Lab 4 @Cyber Trance 2014, 14th September

September 15th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Lab 4 managed the seemingly impossible last night, resuscitating Tokyo’s harder scene for one glorious hour and bringing back memories of NRGetic Romancer and nights at Studio Cube. Their classic set was almost perfect, starting with a three track sequence of Efini, the Requiem remix and Groove Overdrive before running through everything from The NRG to Candyman. The Romancer crew were out in force, and the atmosphere was wonderful as they cleared away the gyarus and commandeered a section of the floor.

The rest of the event was as bad as I was expecting, but that hardly mattered after one of the performances of the year so far. Make sure to head along if Lab 4 are playing a classic set anywhere near you – they’ve most definitely still got it.

Posted in Events, Japanese, UK | No Comments »

Honourable Mentions – Hellfury / 7Sins

September 11th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

A quick look at the tracklist for Hellfury’s latest set made me wonder if it was quite my cup of tea, but after his fantastic Shin No Noir IX I was more than willing to give it a go. As expected there are fewer tracks that I really enjoy, but the quality is still very high – this time the unifying sounds are Le Dos-on’s trademark melodies and a more understated psy influence than in SNNIX. Look out for some ambitious mixes, one of my favourite Qygen tracks (Birth Within the Cosmic Storm) and a enjoyably ferocious finale.

I really like 7Sins’ taste in tracks, and here again we have a very solid, no-nonsense selection of melodic and filtery tunes. It’s fair to say that the set is more about the tracklist than the transitions, but the Hatral – Tormenting Flames connection is truly glorious and I’d love to hear more of the same in future mixes.

Posted in Canadian, Drum & Bass, Finnish, Goa / Psy, Japanese, Mixes, UK | No Comments »

Cuedy – Freeformaniacs Round 11

September 10th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

This was supposed to be The Week Of Mixes, as recently I’ve been really trying to catch up on sets in preparation for giving a few more recommendations. I’m already behind schedule though, so I’ll try to add one a day for the rest of the week.

We’ll start with a Cuedy set that’s now almost a year old, but I’ve only now managed to dig it out from Freeformaniacs’ mountainous back catalogue. Apologies to Cuedy, as this is another superb hour of music that does all sorts of things right, and really deserves to have been mentioned at the time.

The first thing you’ll notice is the excellent first 20 minutes or so, nicely rationing the lighter tunes before the sounds deepen up with tracks from Nomic and Re-form. That Silver Cube - Human Race connection is excellent, while the introduction of Fluorite midway through the section does a fine job of linking the two atmospheres.

The middle section of the set is also impressively mixed, but in the trancey UK freeform style that never sits that comfortably alongside Finnish equivalents like Frozen Flame. Just my opinion, mind, and even if Frankenstein isn’t my kind of tune, Cuedy’s blend into Unohdetut is one of those standout connections you’ll be looking forward to on a second listen. Full marks for ambition with the next mix into Scout, but the keys really have to be rock solid for this to work, and after listening on a couple of different headphones I think this one could have benefitted from a bit more tweaking – maybe there’s a ‘sweeter spot’ at a nearby bpm?

Dodomeki and the Lush remix are an excellent combo, and end the set on a very high note. There’s something for most of us here, and if you’re a fellow beard-stroking transition nerd then you’ll surely enjoy this hour from one of the scene’s finest DJs.

01. XIO – White Out (Le Dos-on Remix) [Asgard \ Japan With Force]
02. Horzi vs Amini – Don’t say a thing [fc. Return of the Jeb Eye \ Smiling Corpse]
03. Alabaster – Flourite [Worldwide Heavyweight Freeform \ Rebuild Music]
04. Re-form – Silver Cube (Extended Edit) [Free Release \ FiNRG]
05. Nomic – Human Race pt.II [fc. Return of the Jeb Eye \ Smiling Corpse]
06. DJ Rx – Frozen Flame [Free Release \ FiNRG]
07. Transcend – Spirit Of Hades [STMSLM008 \ Stamina Slam]
08. jD-KiD & Javi Dj – Purnima [BFB010 \ B-FormBeats]
09. Qygen – Supersonic Speed 2013 [fc. Freeformatted Vol 2 \ Ruffbeats & Freeformaniacs]
10. Transcend – Frankenstein [Free Release \ Facebook Fan Page]
11. Epyx & Cyrez – Unohdetut 2011 [Freeform Exposed \ Electrode]
12. Grimsoul – Scout [Melancholy Overdose \ Electronica Exposed]
13. Ikaruga_Nex – Dodomeki [fc. Return of the Jeb Eye \ Smiling Corpse]
14. Pain on Creation – Lush (Epyx & Cyrez Remix) [Free Release \ FiNRG]

Posted in Drum & Bass, Finnish, Goa / Psy, Japanese, Mixes, UK | No Comments »

PlasmaDancer – Together (’94-’96 Intelligent Drum and Bass)

August 28th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

PlasmaDancer – Together by Plasmadancer on Mixcloud

Seems like most of the posts that come to mind right now will take a while to write, and as there’s all sorts of other stuff I should be doing (Freeformaniacs next week, remember) things might be a bit quiet here.

For now here’s that intelligent drum and bass set I’ve been talking about – very similar to the ustream version, but with a few tweaks and now finally online at mixcloud. This was obviously something of a labour of love (my first ever full-length dnb mix, in fact), and while it has its problems I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Humour me, then, while I run through a few of the tracks and the thinking behind the set.

So Long happens to be one of my all time favourite tunes, but has always struck me as a hard one to mix. As a challenge I decided to use it first, but opening with those ever-wonderful melodies and amens gave me the perfect atmospheric, bitter-sweet base to work from. You’ll notice a couple of Future Loop Foundation tracks in the first half – I’d say he’s one of the most underrated artists in intelligent dnb, and is actually responsible for another big, big favourite, Discovery. I couldn’t fit it into this set, but I Want to Believe and Spirit Catcher both feature that deep, melodic FLF style that echoes some of the more thoughtful 1992-1994 hardcore and jungle.

That connection from Sensory Elements was one of the toughest in the set, as I’d decided early on that I wanted to ‘deepen up’ SE with some pads in the final section. Anyone who’s mixed this stuff knows that finding tunes in the same key is a rare thing indeed, but after plenty of work I was very satisfied with my choice of Spirit Catcher. Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that the sparseness of Sensory Elements arrives sooner in the set than I had planned – there was originally one more ‘pads and atmosphere’ track after IWtB, but it was just out of key enough for me to scrap it. Frankly I couldn’t face however long it was going to take to find a replacement, and lazily shunted everything else ‘up’ one place instead.

From halfway the problems with the stucture are a bit more obvious as the set meanders from one style to another, but I was glad to get in at least one PFM classic in The Mystics. Language of Love would have been the only ‘filler’ tune in the set, but I dispensed with the incredibly dull central section and just used the final third (which, helpfully, is pretty easy to mix). After things got a little too ‘realistic’ with LoL and Passage to India I wanted to get back to the spirit of the intelligent sound with the final four tracks. I think they work well, tied together by Shogun’s tracks and a very long transition between the In Too Deep remix and Jonny L’s beautiful Underwater Communication. As for Shogun himself, he was surely one of the finest producers of the time – Together brings back all sorts of memories while Nautilus is my final tribute to LTJ Bukem’s The Rebirth, the set that first inspired me to DJ.

Together is such a special track for me that I decided to fade out at that point. It’s a nice feeling to have finished my first set, 20 years after hearing these tunes – and after plenty of discogs trawling I now have more than enough material (including some rarer tracks) for another mix. That might happen eventually, but for now it’s back to 2014 and some more freeform set preparation.

Posted in Drum & Bass, Mixes, Swedish, UK | 4 Comments »

Individual Shred-Core

August 19th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

The other day I realised that I still haven’t bought HECKATONCHEIR BEATS’ schranz/hard techno compilation, Individual Shred-Core. I’ll be remedying that asap, but the album’s accompanying promo video is the post-worthy thing here. It might be easier to do something like this with schranz rather than freeform, but this excellently mixed preview by siromaru is still a brilliant alternative to the cross-faded tasters we usually get before a big release.

Posted in Japanese, Releases | No Comments »

ikaruga_nex – Abyss

August 16th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Most will have seen this by now, but if for some reason you’re not a regular visitor to SoundCloud, ikaruga_nex’s latest free download is essential listening. Abyss is another tune that shows how he is really making strides with his own style of freeform – it’s fair to say that ikaruga’s coming up with some of the most creative music in the scene right now.

Once again there are a few melodies that strike me as just that bit too happy, but the structure is superb – that climactic sequence is brilliantly put together. The intro/outro are very nicely set up for DJ use, so hopefully we’ll be seeing Abyss in some near-future sets.

Posted in Japanese, Releases | No Comments »

E-Mantra – Between Two Worlds: The Boatman

August 13th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

E-Mantra? Shouldn’t this be filed in the long-neglected Goa Chill Out Corner?

Actually no, this one is indirectly freeform-related – you might remember me talking about my search for alternatives to drum and bass sections or (heaven forbid) dubstep-style breakdowns when adding variety to a mix. While we’ve seen recently that the former certainly works well in the right set, what I’ve been looking for is something that’ll complement (or even deepen) the atmosphere of other tracks while providing a change of pace.

I’d suggest E-Mantra’s wonderful take on dark ambient as one option, as it’s not hard to find elements that atmospherically match with the darker/more melancholy strands of freeform. We’re clearly heading into dangerous territory here though, as it’d be all too easy to misjudge how much dismal, drumless atmosphere will actually add something to the set – the drums in BTW:TB make things a bit easier, but at last month’s CODEX I gambled on also using a large-ish section of the preceding darkness. I followed it up with a classic (and very hard) freeform tune, but maybe I’ll talk more about that in the eventual look back at CODEX itself. It was a farly successful little experiment, but I’ll be continuing to think about other ways to switch things up and (hopefully) make my sets a bit more interesting and coherent.

The track itself appears on The Hermit’s Sanctuary, E-Mantra’s excellent album that was released last year by Altar Records. There are plenty of darker tracks to experiment with, but it’s also highly recommended if you’re simply after some extremely deep, downtempo listening.

Posted in Goa / Psy, Releases | 1 Comment »

Cyberdyne Seba – Eye of the Freestorm

August 10th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

After Dyzphazia’s Smiling Corpse mix, here’s another set that shows how a creative DJ can wring some quality out of the modern(ish) drum and bass scene, while meshing it nicely with freeform. Cyberdyne Seba has quite a dnb pedigree – and the selections here are as good as you’d expect – but it’s the transitions that make this a set to pay attention to.

The first third is solid, warming up with that nice little sequence of Nightmare on Base – Take Me Away – Hawaiian Snow, before things go up a level as more freeform is introduced. There are a few ambitious connections here and there, but the standout section of the set has to be from Something Sick to Dream Invader Network – very smooth, there’s a nice, consistently dark atmosphere that then goes psychedelic with DIN. That mix from Love 2 Death is top class, and it’s just a shame that Qygen’s track doesn’t have the bassy power to makes things as seamless as you might like. Unfortunately Pure Evil clashes a little too much with DIN and is jarring after the previous smooth blend, but the final two tracks do at least keep things dark and aggressive.

Lots to like here then, and if you’re a drum and bass head you’ll be merrily carried along towards the best sections of the set, while freeform-only DJs/listeners will really enjoy the progression into the darker second half.

1. Dylan – Intoxication (Outbreak Records)
2. Audio X – Hyväksyminen (Audio Reanimation Digital)
3. Le Dos-On – Mental Madness (2012 Regenerate) (free DL no longer available)
4. The Acolyte – Mind Control (Electronica Exposed)
5. Tom U4EA & James F – Nightmare On Base (Electronic Recordings)
6. Concord Dawn – Take Me Away (Commercial Suicide)
7. Crossfire – Hawaiian Snow (Crossfire Recordings)
8. Substanced – Jinpachi (Rebuild Music)
9. Vyral XIII – Librium (free DL no longer available)
10. Qygen – Kimura Kaoru No Densetsu (Tribute To Betwixt & Between) (Smiling Corpse)
11. Paul B & Subwave – Something Sick (DSCI4)
12. Cyrax & Transcend – Disruptor 2014 (Freeformatted -> free DL: Freeformatted – Transcend-cyrax-disruptor-2014 )
13. The Machinist & Rika – Love 2 Death (Electronica Exposed)
14. Qygen – Dream Invader Network (Smiling Corpse)
15. Re-Form – Pure Evil (Electronica Exposed)
16. Morita yuuhei – You (All) Have Eaten You (Freeformatted -> free DL: Freeformatted – Morita-yuuhei-you-all-have-eaten-you-ffmep004)



Posted in Canadian, Drum & Bass, Finnish, Goa / Psy, Mixes, UK, USA | No Comments »

Alek Szahala – Bermuda Square

August 5th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

It’s always nice to see the results from each year’s Assembly demo event in Finland, and this time both Alek Szahala and Byproduct had some very nice material on show. Alek’s Bermuda Square was ranked third in the ‘dance’ category, and is an uplifting trancey track that threatens to drift into Paocala territory without ever becoming too melancholy. The little fill before the main drop (from 1.26) was probably my favourite moment – after a fairly conventional breakdown it’s a lovely touch that not many artists could come up with.

It’s definitely worth checking out the Assembly Archive site for more entries, where you’ll also find Galatian March, an impressive downtempo track from Paokala and Underwater Things, a wonderfully melodic tune from Byproduct.

Posted in Finnish, Releases | 1 Comment »

Freeformatted EP007

August 4th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Another new EP from Freeformatted then, this time with a bit more of a consistent sound and some fascinating inclusions. Guld’s brilliant Gozenzeuna is still my favourite, but Exemia’s Psyperactive shows loads of promise, and I hope we’ll be hearing more of this style in the future. Le Dos-on and Evolutionize’s tracks are up to their usual standards and of course are well worth checking out if you’re in need of a melodic freeform fix.

An essential release, Freeformatted is really showing what a smaller online label can achieve with some bold artist choices and careful curation of tunes.

Posted in Japanese, Releases, UK, USA | No Comments »

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