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.
While you’d be forgiven for thinking this latest TYFTH quiet spell is the terminal one, here’s a quick update to keep remaining readers in the loop and let you know about some plans for the rest of the year.
The recent absence has been partly enforced, and in a related move I decided to spend the summer outside Japan. What I hadn’t bargained for was the lack of wifi at any of my destinations – I haven’t been able to keep track of anything in the freeform world, while the TYFTH SoundCloud needs a renewal. At least before leaving I thought to change In Praise of Shadows’ status to ‘Coming Soon’ as a last-minute idea to stop orders coming in while I was away.
This time next week I’ll be back at TYFTH Towers, when those housekeeping bits and pieces will be sorted out. The site will also be waking up again, but depending on the amount of news I’ve missed there probably won’t be a flood of updates. One thing I had been thinking about pre-disappearance was that with so few TYFTH-esque tracks appearing these days there’s a chance the site will lean more towards a place to collect my own projects and TYFTH-centric information, at least for the time being.
The break has done me some good musically, I think, so all being well I’ll be back to tinkering with tracks and mixes very soon. At the very least there’ll be one mixed set to appear this year, and more if one of my related plans comes together. With more of a focus on TYFTH stuff there’s a higher likelihood of some longer posts showing up now and then, as well as some shorter updates on what I’m up to.
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.
There’s more Shimotsukei to talk about soon, but before that a quick mention of this three (!) hour NRG session that ticks plenty of the TYFTH boxes. Although there’s already an endless supply of recordings on Shimotsukei’s SoundCloud, it really does add to the enjoyment of live sets when you can see what’s going on. Plus in this case there’s the very helpful overlay to answer any tracklist questions and a pretty lively chat that’s worth keeping an eye on.
If NRG’s your thing then this really is an essential listen – it’s very likely you’ll hear some forgotten classics as well as some more obscure selections. As things move into freeform territory it’s also a good chance for fellow DJs to check a few Before the Dawn tracks in a (well) mixed environment
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.
In Praise of Shadows had a couple of important last-minute double-checks before printing finally started, but all the signs are that it’ll be arriving at TYFTH Towers in the very near future.
In the meantime, the image above shows a little something extra that’ll be included with the album. T-shirts and more ambitious stuff would be great at some stage, but with such a strong logo and artwork a sticker seemed like a nice initial choice. We’re part of the way there, then, but I’ll hold off on deciding a release date until the CDs are actually here…
It turns out that Orphic’s excellent Freeformaniacs set was actually my second favourite of round 20 – a belated listen to Solvynt’s hour of NRG and freeform quickly sent it to the top of this batch of sets.
Frankly if you’re reading TYFTH (and you are), then this is sure to be a hugely enjoyable listen with many of our favourite tunes alongside some new and surprising tunes. Credit to Solvynt for doing a fine job with the atmosphere – consistently dark with enough variation and melody to keep things interesting. The mixing itself ranges from solid to really exciting (no clashing keys here, crucially), and my personal favourite was that quality switch from Desolated Dreams to Inquisition. The old faithful of Maruuk to Voices of Babylon is also in there, one I’ve used many a time myself.
This being Solvynt, you be right to expect some rare or unusual tracks, and to his huge credit they’re nicely incorporated into the set. The great use of This Moment as an intro sets this off in the right way, but listen out too for Guld’s LUCID and especially Nomic’s brand new Personal Hater.
Tracklist-wise, I don’t think I’ve seen a set so close to my own tastes for a long time, and I expect a lot of Horsers will feel the same way. Very highly recommended.
00. Anomic – This Moment [Unreleased] 01. HASE – 法界 [Khaotic Dimension] 02. DJ MANIK – LUCID (GULD remix) [Nrgetic Romancer] 03. Betwixt & Between – Self Extortion [Unreleased] 04. Epyx & Cyrez meets Heathen – All of Us [E&C Self-Released] 05. Nomic – Desolated Dreams [Unreleased] 06. Nemes & Blender – Inquisition (Blender remix) [Unreleased] 07. Alek Szahala – Maruuk [Finrg] 08. Alek Szahala – Voices of Babylon [Finrg] 09. Pain on Creation & Fea – Unconsciousness [Electronica Exposed] 11. Twisted Freq – Horsehead [Electronica Exposed] 12. Nomic – Personal Hater(preview) [Unreleased]
There’s something great going on at Freeform Will Never Die’s SoundCloud right now – a collecting together of a huge number of free releases from the labels that make up the scene, curating the best ones and making them handily available in one place.
The FINRG list of 25 tracks shows a really good ear for our kind of sound, and in fact even TYFTH was recently added to the collection. If you somehow missed out on our free tracks then be sure to take a look, and I’d wager there’ll be a few other free tunes on other labels that went under your radar until now.
Give FWND a SoundCloud follow as well, this kind of dedication deserves plenty of support.
The archived Epyx & Cyrez material continued the other day with the release of The Whisper on FINRG. Another collab with Heathen, this one doesn’t match the amazing All of Usbut definitely has its moments – the post-break melodies are classic E&C with some of the industrial heaviness Heathen was working on back then, and I love the little Re-form-esque stabs in the outro. It had me wishing for a few more filters, but otherwise a very solid tune for those 160bpm+ sets.
Not much seems to have been going on this month, so let’s change that with a cluster of older, unreleased Epyx & Cyrez tunes. The standout for me is Typhoon – if I recall correctly the project files went AWOL at the time, so denying the scene a full-quality version of one of E&C’s finest ‘nasty melodic’ tracks. This is definitely better than nothing though, giving us a listen of the glorious (and now, tragically, slightly old school) filtering and that beautiful second breakdown – one of my very favourite Epyx & Cyrez moments.
The other two tracks here are fine examples of E&C’s brand of NRG, with Desolation really hitting its stride after the breakdown and the thumping Make Him Pay impressing with a hint of the original Risk Addiction.
Also worth mentioning that All of Us, Epyx & Cyrez’s excellent collab with Heathen, is now available again via Cyrez’s SoundCloud.