Top 3 Mixes of 2015

February 9th, 2016 by PlasmaDancer

I’ve done plenty of mix listening over the past couple of months to catch up with what was an excellent year of sets in 2015. Some strong releases have kept a lot of sets fresh, but there have also been some quality older selections and an overall higher level of mix transitions than we’ve seen for a couple of years. Here, then, are my favourite three.

3. Alek Szahala – Live @ CODEX5, Tokyo 2015

This was a special set for all sorts of reasons, but even putting to one side Alek’s return to Tokyo this is a wonderful hour that showcases a lot of different styles through more than a decades’ worth of tracks. There are some surprises thanks to a few unusual connections, while the contrast between the darker and lighter sides of Alek’s sound is very nicely put together.

2. Dyzphazia – Hardcore Summer Bash 2015

Despite the new releases this year one of my favourite sets was this primer in older FINRG, delivered by Dyzphazia. Very solid mixing lets the tracks speak for themselves, and the selection of aggressive filtered tracks is nicely broken up with some classic, melancholy melodies. If you know someone who has yet to get into freeform, then pointing them towards this set would be a sensible first step.

1. Solvynt – Lucky Lotus Online Electronic Music Festival 5

Solvynt’s set is another one that lets most of the tracks play out to their full length, but the eventual transitions are often something very special indeed. The track selection is pure TYFTH, and even if the second half can’t quite maintain the levels of the first, the flow of the set is superb as it builds to the Stance – Taranis finale. Definitely my favourite set of the year, and the good news is that Solvynt is back on the Lucky Lotus lineup for this year’s event (more on that soon).

Honourable mentions:

Olly Addictive & Akumie, Shimotsukei, Orphic, Alchemiist

 

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Alchemiist – Highwind

February 8th, 2016 by PlasmaDancer

Time for one of those posts about something you really should have checked out by now – Alchemiist has given FINRG’s SoundCloud a boost with Highwind, a new freeform track that celebrates 400 likes on his Facebook page.

The first thing to note is the production quality, with the track sounding very crisp and weighty and some superb leads that speak to all kinds of influences. There are elements of Alek Szahala, Pain on Creation, and Substanced here, but Alchemiist has made sure that his own vicious, melodic freeform stays at the forefront. Definitely one of those tracks that shows how FINRG can keep its distinctive sound while matching the production levels of a very UK-centric modern scene.

Posted in Finnish, Releases | No Comments »

Top 3 Tracks of 2015

February 1st, 2016 by PlasmaDancer

Much delayed, but it’s once again time to join the good folk of the Japanese scene for a look back at the finest tunes of last year. Big thanks as always to everyone who took part, and I hope it’s interesting to see what has been catching the ears of producers and DJs in this corner of the freeform world.

Every year I love seeing as many of these lists as possible, so if you have your own idea of a Top 3 then feel free to post it down below for us to compare and contrast. My picks were especially tough, as in all honesty In Praise of Shadows would have totally dominated had it managed to appear in December…

Oh and as there were plenty of unfamiliar (at least to me) tracks in the lists this time, I’ve tried to add a preview/tune link to help out the clueless among us.

GULD (NRGetic Romancer)

1. GULD – Spirits of Saiyan (‘F’ the Reverse)

2. Alek Száhala – Dryad Machine (GULD remix)

3. Hatsune Miku – Senbonzakura (GULD remix)

 

Alabaster (Cradle to Grave)

1. Sharkey & Rikki Arkitech – Quadraphonics (2015 Stem Remaster)

2. Div_ne Inspiration – Show You The Way (CLSM remix)

3. Tom Parr – You’re Shining I’m Dying

 

Hyphen (Splash Energy/Relentless)

1. Transcend – Truth vs Fear

2. Zman & Ted-E – Hong Kong

3. Transcend & Hardform – Deliverance

 

Morita Yuuhei (Illegal Wave)

1. Aryx – Helix

2. James Xavier – Look To The Future

3. Yuki Kajiura – Mezame (Hyphen Bootleg)

 

Raqhow (CODEX/Freeform Bros)

1. Alek Száhala – Megatherium

2. Transcend – Eons

3. Epyx & Cyrez vs Tyranoid/Strongstream – What Lies Below

 

Asahi (Karma-業-)

1. Alek Száhala – The Last of the Mohicans

2. Technikal feat. Rob Tissera – Don’t Say Goodbye

3. Transcend – Mindglow

 

NONAKA+CHIN (Spreemo/Freeform Bros)

1. Douglas – The End of FM

2. Transcend – Eternity

3. Zman & Ted-E – Hong Kong

 

PlasmaDancer (TYFTH/FINRG/NRGetic Romancer)

1. Nomic – Human Race Pt II

2. Blender – Illogical

3. Seileen – Lamento della Sirena (GULD remix)

Posted in Japanese, Releases, Top Tens | 8 Comments »

Remembering Studio Cube

January 29th, 2016 by PlasmaDancer

Sorry about the late start to the year – an especially busy/stressful January has meant that a few posts haven’t quite made it to the fully-written stage, but now things are calming down and the Top 3 Tracks of 2015 will be here in the next couple of days, along with a roundup of 2015 mixes. Lots of compilation stuff has been going on too, and the next week will be an important one. More on that soon then, but rest assured I’m doing my best.

In the meantime, let’s reach for one of TYFTH’s specialist subjects – misty-eyed nostalgic looks at bygone times. I’ve talked before about how much I miss Tokyo’s Studio Cube (home of NRGetic Romancer, Tokyo Hardcore Construction, and plenty of other harder/psychedelic events), and it only takes a quick YouTube rummage to find some examples that bring back lots of memories and atmosphere.

At the top of this post we Decchi doing his thing at THC, surrounded by plenty of the usual suspects. This video’s a brilliant example of what Cube was like during any big event, but happily Decchi himself and plenty of the other dancing crew here can still be spotted at harder events around Tokyo.

Next here’s another typical example of Cube’s atmosphere – Yumi and Soham with some coordinated glowing, during what sounds like one of Cogi’s sets.

Of course Cube was the home of Betwixt & Between, and a look back at the club wouldn’t be complete without him. Especially in the days of his hannya mask, stepping onto the main floor during one of Betwixt’s sets was like walking into another dimension. Here’s one of my old videos, taken from up on the balcony.

This THC preview starts with a nice guided tour of Studio Cube, as well as featuring some giants of the scene. From Betwixt to Lunch and Kanon, the lineups were always impressive – and a special mention of LALA, one of my favourite Tokyo DJs. He’s still active, and his mixcloud has some good examples of his oldskool gabber/hardcore sets.

Hard not to mention the classic NRGetic Romancer DVD in a post about Studio Cube, so here it is one more time.

Finally, Cube will of course be extra special to me as the place I played my first club set. Behold a fresh-faced me in 2008, on my debut at Hell’s Gate – note the awe-inspiring stage presence and the wipe of some nervous sweaty palms before the next transition.

I’m not sure we’ll ever see these sorts of atmospheres again, but R-Lounge is forging a decent harder-event reputation these days alongside the other Tokyo staples. I’ll try to get back into the habit of taking video, so we have more memories to bask in a few years from now…

Posted in Events, Japanese, Mixes | No Comments »

PlasmaDancer – Dark Alternative

December 31st, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

Right then, some apologies are in order – the traditional ‘Top 3 Tracks’ is on its way, but what with one thing and another I haven’t given those involved anywhere near enough time to make their choices. It’ll be coming asap then, along with my Top 3 mixes (I have a couple I want to check out before I make my final choice).

The next apology is In Praise of Shadows related – I’m now all too understanding of the Watchtower crew and their perpetually delayed third release (out now though, of course). The design side is taking far longer than expected, and the lack of logo means 2015 won’t be ending with the triumphant ‘real announcement’ I had in mind. On the positive side, pretty much all aspects of the release are in the works or already complete, and it’ll just need a few weeks of concerted effort for the compilation to reach its final state.

In the meantime there has been a nice development on the licensing front, meaning that a bootleg track will be appearing on the mixed CD as a fully licensed tune. Wish I could say more, but there’ll be more on that and some CD1 track previews next month.

As a little expression of thanks for the support over the past year, then, I’ve decided to upload a promo set I put together last year at the request of an event in Asia. It was enough to get me a booking, but Bureaucratic Sod’s Law struck – a delayed Japanese visa renewal meant I was unable to leave the country on that very weekend.

Anyway, the set is intentionally a very short one, to show how NRG and slowed-down freeform could easily find a home at Industrial or Goth events. Among my own sets it has been one of my most-played for a while now, possibly thanks to the presence of a few tunes I don’t often get the chance to hear/use. More apologies in advance for the pitched-down Alek tracks, but personally I think they fit in quite nicely as a more demented finale (which in hindsight I could/should have used to bump up the bpm).

The tracklist looks like this:

01. Beati Mortui – Let the Funeral Begin (Proteus remix)
02. Lab 4 – Requiem (Metatron Hard mix)
03. Epyx & Cyrez – Risk Addiction (Substanced remix)
04. Hase – Brionac
05. Lab 4 – Hellboy
06. Inugami, Lunch, Betwixt & Between – Reverend Recital
07. Alek Szahala – Maruuk
08. Alek Szahala – Voices of Babylon

Finally, special thanks to everyone for the huge support this year. It’s been pretty special to see the response to the label news so far, and I think we can safely say that 2016 is going to be an exciting one for TYFTH. Happy New Year to all, and I’ll be back with a vengeance next month.

Posted in Finnish, Japanese, Mixes, Releases, Top Tens | 1 Comment »

In Praise of Shadows – Update 2

December 18th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

The original schedule has taken a little bit of a hit, so I thought it time for an update to let you know what’s going on. With so many people/companies involved it was inevitable that some admin issues would rear their heads, and so it’s proved this month – nothing major at all, but things haven’t progressed quite as quickly as I would have hoped.

Most importantly the tracks are almost definitely at the ‘final product’ stage of mastering, so no problems there. The delays have mainly been in the design department, but they’re mostly sorted and should mean a more ‘official’ presence on SoundCloud and all the usual social media suspects before the end of the month. Although the CD2 mix was close to complete at the start of December, I decided to use the limbo-time to look into licensing some other bits and pieces that would comfortably get the set up to the hour mark, and I’m continuing to tinker with it while everything else settles into place.

Still coming along very nicely though, and next month remains a very realistic goal for production. Look out for the next update, where we’ll hopefully be taking a first look at the label logo.

Posted in Events, Japanese, Mixes, Releases | 1 Comment »

Qygen – Kaoru Kimura no Densetsu (Tribute to Betwixt & Between) [Alt. Version]

December 12th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

There’s a case to be made (and someone made it to me the other day) that Qygen is the most melodically advanced producer in freeform these days, and his tribute to Betwixt & Between is another one of those tracks that rewards repeated listening. Qygen has just added an alternative version to his SoundCloud – not a massive difference, but the second half’s ‘heavy’ kick is really effective.

On the subject of Qygen, a belated shout to Hellfury for the fine work he did on the recent(ish) Smiling Corpse and Freeformatted promo set. I finally checked it out a couple of weeks ago, and the mixing is top drawer – always hard to work with a restrictive tracklist and still avoid some clangs, but this one is very smooth. Obviously it’s well worth checking out for new material from Exemia and some previews of Evolutionize’s very promising album, but also some incredible stuff from Qygen’s work on the Blue Revolver OST. Some of the finest freeform of the year, no doubt.

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

Hyphen – Large Hadron Collider

December 9th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

Quick mention of a tune I should have posted about back in September – as always Hyphen is producing at a frightening rate, but it’s been especially brilliant to hear the return of his melodic melancholy in amongst all the other styles.

Large Hadron Collider has to be one of my recent favourites, ticking all the boxes of power, speed and emotion. The breakdown doesn’t really match the rest of the tune in my opinion, but that explosive drop is likely one of the best you’ll hear all year. Add in the glorious lead and this a very impressive tune indeed, and one I’ve definitely heard getting some play from the man himself at CODEX this year.

The track was a free release by Japanese net label Unisphere, as part of the Afterfire EP, and can be found here.

Posted in Japanese, Releases | No Comments »

Dark Dimension @Takuya Angel Web Shop

November 30th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

Thanks to Shimotsukei for letting me know that Dark Dimension’s first compilation is now available (in very limited quantities) via Takuya Angel’s online shop. Strange that it doesn’t seem to be online anywhere else, but it might be worth keeping an eye on the DD Twitter account in case of other news.

Posted in Japanese, Releases | 1 Comment »

Solvynt – Freeformaniacs Round 20

November 30th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

It turns out that Orphic’s excellent Freeformaniacs set was actually my second favourite of round 20 – a belated listen to Solvynt’s hour of NRG and freeform quickly sent it to the top of this batch of sets.

Frankly if you’re reading TYFTH (and you are), then this is sure to be a hugely enjoyable listen with many of our favourite tunes alongside some new and surprising tunes. Credit to Solvynt for doing a fine job with the atmosphere – consistently dark with enough variation and melody to keep things interesting. The mixing itself ranges from solid to really exciting (no clashing keys here, crucially), and my personal favourite was that quality switch from Desolated Dreams to Inquisition. The old faithful of Maruuk to Voices of Babylon is also in there, one I’ve used many a time myself.

This being Solvynt, you be right to expect some rare or unusual tracks, and to his huge credit they’re nicely incorporated into the set. The great use of This Moment as an intro sets this off in the right way, but listen out too for Guld’s LUCID and especially Nomic’s brand new Personal Hater.

Tracklist-wise, I don’t think I’ve seen a set so close to my own tastes for a long time, and I expect a lot of Horsers will feel the same way. Very highly recommended.

00. Anomic – This Moment [Unreleased]
01. HASE – 法界 [Khaotic Dimension]
02. DJ MANIK – LUCID (GULD remix) [Nrgetic Romancer]
03. Betwixt & Between – Self Extortion [Unreleased]
04. Epyx & Cyrez meets Heathen – All of Us [E&C Self-Released]
05. Nomic – Desolated Dreams [Unreleased]
06. Nemes & Blender – Inquisition (Blender remix) [Unreleased]
07. Alek Szahala – Maruuk [Finrg]
08. Alek Szahala – Voices of Babylon [Finrg]
09. Pain on Creation & Fea – Unconsciousness [Electronica Exposed]
11. Twisted Freq – Horsehead [Electronica Exposed]
12. Nomic – Personal Hater(preview) [Unreleased]

 

Posted in Canadian, Finnish, Japanese, Mixes, Swedish | 4 Comments »

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