Slightly belated thanks here to everyone who listened to last weekend’s stream. As I mentioned on Mastodon, it was a nice feeling (and quite an achievement by recent standards) to announce and then plan a set at fairly short notice. More gratifying, though, was seeing some TYFTH regulars in the chatroom, ready and waiting even before the set started. It made my evening, and even if the streams don’t pick up a larger audience I would be more than happy to play for our little group as often as I can manage.

This time it was Alek-only, and to up the challenge (and interest) there were some relatively underplayed tracks in the list. Overall I was very happy with how it went, especially as a few sequences turned out well enough that they’ll probably find their way into the eventual Alek tribute mix. I’m thinking especially of that Ziggurat – Fuji – The Hater section, which feels like a pretty effective way to switch things up from melodic to aggressive. The overall progression was also good, and it bodes well for the ‘real’ set (whenever that’ll be) that I ended up cutting a few other new transitions to keep things as close to an hour as possible.

Tracklist

01. Alek Szahala – Balag Lamara
02. Alek Szahala – Maruuk
03. Alek Szahala – Voices of Babylon
04. Alek Szahala – Unholy Word
05. Alek Szahala – Tlaloc
06. Alek Szahala – Mageslayer
07. Alek Szahala – Dryad Machine
08. Alek Szahala – Ziggurat
09. Alek Szahala – Fuji
10. Alek Szahala – The Hater
11. Alek Szahala – Vengeance
12. Alek Szahala – Icy Clouds
13. Aszagarnak – Shinnae

 

Those still pining for the sound of Epyx & Cyrez are in luck, as Cyrez has a new remix of his Engrams of Cyrez track, Uni Impulse, ready for imminent release. More than just a welcome echo of the duo’s old style, this stands up to the best of their 170+ bpm output and combines it nicely with Cyrez’s recent experiments. The surprising shifts in the break and main melody approach the madness of When Left Alone at times, along with some lovely, Code of Silence-esque filtering.

Uni Impulse will soon be appearing on the Cyrez Bandcamp.

Happy New Year! I’m now settled back in at TYFTH Towers, fighting off jetlag after yesterday returning from Sweden. Although the Top 3 roundup was conspicuous by its absence again, I’m hoping that 2019 can start in fine style with the return of the TYFTH twitch stream.

There are a number of personal plans afoot for me in 2019, but as much as possible TYFTH will also be able pick up the pace a little. Whatever’s going on away from this place I’ve no intention of giving up on freeform for a long while yet (if ever, let’s be honest). You’ll notice that a couple of reuploaded videos on the TYFTH YouTube went online yesterday – they were supposed to coincide with the big Thoughts on Mixing post, and they’ll be followed by a few more from the archives while I rummage through more old hard drives.

The first stream of the year will include some newer tracks if I can manage it, but after a long mixing break it’s safe to expect a few old, darker favourites. This one will be recorded for YouTube, so although it would be great as always to see everyone there’ll be a chance to catch it there, a little later.

This shows how out of the loop I’ve been, but V.P.N is a worthy track to end the year on. Released in October on Ominous Digital, this collaboration between Yuuhei Morita and Neoform is a very, very welcome revival of freeform’s more aggressive side, with no endless, trancy breakdowns to be found anywhere.

The intro and melodic sections show all the signs of Morita’s influence, while the nastier sections really benefit from Neoform letting rip with the hardcore influences over some very solid freeform filters. It’s refreshing to hear a track that remembers how brutal freeform can be, as well as how important it is to keep the pace up in tracks like this, even into the breakdown. No fizzling out of the atmosphere with an interminable break here, just the occasional return of the melodies and the lovely use of different kicks to control the track’s pace.

Easily one of my tracks of the year, it’s available digitally here and here.

There are quite a few recent releases that I’d like to give a shout out to, starting with Substanced’s Science Fiction EP. I really like the approach to these FINRG releases at the moment, with Substanced repping the modern UK/Finnish fusion that he’s perfected, combined with something rougher from Alchemiist. It’s the same pattern this time, and even if Alchemiist’s Legend remix keeps things pushed further along the melodic end of the spectrum than I was expecting it’s a very fine track.

My standout on the EP though is Blue Remembered Earth, which slows things down for a long breakdown before one of the most beautiful drops and main melodies that we’ve heard on FINRG for a long time. Take away the preposterous production levels and I’d think we’re back in 2008 again – this is a modern FINRG sound that I can completely get behind.

The whole EP is now available on beatport.

Giving the tracklists their own post is also a chance to say a big thanks to everyone who stopped by to listen! My thinking at first was to make it an almost-test stream, and so that’s why there was no promotion other than here and Mastodon. In the end though, with a small but awesome group of listeners, I had a great time and was more than happy to do a ‘for those who know’ longer stream.

It was quite the rush to get things set up in time yesterday, which inevitably meant I would forget something important. As the stream ended I realised what it was – for some reason I hadn’t set the stream to record. Massive apologies for that, but it does probably mean that I’ll be double checking from now on, and also that I can reuse the occasional transition from yesterday without too many worries.

Look out for more sets in the future then, albeit with the promo/rare stuff set postponed slightly so I can record the next stream. It was nice to see that even yesterday’s set had a few unheard tracks here and there, so I hope the tracklists are useful.

[Goa Trance]
01. E-Mantra – Dansul Ielelor
02. E-Mantra – Ravenmocker
03. Proxeeus – Something Lurks on Yuggoth
04. Alienapia & Khetzal – Endless Glade
05. Mindsphere – Divine Intervention

[NRG]
01. Alchemiist – Dead Silence
02. Risa – Air Str1ke
03. NooNoo & Anna K – Sleep is for the Week (Alchemiist remix)
04. Lab4 – Blackstar
05. Hase – Attacker
06. Pure Underground – Amb (Tyranoid vs Michael Strongstream remix)
07. Alek Szahala – Alanamra
08. Alek Szahala – Starfall
09. Betwixt & Between – 7th world

Keeping that consistent streaming streak going, it’s almost time for the second TYFTH Live. Mastodon watchers will have seen some live indecision from me today, as I really haven’t been in the mood for NRG this week and finally decided to call it earlier this afternoon. Typically, all it took was one more practice with some unusual tracks to get some inspiration going though, so we’re back to original scheme of two relatively shorter sets.

The first will be some goa trance, likely to be heavy on the E-Mantra but a little more melodic than I’ve played in the past. After that will be some NRG, and I’ll likely be keeping things fairly simple while I get back into the swing of mixing publicly and precariously balancing computers here and there. The simpler mixing (in both sets, to a degree) will mean I’ll be more able to check the chat, so this could be a nice chance for a catch up, too.

You can find the TYFTH twitch channel here, and when the time comes I’ll temporarily embed the feed at the top of this post.

Believe it or not, this post is in response to a few requests I had, many years ago, to talk a little about how I put my sets together. Back then I felt I had a lot to work on, and either way wasn’t really confident enough to articulate what I’d learned so far. Although there’s still plenty to improve, the combination of more regularly hitting what I feel is the ‘TYFTH style’ and the collected notes made during a decade of mixing mean that now might be the right time to give an explanation a try.

With as many mixing styles as there are DJs, it should really go without saying (despite the occasional imperative mood) that I’m in no way prescribing this as the way to put a freeform set together. Taking set construction so seriously has always been massively rewarding for me though, so the hope is that this will be an interesting look behind the scenes for those who enjoy TYFTH’s mixes.

These thoughts (they’re far too meandering to be called a guide) are roughly divided into three sections, covering the main steps in my mixing process. Particularly important points are noted along the way, and to help with the explanations a few PD sets (or even transitions within them) are used as examples, as well as occasional mentions of non-freeform sets that have inspired me over the years.

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Let’s call this post a public service announcement for anyone who missed the August digital appearance of one of the finest albums so far this year. I was late to this release myself, but having finally given Khaosnet Civilization a proper listen I’m very impressed indeed by the variety and the quality levels throughout. The combination of relative rookies to the genre and veterans like Hyphen means that overall there’s probably something for every freeform listener to enjoy here.

For that Finnish/UK cross-influence you can’t do much better these days than Hyphen and Kokomochi, while polaritia’s Lifeless but Soulful is one of his strongest tracks to date. Even if a couple of the others prove the old freeform adage that it’s a lot easier to put together a nasty intro and outro than the melodic sections of a track, there’s a lot of originality to make up for it. ikaruga_nex’s Deadcode didn’t grab me at first, but maybe the deep atmosphere is a slow burner – I can imagine this working well in a number of different sets. Morita’s (take your pick where the Yuuhei fits in) gritty sound is still my favourite aspect of the current Japanese scene, and while Unleash lingers over the breakdown for a lot longer than I’d like, it’s probably another that would really take off in combination with the right tracks. Rounding out the release is a promising first (?) freeform track by Risa, along with some strong melodies from Gil and NA7, who I’m perhaps hearing for the first time.

Given the lack of events and general community for the Japanese crew at the moment this is an incredibly strong release, and Kokomochi deserves a lot of credit for supporting the scene when it needs it the most. The promising addition of ‘1’ in the title suggests the start of the series, with the prospect of a follow-up likely reliant on how wide an audience this one can reach.

It’s another exciting episode of TYFTH Housekeeping!

Some of this should be mildly interesting, at least, as it includes a few improvements that have been in the works for quite a while.

The first is the addition of tracklists to the Past Events page – initially as a record for myself I started digging through my papers, before realising that they could find a nice home on the site. Although it’s still a work in progress with NRGetic Romancer tracklists especially thin on the ground, there are a few additions that might be of interest. My Munted! Animal House tracklist is finally online, along with most of the CODEX sets, the full Dreams Into Harder set with encore, and a few other bits and pieces. More will be added if possible, but that’s likely to be it for the time being.

Second is a small Mastodon feed, nestled below the Recent Comments on the right side of the front page. I’ve never been comfortable being too vocal on the TYFTH Twitter or Facebook, as it does seem to make more sense to keep things strictly business on both. The Mastodon account, on the other hand, is what I hope can be a solution to any quiet spells here, and a way to keep readers up to date. I’ll be posting there between TYFTH site action to explain what’s going on, as well as including progress on music-related projects like mixes or (no laughing at the back, please) tracks. A couple of adventurous souls have already found the account, and it goes without saying that it would be lovely to catch up with Horsers there too. I’d much prefer TYFTH to have a presence somewhere (semi)decentralised like Mastodon in the future, so let’s see how it goes.

Finally, images inside posts will now be expandable, a small but pretty significant improvement that I finally did something about while writing that soon-to-appear enormous post. Not much more to say about that last one, is there?

Just one more thing actually – In Praise of Shadows related, as I was at the post office on Wednesday to send out another order. I’ll also add this info to the shop page, but I wanted to (re?)state that I always aim to post orders within 3 days of receiving them. If that’s ever impossible, I’ll be in touch with you via email to let you know, and then to confirm when it is sent out. Probably worth making that clear, as a few people have very understandably (as there’s no tracking on the package) contacted me in the past to check whether their order has been posted or not.