In Praise of Shadows – Update 1

November 23rd, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

It’s already been a while since the big announcement, so it’s maybe time for an update on what’s been going on this month.

The bad news is that a release next month was predictably ambitious, and so January 2016 is now the target. Though the tracks have been mastered, graphic design and production of the CDs is going to take a fair while, and it’s sure to be another big step into the unkown as I prepare to start taking orders. I’m not brave enough to set a firm date yet, then, but towards end of January sounds doable at the moment.

Another reason I’m busy right now is that there’ll actually be a second CD in the first release, mixed by yours truly. Aiming high again, the other inspiration for the project was one of my all-time favourite albums, the original Logical Progression from Good Looking Records. The first CD (or cassette, in my case) was an unmixed compilation of forward-thinking tunes, while the second featured a mix by Bukem himself, an amazing set that showed what a journey an hour of intelligent jungle could be.

The mixed CD will (hopefully) do something similar, then, as in my opinion a selection of tracks in isolation only tells half the story of a genre like freeform. It will also be a show of solidarity with all the other labels that have supported the scene and our sound over the years, and so for a while now I’ve been busy licensing tracks for use in the mix. The tracklist is almost decided, and I think it’ll be pretty representative of some of our favourite artists and labels over the years. Of course it’s also supposed to serve as an intro to the genre for those who might be just joining in.

Rest easy though, as I wouldn’t dream of expecting people to pay for one of my sets – I’ll absorbing the cost of the CD, and so essentially the eventual price will be for CD 1 alone. Plus I’m working in Japanese yen, and the continuing collapse of the economy here likely means a very reasonable price for most other countries.

My job over the next couple of weeks is to get the set finished, and if the art has been finished up by then we’ll be almost set for production. Please feel free to give me a shout if you have any questions or opinions, and I’ll let you know how it’s all looking in another week or so.

Posted in Finnish, Japanese, Mixes, Releases | 2 Comments »

Freeform Will Never Die

November 23rd, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

There’s something great going on at Freeform Will Never Die’s SoundCloud right now – a collecting together of a huge number of free releases from the labels that make up the scene, curating the best ones and making them handily available in one place.

The FINRG list of 25 tracks shows a really good ear for our kind of sound, and in fact even TYFTH was recently added to the collection. If you somehow missed out on our free tracks then be sure to take a look, and I’d wager there’ll be a few other free tunes on other labels that went under your radar until now.

Give FWND a SoundCloud follow as well, this kind of dedication deserves plenty of support.

Posted in Canadian, Finnish, Japanese, Releases, Swedish, UK, USA | No Comments »

Orphic – Freeformaniacs Round 20

November 19th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

An In Praise of Shadows update will be coming soon, but in the meantime here’s my favourite set from a strong Round 20 of Freeformaniacs. The unfamilar UK freeform sprinkled through the tracklist had me a little worried at first, but Orphic’s is a really solid set of heavy-on-the-filters freeform, built around some quality Finnish selections and nicely matched UK sounds.

The first couple of tunes are a bit of a tentative start, but after that the set really comes into its own with some smooth transitions and a wonderful flow through the filters. Hatral takes the central spot, and pitched-up actually reminds me of the WIP snippet of the Betwixt-only version I heard a long time ago. Thanks to the toughened up kick in Guld’s Watchtower remix, it definitely stands up to the faster freeform on show here. Final respectful shouts to Orphic for the best use of My Sickness I’ve heard for a long time, it’s good to see such a tricky tune getting some play again.

01 Pain on creation – Lush (Epyx & Cyrez Remix)
02 Substanced – Ghost of the future (Alchemiist Remix)
03 Transcend – Let my Wraith
04 Transcend & Midas – Hide & Freq
05 Epyx & Cyrez VS Tyranoid & Strongstream – What Lies Below
06 Pretty Addicted – Fear Myself ( Lost Soul Remix)
07 Guld VS Betwixt & Between – Hatral (Guld 2013 Mix)
08 Alchemiist – Fate
09 Transcend – No Escape
10 Substanced & Alchemiist – Permission to Die
11 Lost Soul – Crazy Light
12 Re-form – My sickness

Posted in Finnish, Japanese, Mixes, UK | No Comments »

Betwixt & Between – Live @Nrgetic Romancer, 20th August 2005

November 14th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

0114 – 2005 – Betwixt & Between \ Betwixt & Between – Live At Nr.mp3 by Matthew Lancaster on Mixcloud

This is freeform.

It’s almost enough to end the post there – but we first all owe Solvynt a massive thanks for rediscovering Betwixt & Between’s 2005 Live PA, and Matthew Lancaster for the mixcloud upload.

[update: Thanks to DY we now have a downloadable version too – check here for the mp3]

Listening again over the past few days, I’ve been trying to recall the feelings I had a decade ago when the darkness, aggression and eerie, emotional melodies of this set completely changed how I thought about hardcore. Without it I wouldn’t have discovered Alek’s sound either, and nothing from NRG Monogatari to In Praise of Shadows would have happened – it’s no exaggeration, then, to call this a life-changing set.

Those who haven’t heard it before are still in for a real treat. The set is the perfect illustration of Betwixt’s style as he absorbed FINRG influences and took his complex melodies and track structures in a darker direction, and the fact that many of us are still playing these tunes 10 years later really says it all.

1. Betwixt & Between – East of Eden
2. Betwixt & Between – Eternaly
3. Betwixt & Between – Liberation
4. Betwixt & Between – Mirage
5. Betwixt & Between – Reincarnation
6. Alek Szahala – Supriya (Goa Edit)
7. Betwixt & Between – 4321
8. Betwixt & Between – Don’t Stop
9. Betwixt & Between – City of Solitude
10. Betwixt & Between – Disturbed Mind (Live Edit)
11. Betwixt & Between – The Awakening (East of Eden Part2) (Live Edit)

Posted in Events, Finnish, Japanese, Mixes | 6 Comments »

Half a Set’s Worth of CODEX6

November 10th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

The general CODEX6 roundup is still to come, but after Soham was kind enough to send over 25 minutes’ (!) worth of video I couldn’t resist jumping the gun a bit and putting it online with some Set-Planning Thoughts.

This was another set where I started with NRG, but expecting a lot of very fast sets from the rest of the crew (and playing right after AB) I upped the bpm to begin at 167bpm. Soham caught the whole intro, during which I tried to build up a dark atmosphere with brief emotional moments – I think it worked quite well, but the tracks aren’t the hardest and I maybe paid for it in ‘get the floor moving’ power. I wasn’t too worried about that though, as the plan was for more to come later.

Following one of the upcoming (and now mastered) TYFTH tracks, I sneaked the bpm up slightly with a two-track combo that was a proper honour to play. I made very sure to clear it with Proteus beforehand for obvious reasons, and thought that my first ever use of an Epilim track would mean even more if mixed with one Proteus’ own tunes. Rapid Fire still sounds glorious, and giving the CODEX crew (and me) the chance to enjoy Epilim’s proto-FINRG through a PA for the first time was very special.

The next video follows right on from Rapid Fire, when I tried to give the crowd a long break before a pretty intense semi-freeform section. Brionac’s breakdown never gets old, and Gozenzeuna is just a superb tune for some driving mid-set twistedness. It was the first time to try Rougher Than You in a mix, and while the connection wasn’t the cleanest it didn’t really need to be – angry and filtered were the keywords by this point. Worth mentioning that I followed it up with Betwixt & Between’s Phaedra, another first to use that one.

You’ll notice that real melodic tunes were pretty thin on the ground so far, as the idea was to save them, and some melancholy, for the very end. The last video shows most of this section – Nomic’s Rule Breaker, followed by a big current favourite in Like a Flame. I’ve never tried Hydra as an outro, but after a fair bit of work I’ve got some good candidates to follow LaF and it felt like the right set for it this time.

Overall I was really happy with how things went, and even if the set didn’t flow as well as my effort for the previous CODEX I hope the videos are an enjoyable watch. Another great experience to play as part of such a huge lineup, of course, and it’s pretty encouraging that so far all the In Praise of Shadows tracks have well and truly done the business through R-Lounge’s PA.

Posted in Events, Japanese | 2 Comments »

Epyx & Cyrez meets Heathen – The Whisper

November 8th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

The archived Epyx & Cyrez material continued the other day with the release of The Whisper on FINRG. Another collab with Heathen, this one doesn’t match the amazing All of Us but definitely has its moments – the post-break melodies are classic E&C with some of the industrial heaviness Heathen was working on back then, and I love the little Re-form-esque stabs in the outro. It had me wishing for a few more filters, but otherwise a very solid tune for those 160bpm+ sets.

Posted in Finnish, Releases, Swedish | No Comments »

Asahi – CODEX6 Replay

November 7th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

Away from Label News there have been a few things to catch up on lately, including a look back at CODEX6 that’ll be on its way when I have more time. For now though, you should definitely check out Asahi’s rerecorded set from the event, one of his best so far.

It’s quite an unusual one for him in some ways, as he’s made a bit of a name for himself by supporting newer NRG artists as well as melancholy-heavy freeform. This time he started at a high bpm, and rattled through one heck of a freeform tracklist. There were plenty of oldies and NRGetic Romancer anthems (Last of the Mohicans, Dirtier Worlds) as well as the always-wonderful Eternal and a great/unusual opening combo of Pink Magic and Red fraction.

Asahi’s take on harder/psychedelic freeform is always good to hear, with its occasional drift into uplifting Hybridize style, and this one is a must-listen.

01. Alek Szahala – Pink Magic
02. MELL – Red fraction (fictitious remix)
03. Aryx – Nephila
04. Nightforce & Substanced – Operation Stardust
05. Twisted Freq – Dirtier World
06. Alek Szahala – The Last of the Mohicans
07. Raver Rose&Themal Force – Eternal
08. Proteus – Venla
09. Grimsoul – Lightshaft
10. Epyx&Cyrez – Polyhedra08

Posted in Events, Japanese, Mixes | 3 Comments »

[TYFTH001] Announcing TYFTH – In Praise of Shadows

October 23rd, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

It’s been a struggle to keep this (fairly) quiet until now, but it’s finally time to announce TYFTH’s new direction – while the site will continue to be a welcoming place for fans of darker, deeper NRG and freeform (and will hopefully do a better job of that in the months to come), 2015 is the year that TYFTH finally steps up and becomes a fully-fledged label, supporting the scene in the way I always hoped it might.

While a cluster of newer labels have been doing a fine job of carrying the torch since FINRG’s lower profile in the scene, the number of artists producing twisted, melancholy and darker material has definitely dropped. It really feels like time, then, for TYFTH to become what I think is a label that’ll do its bit to help reinvigorate the sound we love.

The basic TYFTH mission statement is to bring back the dark, beautiful, otherworldly sounds that made me fall in love with NRG and freeform all those years ago, but with modern production that does the artists’ ideas justice. Albums like Khaotic Dimension and FINRG’s Hakkapeliitta were the reasons that many of us got into the scene, and TYFTH will be aiming high and using them for inspiration.

The first release on TYFTH will be an ‘invitation only’ CD compilation titled In Praise of Shadows, featuring 11 Finnish and Japanese tracks. All but two (carefully selected tracks) have been specially commissioned for the album. The artists have done a fabulous job of rising to the challenge, with plenty commenting how enjoyable it has been to ’travel back in time’ to revisit the atmosphere of years past. Massive thanks to everyone for buying into the concept of the label – I couldn’t have wished for a better response.

At this stage things are actually more advanced that you might expect – all the tracks for TYFTH’s first release have been submitted, and mastering is underway. The first track is an awesome return to production by Proteus – Monochrome is a dark, aggressive mix of industrial and NRG, and will start the compilation at 150bpm. Check it out right now on Proteus’ SoundCloud, and keep an ear on the TYFTH SoundCloud for previews of others over the next month or two.

The other tracks run through all the sounds you’d expect of TYFTH, with everything from angry filtered NRG to melancholy freeform via some dark, unusual detours. The list of artists involved is honestly as good as you’ll see anywhere – I can’t wait to share the full lineup.

Finally for now, a quick word on CD vs digital. I’m 100% with Smiling Corpse and their appreciation for the physical product, and TYFTH will be releasing albums with art, design and presentation that matches the quality of the music. The commissioned cover art is complete and utterly fantastic, doing full justice to the atmosphere (and title) of the compilation. ‘In Praise of Shadows’ will hopefully have a physical as well as musical presence that puts the Finnish/Japanese sounds back where they deserve to be – at the forefront of the scene.

It goes without saying that I’ll be keeping everyone informed on here as things develop, and if things go to plan (which, as I’ve already discovered, they rarely do), the first release will be ready around the end of this year/early 2016. November will tell me a lot about that, one way or the other, and you’ll all be the first to know.

I hope the TYFTH crew are as excited about this as I am – we’ve always had a brilliant group of people here, and your feedback/constructive opinions are 100% welcome. Without everyone’s support here and elsewhere over the years, this (possibly mad) project wouldn’t have gone past the daydream stage, but I’m very glad it has.

Plenty more still to announce, so updates will be coming soon.

Posted in Finnish, Japanese, Releases | 21 Comments »

Orfeus – Live @Senzation Hard, 1st April 2005

October 9th, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

I was going through some mix folders the other day, and rediscovered an absolute gem of a set from Orfeus that might be of interest to Horsers new and old. Recorded at Senzation Hard in 2005, the tracklist shows off the Finnish sound at one of its highest points, with Carbon Based, Rx and Alek Szahala confidently thrashing out anthem after anthem, colliding with still-played classics like Lemonade Raygun.

The whole set has me longing for the good old days, and any Finnish freeform fan will enjoy a set that includes the likes of Caballo 2004Ultimate Protection, Tuonela, and a fantastic early version of Unconsciousness. Listen out too for the original version of Grimsoul’s Bleed. Titled Painajainen back then, the track lacked the polish of the Hybridize release but really outdoes it with a higher bpm and a better focus on the melancholy. A brilliant tune that I’ve always loved.

A big draw for me though is one of my very favourite Rx tracks – Uprising. Even if it’s a bit rough around the edges by his later standards, it has always reminded me of a ThermalForce track with its filtered madness over a simple (but very effective) melody. It’s tragic that it has since disappeared – I’ve literally spent years watching out for it, but with no luck (even Rx lost the files a long while ago). I live in hope that it’s lurking on a hard drive somewhere and we’ll once again hear it in sets.

An essential set for the FINRG historian, then, especially as Orfeus tends to let most of the tunes play out to their full length. Despite that, there’s no lack of energy, and a real sense that he’s having a brilliant time tearing through these future classics.

I’ve pilfered a tracklist from Orfeus’ original klubitus post, but as the mix itself isn’t present I’ve mediafired it for the time being – if there are any problems with the link, let me know and I’ll arrange something better.

Alek Száhala – Caballo (2004 Edit)
Grimsoul – Painajainen
Pain On Creation – Lush (Carbon Based Rmx)
Grimsoul – Kadotettu Todellisuus
Rx – Uprising
Carbon Based – Ultimate Protection
DOK & Dodgee – Inside
DJ Eclipse – Devastator (Rmx)
Alek Száhala – Solar Hive
Alek Száhala – Dryad Machine
Pain on Creation & Fea – Unconsciousness (First Version)
Rx – Frozen Flame
DJ Fury – Lemonade Raygun (Back Room Mix)
Carbon Based – Tuonela
Phosphor – Back Bass

Paoçala – Aurinko


Posted in Finnish, Mixes, UK | 6 Comments »

Seileen – Lamento della Sirena (GULD remix) / Alek Szahala – Dryad Machine (GULD remix)

October 3rd, 2015 by PlasmaDancer

Dark Dimension’s compilation will be released tonight, but some very nicely presented previews of all the tracks are up now on YouTube. TYFTH interest probably centres on Guld’s remixes – great to hear the tidied-up version of Lamento della Sirena, while his NRG version of Dryad Machine works really well, complete with Genshi Kurage-style chiptune interlude.

There’s a lot of other interesting stuff up there (especially if you’re a dark psy fan), so the other videos are very worth checking out. If I make it to the event tonight I’ll try to get some decent video – it has been a while, and definitely something I should do more often.

Posted in Events, Finnish, Goa / Psy, Japanese, Releases | 4 Comments »

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