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 | 1 Comment »

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 | No Comments »

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 »

TYFTH Live, Sunday 3rd August @11pm (JST)

August 2nd, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Well, I just about managed my deadline, recording a first version of the non-freeform set earlier this week. It’s full of tricky connections though, and another try’s definitely needed. I’m still not sure what to do with the final version – it’s actually a set of 1994-1996 intelligent drum and bass, but the mixing’s turned out to be a combination of my current freeform style and other transitions that let the tunes roll a bit more.

I’ve enjoyed playing through it in practice though, and I’ve managed to fit in some all-time favourites, which was one of the main missions. Anyway, for now I’ve decided to play it live on ustream this weekend – if you remember the good old days of drum and bass, or just fancy an hour or so of deeper tunes, it’d be great to see you.

Posted in Drum & Bass, Events, Japanese, Mixes, UK | 2 Comments »

Dyzphazia – Sinistry: Piracy

July 29th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

Anyone who missed the recent Sinistry event in London has Dyzphazia to thank for this excellent practice version of his set. The tracklist is as you’d expect, Finnish/Japanese with a few surprises here and there, and an inspired opening to tie into the event’s piratic theme. I’d say the final section is the standout here, starting with Evolutionize’s energetic remix of Forced Worship and ending with your favourite and mine, Voices of Babylon.

Very nice work from Dyzphazia then, while Jester and Kohl deserve plenty of credit for continuing to strongly support our side of the freeform scene.

01. COPILOT – Drunken Whaler
02. Guld vs. Betwixt & Between – Hatral
03. Xilent – Boss Wave (James Marvel Remix)
04. DJ Rx – Frozen Flame
05. Betwixt & Between – Hollow
06. Ephexis – Sick Seduction
07. Epyx & Cyrez – Unohdetut 2011
08. Morita Yuuhei – Forced Worship (Evolutionize Remix)
09. Einhander – Four Beast
10. Proteus & DJ-X – Full Metal Jacket
11. GULD – Gozenzeuna
12. Alek Szahala – Voices of Babylon

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

Lab 4 @velfarre x ageha: Cyber Trance 2014, 14th September

July 29th, 2014 by PlasmaDancer

It’s been great to see Lab 4 playing events once again, and this ageha booking is pretty exciting news for anyone in or near Tokyo in September. The much-missed velfarre closed before my time in Tokyo, but there should be a big crowd of nostalgic old-timers in attendance for what would be my first visit to ageha.

Posted in Events, Japanese, UK | 3 Comments »

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