Archives

All posts by PlasmaDancer

It’s looking likely that my next ‘studio’ set will include a U-F SEQUENCER track, so this caught my eye right away. As a free release you’ve got nothing to lose either way, making Thunderbolt a strong choice if you’re experimenting with Japanese sounds in your melodic freeform sets.

I’ve often thought that U-F SEQUENCER has quite a lot in common with Betwixt in his more conventional freeform moments, as there’s a peculiar style to their melodies that you don’t very often hear anywhere else (ikaruga_nex might be another?). SEQUENCER’s tracks don’t tend to go to that next (Betwixt) level, but there’s a lot to like here and I’m going to try working with Thunderbolt when I find some other contenders in this style.

Make sure to look through SEQUENCER’s bandcamp if you haven’t before, there’s so much good work there that deserves to get some play, both on the freeform and hardcore sides.

Bad news first – there’s no freeform here, or the high bpm psy/goa influenced stormers we’ve heard before from Synesthesics’ alias, Mellow Sonic. Instead Transcending Consciousness is a phenomenal album of atmospherics that draws on some similar elements, and should have at least something of interest for many Horsers.

Starting with the clearest Psychokinesis influences, then, Celestial is my favourite of the goa/psy-styled tracks. Somewhere around 150bpm, it’s a lovely, deep acid track that inevitably had me wishing for more of the freeform that I fell in love with last time around. These are great tracks though, living up to their sci-fi styling to such a degree that they’d probably be tough to mix with the majority of goa. Adding some depth to a psytrance set could be where they’d shine, but what would I know about that?

The album’s title track could well be my favourite, some superb breaks that easily match Alek Szahala’s experiments along these lines. One of those genres I’d like to get more into, but it would have to be up to this quality for me to take interest. Proper melancholy cyberpunk atmospheres here, I think it’s fantastic.

The second half of the album is the highest standard of drum and bass production I’ve yet heard from Synesthesics, and even if it’s not my preferred genre some similar atmospheres are continued here. I’m no expert on more sci-fi styled drum and bass, but this is excellent stuff that gave me older Black Sun Empire feelings in places.

The wait continues for more Mellow Sonic freeform, but this is an inspiring mix of styles to enjoy in the meantime, and comes highly recommended.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by for the last stream – seems like this one caught some interest and there was a decent-sized group listening live, especially given the last-minute promotion. Listening back I’m pleasantly surprised by how well the set works, so this one has also gone up on the TYFTH SoundCloud. There’s a much bigger audience over there, for what turned out to be a nice ‘beginner’s set’ with plenty of newer tracks.

The initial idea was to build the whole thing around more melodic freeform, but it also ended up feeling a lot like one of my old school sets. They tended to mix up melodies and nastier tracks a lot more than I do these days, and it was quite refreshing to rattle through a new generation of tracks in that style. The Exit 133 – No Choice At All transition is one I’ve been sitting on for a while, tweaked a bit here but still a very welcoming combination that leads into the faster-feeling modern tracks. polaritia’s tracks were my go-to when I realised that I didn’t want things to head into ‘happy freeform’ territory – maybe it was mixing muscle memory that transformed the set into something I might have played at Hell’s Gate all those years ago.

Cannibal Girl was as fun to use as expected, and I have a feeling that it could become the Hellfire of the current era – very flexible and able to switch up the atmosphere of almost any set. Less planned was the choice of Rise From The Darkness, as I actually bought the track an hour before the start of the stream. I’d been scrambling for something to link with Facemelt, so that along with the breakdown’s nod back to Cannibal Girl made it a good choice.

The set was supposed to end with Zafkiel, but I was having such a good time I thought to carry on a little longer. SIBYL was a nod to Kokomochi in the stream chat, as it’s by far my favourite of his tracks, followed by Substanced’s remix of Cyclone. I’m yet to find a really good transition for it, which meant I didn’t feel quite so bad shoehorning it into the ‘encore’ slot.

There are still a fair few tracks on the more melodic side that I’d like to play, so it might not be a bad idea to switch things up with another set in this style before too long.

 

Anyone following Shimotsukei’s SoundCloud will have noticed a recent burst of incredible mashups, mostly featuring Betwixt & Between – but for everyone else, it’s about time I pointed out a couple of favourites.

So far, of the uploaded versions, I’m probably the biggest fan of Phaedra’s Hypnodisc, a lovely, aggressive mashup that somehow balances the odd atmospheres of both tracks to come up with something new. Both have detuned sounds all over the place that make ‘normal’ mixing difficult enough, but this mashup impresses as it keeps it all together. The extra weight at the lower ends also benefits both, making them a lot more playable in more modern sets. A really incredible effort and the best (online) example so far of what Shimotsukei’s been working on.

Check it out at Shimotsukei’s SoundCloud along with the ambitous Tindaros Invasion, another highlight. You Are Surging, meanwhile, is a quality mashup but still not enough to make me listen to Betwixt’s remix of You Are, something I’ve never been able to play all the way through thanks to some truly painful vocals.

Now’s probably also a good time to mention Shimo’s superb Megabyrgium, a mashup that deserved its own post a couple of years ago and still holds up brilliantly. Still no download, but an absolute must-listen.

 

Watch live video from plasmadancer on www.twitch.tv

If you’ve been following the updates on Mastodon you will have seen this already, but the plan this weekend was to stream a short set of more melodic tracks while I continue sorting out ideas for the next ‘real’ mix.

Predictably though, I’ve ended up putting some time into this melodic edition and need some extra time to think about things. It’ll still most likely be on the short side, and will have a mix of newer and much older stuff – I’m just not feeling some of the really melodic/trancy tracks around these days, so it’ll be a bit of a middle ground. Although I expect a weekday isn’t as convenient for a lot of people, this one will also find its way to YouTube, probably a day or two later.

There are also plans for at least a couple of other posts to appear here soon, as I get back to things after an extremely busy February.

Not having been able to properly keep up with things in the scene has meant that I missed the massive leap B.R.K. has taken into the top tier of NRG artists over the past year or so. Better late than never, then, here’s his first Fatal Energy Records release as supporting evidence for that bold claim.

Granted, LOE, FIH is on the slower end of the scale and fits more into the hard trance/dance categories, but just listen to the production levels and complexity going on here. The fills and acid lines put even the pre-break section a step above B.R.K.’s older tracks, while the main melody doesn’t overdo it – simple and catchy’s all that’s needed in amongst the rest of the sounds. A crucial element there is the excellent mastering job of course, another night-and-day improvement.

If this is too sedate to fit into your own sets or listening tastes then I can say with authority that you still have to watch out for B.R.K.’s upcoming material. What I’ve heard so far easily keeps up this standard (but well into the bpms we’re more used to) and will surely be signed up to labels in the very near future.

I’ve been keeping an eye on hardrng’s soundcloud for quite some time now, belonging as it does to someone we all know well at TYFTH. This third mix upload has to be the best so far, and some blinding work in the middle of the set makes it one that I’m happy to mention here.

The whole tracklist is very TYFTH-friendly as you’d expect, with a solid opening of Tendrils of Reality and Acid Maker setting up the atmosphere nicely. It’s the next transition that shows the ambition behind the set, as Kamsheen is teased in and out of Acid Maker. So close but not quite matching up, it’s a heroic effort and very nearly a killer combination. Frozen Abyss into Reboot The System, meanwhile, is an absolutely superb transition and a worthy centrepiece for the set, both selection-wise and for the quality of the blend.

Is it worth listening after that high watermark? Absolutely, as there’s an enjoyable shimmy around a few varieties of freeform in the second half. As always there’s something to enjoy in Lost Soul’s tracks, so that and the Substanced remix of Eons keep things on the darker, more technical side of this interlude into UK freeform. It was nice to see hardrng rein things back in though, and Aryx is always a good option to bridge the gap and reintroduce some depth to a set.

The finale is the other major highlight of the set, with a superb choice of atmosphere and smooth mixing. The echo of Fairytale’s melody in Morokai isn’t something I’ve thought of before, but it’s a lovely little trick, maybe even improved with the breathing room of another Lost Soul track in between.

One or two transitions could have done with cleaning up, but that’s a minor complaint in a really enjoyable set that also has me looking forward to the next.

Watch live video from plasmadancer on www.twitch.tv

This might be a busy weekend, but there’ll still be a TYFTH Live tomorrow as promised. Alas, it’s not the set I orginally had in mind, as I’m still hanging on for a couple of tracks to appear. Instead this’ll be that unreleased-only session I mentioned a while back, with me digging into the archives to play some bits and pieces that you might find interesting. What I’ve been aiming for in the limited practice time I’ve had this week is a set with plenty of surprises, while also sticking fairly close to the kind of style I like these days. Apologies in advance for any shonky transitions, it’ll definitely be more about the individual tracks this time around.

On that note, there are a few ‘secret’ tracks that might make an appearance, making this a good one to catch live if you can. The upload to YouTube won’t come with a tracklist, so feel free to play ‘guess that tune’ while we run through the set.

I’ll leave the video at the top of this post for now, but the TYFTH twitch channel is here, of course.

Just over a week ago I talked myself into making a trip to Shibuya at rush hour on a Saturday, but it was for a good cause – the first NRG-only event in Tokyo since the last CODEX. Shijou Saikou no NRG 3 (‘The Best NRG Ever 3’, it’s no less clunky a title in Japanese) was a gathering of some of the real pioneers of the Tokyo NRG scene for a little celebration of the sound. Little’s the word, as Dimension’s dimensions are about the same as a medium-sized Tokyo apartment, but even this club’s tiny speakers were a much better way to hear NRG than I’ve had for a long time.

Cochame gave the event some much needed younger (and female) representation, but sadly I wasn’t in time to catch her set. Those I did hear weren’t really up to the standard you might have expected, aside from GULD and Hashimoto. Hashimoto in particular has to win the award of ‘most instantly likeable’ harder DJ – he really looks like he’s still having the time of his life up in the booth and it was hard not to smile through the whole set. Fabulous track selection as well, which helped.

GULD’s set was the one I was really there for of course, and he didn’t disappoint. There was plenty of Hase and Lab4 before things went very melodic for the second half. Either side of the set we were catching up on things together, in between GULD pointing out the artist/name of every important track he heard.

Overall it was of course fantastic to hear some NRG again, but it was also a sobering little window into the state of the scene. The veterans are still supporting the sound as strongly as ever, but the tiny venue was only just full and the lack of younger DJs was pretty glaring. Who knows though, this could be the start of a revival in 2020. How soon it’s followed up by another event is probably key.

In the meantime, here’s GULD’s tracklist from the event. Oh and apologies for the terrible quality on the video by the way, but by the time another event rolls around I should be better fixed for recordings.

01. Hase – Attacker
02. Hase – Meditation
03. Yoji biomehanika – Rain
04. Lab4 – Falling Down
05. Lab4 – Resurrection (Hase remix)
06. Betwixt & Between – Zusammengehörigkeit
07. GULD – Spirits of Saiyan
08. Hatsune Miku – Senbonzakura (GULD boot remix)
09. Aryx – Aurora (GULD remix)
10. RR-ThermalForce – Al megiddo

Long-time Horsers will remember Tokyo Hardcore Construction, the best harder event of the time alongside Romancer. Kanon was a big reason for that, and happily she seems to be a lot more active in the scene these days.

Hardgate 10 was a massive event held in November at Womb, with what even I can see is a dream guest line up – Art of Fighters, Meccano Twins, and The Sickest Squad. From what I can tell this is a shorter set than she played at the event, but it’s still vintage Kanon and even before I saw the tracklist on mixcloud I recognised a good few THC anthems.

Tracklist

01. Evil Activities- Back On Track
02. Nitrogenetics – Hit Me
03. Angerfist – Dortmund 05
04. Nosferatu & Endymion vs Viper feat MC Alee – Project Hardcore(Anthem Mix)
05. Knightvision vs Wedlock – Wayz Of The Core (Teaching)
06. DJ Weirdo & Dr. Phil Omanski – One Tribes Jam (Original 1998 Promo Remix)
07. Neophyte vs Stunned guys – Army Of Hardcore
08. Art of Fighters – Party Starter