Finnish

With barely 120 SoundCloud listens so far, Melancholia’s rather special Lucky Lotus set remains slept on by too many. Whether a post on the dusty pages of TYFTH will make much difference is doubtful, but either way I’d like to pay proper tribute to one of the finest sets I’ve heard for years.

Although I’ve been familiar with Melancholia’s sample-heavy mixing style for quite a while, this time around the tracklist couldn’t get much closer to the TYFTH ideal. Add in to that some pretty inspiring mixing, and you’ll understand why I was so excited about this one.

Self Extortion is obviously a good start (with bonus points for some great work on the intro), and one that gets even better thanks to an impressive harmonic mix into Aurora. That super smooth Sylph into Byrgius transition is a standout, while the way Eternity Has Passed mixes in next, underneath Byrgius’ filters, is a sign of Melancholia’s technical flexibility. A combination that could have sounded very messy is instead nicely aggressive, with some voice samples papering over any of the gaps that are left.

You’ll notice a lot of trademark sample usage here and there, including some fantastic use of the Self Extortion vocals. Others are less effective to my ears – Aryx’s melancholy breakdowns are probably vocal-less for reason, after all, but on the whole they’re both well selected and well timed. There’s generally a nice line being walked between the po-faced samples you often hear in Finnish tracks and the nudge-and-a-wink semi-comedy style of some UK freeform (‘At ease, listen up!’ is one of my favourites here).

Hearing Eternity Has Passed at 175ish makes me realise how much I like it, and it’s probably somewhere in my top 5 Betwixt tunes when played at this speed. It’s a reminder of how, when Betwixt was really feeling the inspiration, even Nomic or Alek would struggle to match him. What I’d give to hear a modern freeform bootleg or two.

The samples appear again as the set moves into Axiomatic System, giving some listening landmarks that are so effective that I might do some experimenting of my own in this style. As for Lost Soul, I’ve surely lamented before that there are an awful lot of tracks that have some fantastic moments but never quite live up to the atmosphere I’m expecting. Here Melancholia’s solution is to combine an effective snippet of the track with the ever-reliable Iron Squid. Ephexis’ Destination Entheogen remix is right up there with their best, and here makes for a surprising but effective finale. With the shortened use of Axiomatic System I’d prefer DE to be given more time – as the first four tracks had longer play it would help greatly with the flow of the second half of the set. That’s tricky to balance in a 22-minute mix though, and a minor weak spot in a massively impressive piece of work.

I’m biased thanks to the track selection, but this would still be a must-listen thanks to the technical quality on show. If you’ve been feeling a bit stuck in a mixing rut then this could well give you some new ideas, and those non-DJs who stick to listening will probably end up making this their TYFTH-style go-to for a long while.

01. Betwixt & Between – Self Extortion
02. Aryx – Aurora
03. Aryx – Sylph
04. Aryx & Alek Száhala – Byrgius
05. Betwixt & Between – Eternity Has Passed
06. Lost Soul – Axiomatic System
07. Alek Száhala – Iron Squid
08. Alias A.K.A. & Johan Floss – Destination Entheogen (Ephexis Remix)

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 – Ngarnuuk
12. Alek Szahala – Vengeance
13. Alek Szahala – Icy Clouds
14. 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.

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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Some housekeeping for the comeback post, as In Praise of Shadows is available again via the bigcartel page. Of course it was offline for a while during my Europe wanderings so that potential orders weren’t on hold for a month and a bit, rather than having sold out. Although the compilation has sold repectably by recent (or 2016) standards, the print run was closer to 2007 golden era numbers, meaning there’s plenty of stock left. That also means, sadly, that there’s a long way to go before costs are recouped, but as a labour of love I’m not so worried about that part. Financially idiotic or not, I’m glad to have kept the quality bar very high for all aspects of the release.

Anyway, I thought I’d also use this post to say a massive thank you to everyone who has ordered so far. Even this year there has been a small but pretty steady flow of orders, which is especially amazing considering my lack of action here or promotion elsewhere. The compilation has now found its way to 18 countries, and I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to imagine it being played around the world. A second release might only be wishful thinking at the moment, but keeping the TYFTH sound alive in some form or another is I hope a decent way to start repaying you for the support so far.

Even with a lot of catching up to do after recent weeks this guest set for Hardcore Junglists United by Shimotsukei has remained top of the to-post pile. Definitely the best I’ve heard from her in a long time, this is one of those sets that was obviously a labour of love and manages to bring together just about all of my favourite freeform elements.

I’d roughly divide the set into three sections, as things start with a very aggressive and genuinely dark opening, followed by some more melodic, uplifting tracks and a finale that makes a decent fist of blending all the previous styles. That opening is quite the thing though, setting a tone that Shimotsukei does a quality job of never straying too far away from. The mixing throughout is excellent, very rarely overdoing things and keeping it simple when longer transitions wouldn’t really work out.

If you can ride the wave successfully, mixing the aggressive filters of two different tracks does wonders for the atmosphere and can give a lot of flexibility in terms of which tracks you use. That proves to be true here at least, with combos like Kadotettu Todellisuus 2009 and Fear Myself working out incredibly well – other highlights might be Adversary – Reign of Terror, and Attacker – Daemons, even coming from a listener who usually struggles to get into Lost Soul’s tracks.

There’s a lot more going on here though, including a fine section of Tyranoid/Strongstream transitions and the mid-set use of Raindrops. It hasn’t shown up in a mix for a very long time, but Nightforce’s melancholy breakdown is a lovely choice as a set centrepiece. Personally I might have slightly shortened the melodic section pre-Attacker, but that’s present-day PD speaking and for many I expect it’ll be a nice break from all the aggression. Even having said that, the limited use of vintage Substanced and only one Transcend track shows that Shimotsukei was clearly going for an atmosphere that wasn’t stretched by too many different styles of melody. Really impressive stuff.

The lack of Alek/Nomic/Betwixt means it isn’t quite the grand tour of the scene you might be expecting in two hours – instead it’s a simply superb set that flows as well as any I’ve heard this year or last.

Almost perfect timing for a comeback post, what with 16 Years of FINRG clips appearing daily and the release set for the 25th of this month. Thanks to the FINRG grapevine I knew this compilation was in the works, but lost track of things since the initial murmurings and am as much in the dark as everyone else re. the remaining previews.

Such a strong lineup suggests there is still plenty to look forward to, as the tracks so far are keeping standards very high indeed. There’s also a good range, leaning towards uplifting sounds with a welcome strain of FINRG nastiness. Alchemiist’s Cybernetics might be the best example of that so far, while the return of Cyrez with the excellent Downshifter is my overall favourite at the time of writing. Another very welcome return to production comes from JNKS – The Game Needs Me sounds like a really impressive mixing of his DJing influences.

Notable of course to have such strong Japanese representation from Hyphen, Kokomochi and polaritia – after probably contributing the strongest track to Lucky Lotus’ Before The Dawn I’m excited to see what polaritia’s come up with this time.