Thought you knew Nomic’s back catalogue pretty well, did you? A rude awakening awaits, as Shimotsukei has gone delving into the obscure and beautiful for another must-listen of a set.
This set very wisely takes a different approach than Nomic’s own live PAs and mixes, with older, experimental tracks heavily represented alongside some classics. With such a huge selection to choose from it’s a shame the set doesn’t go for as many melodic transitions as I was hoping for*, but the tracklist is fabulous and it most definitely has its quality combination moments.
With any other freeform artist you might complain at Leijonakuningas opening things and sticking around for a good 5 minutes or so, but for Nomic it sets the tone perfectly – you know that this is going to be something out of the ordinary. The excellent edit of Human Race follows, introducing a long sequence of trademark orchestral tracks that (utterly great though they are) don’t really have the power to be heard through club PAs very often these days.
Towards halfway is where the set comes into its own, I think – the combination of Etkö ymmärrä and Guardian Spirit is a real winner, before the bpm really starts picking up for the final third. The Black Cage is a fantastic track that I haven’t even heard before, while This Is The New Shit into Painajaiskarkoittaja is as good a use of two of my favourites as you’ll find anywhere (assuming you can find anyone else playing them, that is).
The final section from Battle of Dawn is the side of Nomic we rarely hear, but is a totally fitting finish for a top class set that manages something pretty special – covering all of Nomic’s trademark sounds but steering clear of too many anthems.
* I’ve since discovered that this was an improvised set streamed live, making it even more impressive.
Qygen’s not the only one going in interesting directions with freeform this year – one of the best releases of 2016 so far has now arrived, courtesy of Exemia.
Released earlier this month, Synthform is a pitch-perfect take on synthwave-as-freeform that really does sound like something new. The best frame of reference for us is probably Byproduct, but here with a harder edge that shows Exemia’s experience in the freeform scene. The addition of a mighty impressive Hyphen remix also means that this could be another Blue Revolver-esque gateway into the wider genre for new listeners.
My favourites so far are Defend the Bass and Digital Blizzard, but the whole album is top class and more than warrants a physical release. Instead it’s available on Bandcamp for free, but Exemia’s work deserves a lot more support than that and naming your price is surely the way to go for music of this quality.
Some news aimed at the based-in-Japan crowd here – as part of my efforts to broaden the audience for In Praise of Shadows I’m very pleased to say that the album has been on sale at Shibuya’s Guhroovy for a couple of days now.
TYFTH’s online store handling payments via PayPal is a bit of a problem in Japan, as it still doesn’t have much of a presence here. This has meant that the Japan crew have been at a disadvantage up to now and I’ve been hoping to give them some other options – it explains the very healthy sales on the first day at CODEX, but now anyone who missed that has this avenue.
It’s also a biggie for another reason, as having the label’s first release on the shelves of a music store is a pretty decent milestone – the fact that it’s Guhroovy makes it even better, as it comes almost exactly 10 years after I placed an order there (from the UK) for Khaotic Dimension. How far we’ve come, eh?
On that note, if you’re outside Japan then for goodness’ sake don’t order though Guhroovy, as the stock is fairly limited and getting the album from the TYFTH store is far cheaper thanks to the (in hindsight perhaps too generous) free postage worldwide.
There aren’t as many Alek Szahala-only sets kicking around as you’d expect, so this 80 minute mix from Midas was a very pleasant surprise. The tracklist is an especially interesting one that sets off from an unusual starting point, runs through some darker classics, and ends on some faster darker classics.
You could hardly ask for better, and that unusual opening (starting with Lagash 2012) features some really brilliant transitions – Astraia and Avalanche were made for each other at this bpm, and Heaven & Hell is a great choice. Very nice to see Noitavasara in there (a tune I’ve been trying to use for the past year or so), while Hydra is yet another excellent, surprising selection. After the bpm has crept up this high, then why not finish with the traditional Xochitlan?
This set came to soon for any chance of Enuma Elish, but that aside, a quality tracklist and rock-solid mixing in typical Midas style make it very highly recommended.
An interesting take on the dark/melancholy formula here, in a set from DJ Danny Stokes. Recorded a few years ago, the set is anchored around a few heavily pitched up Lab 4 tracks – this might be a deal breaker for some, but it’s this and the surprising combo of Nu-Energy with darker tracks that are the noteable elements here.
Although personally I could do without tracks like Kevin Energy’s remix of Lumi, it’s tracklists like these that show the potential of coaxing more UK freeform-centric DJs towards the FINRG, EE, Kreatrix and (wait for it) TYFTH side of things. As an example, CLSM’s Revolution remix works brilliantly here as a link between Lab 4, with Adaption making perfect sense as a follow-up.
It’s thought-provoking stuff, before the second half of the set switches into a nicely mixed selection of old favourites. I have my own thoughts on how the TYFTH flavour of NRG and freeform can reach wider audiences, but sets like these (and Thumpa’s, obviously) show a another possible, optimistic attack vector on the less grimdark corners of the freeform world.
I mentioned this here and there last week, but I’d like to give Gabriel Wigren’s work another hat tip on TYFTH itself. He’s of course the artist behind In Praise of Shadows’ cover art, which should be reason enough for you to check out the rest of his portfolio posthaste.
The end result speaks for itself, but regardless lets do some speaking – the whole process was never less than incredibly professional, and with only my concept for the album and a few representative tracks (this was back in 2014, so before any of the In Praise of Shadows tracks were ready) Gabriel did an unbelievable job of visualising it all.
Whether you’re in the market for a commission yourself or just want to enjoy some dark, beautiful atmospheres, Gabriel’s devianart is very special indeed, and couldn’t come more highly recommended.
Slightly belated notice of a new(ish) set from me and Shimotsukei that went online recently and was part of Lucky Lotus 6 back in June. We decided to make things more interesting than the usual ‘one half each’ setup and try a more aunthentic back to back, alternating every few tracks. It all came together far easier than I was expecting, and there are a fair number of rarer/unreleased tunes amongst the classics.
Big thanks of course to Lucky Lotus and Shimotsukei for such a nice opportunity to take on something different, and I hope we’ll have a chance to give this another try in the future. Tracklist is below, and the set is downloadable on the FINRG SoundCloud.
01. Tyranoid vs Strongstream – Spice／Epice
02. Epyx & Cyrez – Game Over (Tyranoid/Strongstream Remix)
03. Epilim – Rapid Fire
04. Carbon Based & DJ Rx – Reptile
05. Pain On Creation & Fea – Unconsciousness
06. Epyx & Cyrez vs Fea – Untitled 4 Evah (Unfinished edit)
07. Nomic – Neptune
08. Alabaster – Galaxy
09. Re-form – Cyanide
10. Epyx & Cyrez – Neverlasting
11. Le Dos-on – Rising Sun
12. Proteus – Venla
13. DJ RX – Hellfire
14. A+D+A+M Lab4 – Psychopath
15. GULD – Hannya 2
16. VICE TEK HEAVY INDUSTRY – 3M3SIS
17. Betwixt & Between – Matsukin (Remix)
18. Nomic – Mutantit
Just realised that I gave a post-release update on Facebook but not here – mainly it’s to thank everyone for the support so far, and to let you know what’s been going on in the days since.
The release at CODEX was a big success, and from the first few minutes the online store went live there have been orders from all over the world. The FB announcement was to let people know that I made the first round of deliveries on Monday and Tuesday, but since then there have been plenty more and they’ll probably be sent out tomorrow.
Really heartfelt thanks to everyone for supporting and promoting the release, it gives me hope that there’s still an audience for our music and the potential for growth is definitely there. I’m hoping to get on the case with advertising more widely in other scenes, and there might need to be some alternative ways to buy the album for people in Japan, so stay tuned for that.
As an aside, I forgot how bad I am at packing anything, so apologies in advance for some over-enthusiastic efforts that might require a chainsaw to get through…
I’m in the midst of Codex prep right now, but just time for a quick note to announce the release of In Praise of Shadows. I’ll be out for the day, but the store is now active and I’ll be keeping an eye on things as soon as I get back. Any issues or questions, please let me know!
In Praise of Shadows finally has a release date, and it’s the day after tomorrow – you will be able to order the compilation on Saturday, or head along to CODEX where you’ll be able to pick up a copy on the day. Orders placed online will be sent out asap – probably the following day, depending on the response.
The compilation will cost a fairly standard 1500 yen, but some good news is that postage will be free (or absorbed within the cost of the CD, whichever way you want to look at it) and will take 6-8 days to most countries via airmail. I’ll have a simple guide to the ordering process over on the Music page, but of course feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions. The online store side of things is another expedition into uncharted territory, but I’ll be doing my best to make things as smooth as possible.
I’ll be promoting the release in all the usual places, but as time always seems to be short these days some word-spreading from the Horsers would also be really appreciated. How about thoughts on music sites etc. that might be interested in reviewing the album? I have a couple of places in mind, but I’m open to suggestions.
Apologies again for the silence here lately, but it was for a good cause – and hopefully things will pick up again after this weekend.