Ok, false alarm re. the previews – over the weekend Real Life intervened in fine style, and I’ve had to postpone. Depending how things go, I may be able to start uploading as early as Wednesday, but keep an eye on here or twitter/facebook for the real announcements.
Incidentally, this won’t affect the progress on the album itself, as that’s almost entirely out of my hands (and has been for a long while). It would still be nice to give everyone something to see and hear at long last, so stay tuned for the rest of this week.
There’s a small heap of posts at the moment that are either half-written or on the to-do list, but right now what’s most pressing is In Praise of Shadows news. Obviously delays have struck again, this time at the last possible moment before the CD manufacturing – it’s hard not to feel the frustration as deadlines merrily come and go, but these experiences will definitely stand me in good stead should a second release ever happen.
Either way, the final product is almost certainly going to be worth the wait. It’s already feeling very unified, from the art and graphics to the tracks themselves, and I’m even satisfied with CD2’s mix – it has been a regular commuting soundtrack since February, probably a sign that it’s one of my better efforts over the past couple of years.
Of more interest to everyone will be the unmixed tracks, and to finally make things more public I’ve decided to start uploading previews from this weekend. Starting tomorrow, I’ll add a track each day, giving you a chance to check each one out while we wait. At the end of that process I’m pretty confident that the album will be at, or close to, the manufacturing stage, and will then be available to order next month.
Most people will already know that the first track is Proteus’ Monochrome, but we’ve since decided on an improved master that honestly improves it a lot. The track structure itself is unchanged, so it might be nice to have track 2’s preview ready to hear tomorrow, as well.
Finally, to coincide with the previews there’ll be some logo action happening, incorporating a little preview of the album artwork. Hope that’s enough of a silver lining for now, and that everyone enjoys the Lucky Lotus set later today.
A little last-minute, but Shimotsukei and I will appearing this afternoon on the Lucky Lotus Festival at 15:10 GMT (00:10 JST). S3RL will be up before us, while Lab 4, Guld and Morita Yuuhei will be coming later. The festival is already in full swing, and with Evolutionize and Byproduct also playing towards the end of the day, Saturday looks to be a great one.
I’m going to do my best to be in the chat for our set, and as things have been pretty quiet here lately it would be lovely to catch up with any Horsers in the vicinity. See the next post for some In Praise of Shadows info, but it’ll also be worth tuning in today for a preview of something that’ll appear on the album.
A few things to catch up on, starting with an impressive looking release from Alias A.K.A. More familiar to most of us as Shanty, Alias’ album is a freeform take on twelve of his house, breakbeat and trance tracks, with production duties taken on by a broad range of the scene’s artists.
It’s this diversity that’s the selling point of the compilation – a real showcase of Alias’ taste in freeform, with everything from Qygen’s psychedelics to some very strong contributions from the UK crew. Alchemiist’s frantic rework of Inescapable Fatalism deserves special mention for representing the FINRG sound, but there’s lots to like here. CD2 is a mixed version of all the tracks, something likely to be appreciated by the car/home listening brigade.
The album is up for pre-order here until the 26th of this month, and as it’s only after that production numbers will decided, showing some support right now makes lots of sense.
If you’ve ever wondered what freeform jungle produced by Transcend would sound like, then this post combined with the previous one might get you somewhere close – another sample pack, but this time free and featuring a huge range of classic jungle/drum and bass samples from 1989-1999. It was compiled by veteran intelligent junglists Blu Mar Ten, and while it might only be Qygen who has effectively incorporated 90s jungle into freeform so far, there’s more than enough here to get anyone’s inspiration going.
Heading the post is fine example of BMT’s work in the 90s – the quality drum edits and beautiful atmosphere of Lunar.
Transcend has long been my favourite artist active in the UK freeform scene, even if the always-long breakdowns and trancier elements have done just enough to keep his tracks away from my own sets. This sample pack from Stamina is genuinely exciting then, as it gives artists and fumbling also-rans alike the chance to put their own spin on some of Transcend’s trademark sounds. Both demos have some brilliant sounding stuff, and the £23 asking price sounds very fair indeed for what I hope will become a long running series.
My first set of the year will be next month, as I’ve very kindly been invited back to join the freeform contingent of the Lucky Lotus festival. With things being a bit fraught these days I haven’t had time for a full set’s worth of prep, so instead I’m really excited to be putting together a b2b with Shimotsukei. We’ve started work on it and already there are a few surprises in store…
The rest of the event looks like the best LL so far, with a fabulous roster on the freeform/NRG side. Nomic, Alabaster, Guld, B.R.K., Lab 4, Raqhow, Hyphen, Evolutionize, and Solvynt – you couldn’t ask for much more than that. Other highlights would be a new Byproduct set, Dark by Design, and a very rare recorded set from Kanon.
The facebook event page is the place to check the full lineup and eventual timetable info, but we’ll of course find room for it here too, as and when.
Part of the reason for all this silence is me desperately scrabbling around behind the scenes, of course, but truth be told there hasn’t been an awful lot that’s caught my eye in the last few weeks. The release of SOLIDCORE IX is pretty noteworthy though, as it features Chemical Infusion, a very promising track from Hyphen.
The compilation was actually released today and might be worth seeking out, but reflecting the strength of the hardcore scene in Japan right now there isn’t too much else of use for the freeform crowd.
As a footnote, In Praise of Shadows took another big step forwards a day or two ago, and we’re on the brink of placing the order with the CD manufacturers. If I get myself organised there might be some other announcements later today…
I know, it’s already April and still no release – but it’s pretty good news once again as the ‘to-do’ list gets shorter by the week. A couple of days ago I received the mastered version of the CD2 mix, as well as the final master of one track that underwent some tweaks to boost the feeling of speed. I’m really happy with both, and now that the admin rabbit-hole of the liner notes has been dealt with too, we’re back with only the design work to be finished up.
Some fun stuff I’ll be doing in the meantime is deciding where the track markings should be placed in the mixed set, and chopping up the unmixed track preview clips that’ll go online before too long. The plan is to get both jobs finished before the end of the weekend, and then be poised to throw all the necessary at the CD production folk as soon as the graphics are ready.
It’s a bit of an injustice that Midas hasn’t had more mentions on TYFTH, as he’s been doing a brilliant job over the years of sneaking Finnish and Japanese sounds into his sets, both online and around the UK. In fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of the UK freeform crew have Midas to thank for their first exposure to FINRG.
You won’t often hear Wizbit and Alek Szahala in the same mix, but Midas was on top form for his recent-ish Freeformaniacs set, deftly negotiating his way from nutty breakbeat hardcore to some classics of the darker side. I’ve been known to dabble in breakbeat hardcore myself, and it’s hard to resist some of these throwbacks to the amen-heavy mid-nineties, especially when mixed this well. Some teeth-gritting might be needed through the tracks that start sounding a bit too nu-skool, but we’re soon into some of the best of current UK freeform, including Transcend’s excellent Candyman remix.
Midas has often pushed the Hybridize era nasty-but-melodic sound, and here it works as a nice bridge into the darker final section. Morokai, Fluorite, Icy Clouds, Alchemiist’s Pain remix – you really couldn’t ask for a much better selection if you’re looking to introduce folk to our side of things. Quite the journey of a set, and one that’d easily grace the peak time of many a UK event, I reckon.