And so it finally begins – I’ll be sharing anĀ In Praise of Shadows track preview each day for the rest of this week and into the next, beginning with Proteus’ Monochrome. As the earlier master of this track will be familar to most of you, today’s post will also introduce TYFTH’s new logo and a preview of the artwork.

Unfortunately the blog still isn’t ready for the cosmetic surgery needed to really do the art justice, so instead I’ll point you towards SoundCloud, Facebook and Twitter, where there’s now some unified brand-identity action going on.

The backgrounds show off a small part of In Praise of Shadows’ cover, but seeing the entire image is something else altogether. To say it nails the atmosphere I was hoping for is an understatement – you can almost hear the music just by looking at it.

I’m also enormously happy with the logo. It has the balance of aggression, moodiness and slight delicacy that I was hoping for, and despite being effective wherever it’s placed, also manages to look like it was designed specifically for this release.

TYFTH still takes priority, but I’ll be adding plenty of info to the new Facebook page in the near future (not least the release date and ordering links). I’ll also be more active on the label Twitter account, as it could be a nice supplement to the blog if life continues to be as hectic as it has been recently. Please feel more than free to share posts and links with whoever you think might (or might not, come to think of it) be interested.

Finally, back to Monochrome – I could hardly have asked for a better prologue to the album, especially as I’ve been talking with a few people recently about how NRG and freeform could potentially grab all kinds of new audiences with the occasional drop in bpm (similar thoughts led to my Dark Alternative set a while back). Dark and beautiful, it’s just the kind of track I was hoping for when I first pitched the project to Proteus, and this improved master really does it justice.

As always, don’t hold back with the feedback, thoughts and suggestions – thanks again for your patience, and I’ll be back tomorrow with the second of the track previews.

There’s a small heap of posts at the moment that are either half-written or on the to-do list, but right now what’s most pressing is In Praise of Shadows news. Obviously delays have struck again, this time at the last possible moment before the CD manufacturing – it’s hard not to feel the frustration as deadlines merrily come and go, but these experiences will definitely stand me in good stead should a second release ever happen.

Either way, the final product is almost certainly going to be worth the wait. It’s already feeling very unified, from the art and graphics to the tracks themselves, and I’m even satisfied with CD2’s mix – it has been a regular commuting soundtrack since February, probably a sign that it’s one of my better efforts over the past couple of years.

Of more interest to everyone will be the unmixed tracks, and to finally make things more public I’ve decided to start uploading previews from this weekend. Starting tomorrow, I’ll add a track each day, giving you a chance to check each one out while we wait. At the end of that process I’m pretty confident that the album will be at, or close to, the manufacturing stage, and will then be available to order next month.

Most people will already know that the first track is Proteus’ Monochrome, but we’ve since decided on an improved master that honestly improves it a lot. The track structure itself is unchanged, so it might be nice to have track 2’s preview ready to hear tomorrow, as well.

Finally, to coincide with the previews there’ll be some logo action happening, incorporating a little preview of the album artwork. Hope that’s enough of a silver lining for now, and that everyone enjoys the Lucky Lotus set later today.

The schedules are all decided for this month’s HSB2015, and my set with Guld will be broadcast twice during an amazing looking sequence for the freeform brigade. We’ll be appearing at midnight on 24th July (BST) and again at 12:00 – 13:00 on the same day. JST will be 08:00 – 09:00 and 20:00 – 21:00 on the same day.

It’ll be worth tuning in early though, as the freeform starts with Thumpa, followed by Substanced, us, Dyzphazia, Cuedy, Nomic and Olly Addictive (!). Check the flyer here, while the Facebook event page is the in the same place it’s always been. All being well I’ll be lurking in the Happy Hardcore chat for the second sequence of the sets, and it’d be great to see some other Horsers there too.

Finally some news to reassure those saddened by the recent departures from the scene, in the shape of Twisted Freq, one of the founders of the dark freeform sound. Paradoxical Intentions looks to be his latest return to production, and this short preview shows very promising signs. No news of a release yet, but some new material of the quality of his Kreatrix heyday could be just what the scene needs right now.

Decion’s new mix is definitely worthy of a topic of its own – this is absolutely awesome stuff, with some excellent selections and very good mixing. The set is brutal Hard NRG, and is exactly the kind of thing that’s popular here at NRGetic Romancer or Hell’s Gate. I always think it’s hard to get a decent flow to a Hard NRG mix while keeping the interest up, but Decion’s done a great job here. Very much recommended!

1.Jon Bishop – Stalker
2.Twisted Psycho – Venom
3.DJ Rx – Hellfire (NARC Remix)
4.Random But Raw – Salty
5.NARC – 55 Calibre
6.Firefox – Oz
7.Twisted Psycho – Transformation
8.Random But Raw & Tekneak – Heavy Metal
9.James Nardi & Julian Dwyer – Evil Genius
10.Dramatik – City of Filth
11.Grady G – Afraid of the Dark
12.Key & JCK Vs. Darrell White – Get Down
13.Grady G – Maggots
14.Dramatik – Weapon of Choice
15.Twisted Psycho – Welcome to Oblivion

Download here (by clicking kuuntele, as usual)

I should have mentioned this by now, really – but here’s a ferocious new track from Belial (aka. dark freeform supremo Twisted Freq). Currently only listenable on the new MySpace page, Naughty by Hypnodisc is semi-drum & bassy hardcore/breakcore that marks a huge, but very promising change of direction. It’s a fine line between the perfect fusion track, and hardcore-style breaks that lose the pace of 4/4 tunes/lack the bass and sheer muscle of the hardest d&b tracks, but Belial certainly seems to be heading along the right lines here. After a few listens, the vocal has grown on me too, adding a pleasantly old-skool element to things.

Anyway, this tune would be terrifying in amongst a mix of more recent Kreatrix releases, and it’ll be really interesting to see how this new sound develops.



Incredibly, Guld has pulled out all the stops for the next NRGetic Romancer….he’s only gone and booked the most talented producer in the scene at the moment – simultaneously realising my long-held hope for an Alek Szahala/Betwixt & Between joint event. Upon first arriving at NRGetic Romancer last May, one of my first questions to Guld was whether booking Alek was a possibility. He had been trying for quite a while already, but was thwarted by Alek’s lack of time and the small matter of a few thousand miles, of course. This really is spectacular, then, and given the rarity of Alek’s appearances abroad (only the UK and Canada so far?), quite a coup for NRGetic Romancer. After the last event, I was quaintly hoping for similar numbers in February – I think that now Studio Cube will be as packed as it’s ever been, rivalling last August’s Proteus/Adam Lab 4/Guld event.

To say I’m looking forward to it would be the understatement of the year (it’s only just started, so I can get away with that, I think), as the reaction of the NRGetic Romancer crowd to Alek’s tracks is always special – a whole set could really make for the best NRG/Freeform event that has been seen in Tokyo for a long while.