of the freeform spectrum, plus the expected new releases from Transcend, Lost Soul et al. A must buy, then, and preorders are already open on the Watchtower site, with the release a few days away.
How in the world I haven’t heard this before I’m not sure, but after Cyrez shared it earlier this week I thought it worth mentioning here too. A year old upload of a 2010 set, this is actually a fantastically nostalgic look back at the state of the scene, as well as a quality run-through of E&C’s influences.
The mixing throughout is excellent, and the first half especially has some glorious transitions between hard dance and NRG, before heading into the freeform. The freeform side also has its moments though, crowned by a glorious final connection between Harder Than U Think and Shine. It’s really interesting to listen to a 2010 set, the era when FINRG’s sound started to see far more influence from younger artists like Substanced, Nightforce and (on the darker side) Epyx & Cyrez and Heathen, while Nomic was gaining momentum once again.
We could definitely feel that shift in Tokyo too, and it was mirrored here as sets became more melodic and darker artists tried heading in different directions. It was still a brilliant time to be listening to/playing freeform though, and there was a distinctly bitter sweet feeling when checking this set out on a recent morning commute.
Brief respite here before I get back into more music-related busyness, and time for a belated look back at the last edition of CODEX. The biggest draw was the return of Alek Szahala after seven years away from Tokyo, but the whole event was a massive success, uniting the enthusiasm of the original CODEX crowd and the darker style of NRGetic Romancer’s ravers.
I had a pleasant surprise the other week when I noticed my Lucky Lotus set included as one of the mixes of the week on New Zealand’s Rinsed Radio Podcast. The other selection was Alchemiist’s Lucky Lotus mix (very well worth checking out, if you haven’t already), so I was definitely in good company.
The whole podcast is very recommended, as after two 30-minute segments of the guest sets, host DJ Orphic plays an hour or so of quality freeform, most of it from Smiling Corpse’s latest release. Big thanks once again to Orphic for the support, and plenty of respect for pushing our sound in that corner of the world.
Suncore’s very active at the moment, and I couldn’t resist giving a shout to his most recent set. Typically idiosyncratic, there are a couple of surprising moments combined with the kind of freeform and NRG that TYFTH loves best.
Truth be told I’m not a massive fan of the various versions of Silence a Prayer, but it seems to be quite an anthem these days and works well here as an intro, before a great little sequence of old and new Japanese tracks. Niflheimr is another quality Falchion tune, and the transition into Betwixt & Between’s Stand and Fightworks very well. There’s definitely an element of ‘overused promo’ syndrome here though, as the tune outstays its welcome and doesn’t move too smoothly into Phaedra.
Post-Phaedra things go unconventional again, with the bpm suddenly dropping to bring in Hokkai – nothing necessarily wrong with that of course, but the move into Gozenzeuna is a bit sketchy and feels like a missed opportunity. Making up for that is a really nice use of the silent moment towards the end of the track, smoothly bringing in Adagio for Strings’ breakdown. The distinctive atmosphere so far is rounded off well with Betwixt & Between’s Outro, leaving us with a set that has its faults, but also shows some real promise. If Suncore can iron out a few transition quirks, his future (longer?) sets should be really worth looking out for.
01 A.B & Nick235 – Silence A Prayer (Intro Mix)
02 DJ FALCHiON – Niflheimr
03 Betwixt & Between – stand_and_fight
04 Betwixt & Between – Phaedra
05 Hase – Hokkai (Reloop)
06 GULD – Gozenzeuna
07 Alek Szahala – Barbers Adagio for Strings
08 TOTAL DISCOMMUNICATION – Outro
Slowly getting around to some more Lucky Lotus sets, including this one from Shimotsukei that’s been a pretty regular listen for me over the past few weeks. Another Shimotsukei set that really effectively mixes freeform with a few other genres, this is definitely recommended if you’re after something out of the ordinary.
The first third is probably the most conventional, with some hard dance from Ultraform, Adam Lab 4 etc. keeping the melodies straightforward and danceable, before Mermaid signals some familar freeform. Look out for some classic tracks from Druggy’s Acid Rack, then a superb Betwixt & Between sequence of Broken Visage and Hydra.
This is without a doubt the best example so far of Shimotsukei incorporating demented dark psy into his sets, and the transition from Hydra into Breaking Point is very close to seamless. Such a smooth flow seems to make a crucial difference, as this time around I found myself buying into the change in atmosphere much more readily. There’s no let up as the set hurtles into the finale, but it’s a hugely enjoyable ride of the kind only Shimotsukei seems to be creating at the moment.
01. Modulate – Hard & Dirty (A.D.A.M. Lab4 Mix) [Infacted Recordings] 02. Ultraform – Music Is Movin’ [Ultraform Productions KB] 03. Ultraform – Sense Your Mind [Ultraform Productions KB] 04. Alek Száhala – Mermaid [FINRG] 05. Le Dos-on – Benetnasch [Solidbox Records] 06. Ark-Z – lunatic satelite [Druggy’s Acid RacK] 07. LV.4 – Angel dust [Druggy’s Acid RacK] 08. Betwixt & Between – Broken Visage [Cis-Trance/東方カーニバル] 09. Betwixt & Between – Hydra (Long Edit) [Hardcore Tano*C] 10. CinderVOMIT Ft Luuli – Breaking Point [Horrordelic] 11. Junxpunx – Ruten [Osom Music] 12. CinderVOMIT – Distorted Visual Depth Perception [Horrordelic] 13. Junxpunx – Neomeow [Osom Music]
The schedules are all decided for this month’s HSB2015, and my set with Guld will be broadcast twice during an amazing looking sequence for the freeform brigade. We’ll be appearing at midnight on 24th July (BST) and again at 12:00 – 13:00 on the same day. JST will be 08:00 – 09:00 and 20:00 – 21:00 on the same day.
It’ll be worth tuning in early though, as the freeform starts with Thumpa, followed by Substanced, us, Dyzphazia, Cuedy, Nomic and Olly Addictive (!). Check the flyer here, while the Facebook event page is the in the same place it’s always been. All being well I’ll be lurking in the Happy Hardcore chat for the second sequence of the sets, and it’d be great to see some other Horsers there too.
A call to arms for the freeform crew here, as Smiling Corpse’s Freeform Forum is back again, now with a rather sexy new design. It would be brilliant to have an active hub for the music that brings back the kind of discussion we enjoyed on the FINRG forum, so I’ll definitely be trying to stop by when I can.
Probably about time for a quick note on my Lucky Lotus set, broadcast a few weeks ago and now up on the FINRG SoundCloud.
I actually put a lot of effort into this one, and hoped to follow up my old (and very melodic) LL mix with something a bit darker. In the end I decided on a dark first half, before a psychedelic midsection and a slightly lighter finale – I’m (occasionally) working on a special set for TYFTH at the moment which’ll be heavy on the melancholy, and so I wanted to keep things energetic this time around.
As is usual these days, you’ll notice that most of the tracks are very old, and even one or two of the connections might be familiar-ish if you’ve listened to some of the more ancient sets listed here. It wasn’t the plan from the outset to use so many oldies, but it’s of course hard to find a similar atmosphere in many modern tracks – it’s a nice feeling to be so familiar with a lot of these tunes, and hopefully that’s reflected in some fairly interesting connections and a flow I’m very happy with.
edit: To add something a bit more informative, a really important part of the first half was Superstition – I’ve always wanted to use it in a set, and the track actually changes key after the intro, which is incredibly useful if you’re going for a smooth sequence of tunes. Pink Magic is another Alek track that does something similar.
I was actually quite pleased with the next part too – I’m not the first or last to try to connect a few psychedelic tracks to Supriya, but this was my best attempt so far, and I really like the progression to Le Dos-on’s Mezame bootleg. Having melodically fumbled my way out of that section, I was looking forward to smoothly progressing things towards the finale. Sadly though, time restraints meant I couldn’t mess around with Mezame experiments for too long, and I decided to switch things up and lead into the Mediterranean Summer – Spatial Healing combination I’ve been sitting on for a while. A shame to let the momentum of the previous 45 minutes trickle away a bit, but there was the silver lining of using Rift in a set for the first time ever.
Apparently there was quite a positive response to the set during the broadcast, and once again a few new listeners seem to have checked out our brand of freeform as a result (if some sudden action on the TYFTH SoundCloud is anything to go by). That was the main objective of course, so huge thanks once again to the Lucky Lotus organisers for another chance to spread the word.