Swedish

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 Us but 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.

Slowly getting around to some more Lucky Lotus sets, including this one from Shimotsukei that’s been a pretty regular listen for me over the past few weeks. Another Shimotsukei set that really effectively mixes freeform with a few other genres, this is definitely recommended if you’re after something out of the ordinary.

The first third is probably the most conventional, with some hard dance from Ultraform, Adam Lab 4 etc. keeping the melodies straightforward and danceable, before Mermaid signals some familar freeform. Look out for some classic tracks from Druggy’s Acid Rack, then a superb Betwixt & Between sequence of Broken Visage and Hydra.

This is without a doubt the best example so far of Shimotsukei incorporating demented dark psy into his sets, and the transition from Hydra into Breaking Point is very close to seamless. Such a smooth flow seems to make a crucial difference, as this time around I found myself buying into the change in atmosphere much more readily. There’s no let up as the set hurtles into the finale, but it’s a hugely enjoyable ride of the kind only Shimotsukei seems to be creating at the moment.

01. Modulate – Hard & Dirty (A.D.A.M. Lab4 Mix) [Infacted Recordings]
02. Ultraform – Music Is Movin’ [Ultraform Productions KB]
03. Ultraform – Sense Your Mind [Ultraform Productions KB]
04. Alek Száhala – Mermaid [FINRG]
05. Le Dos-on – Benetnasch [Solidbox Records]
06. Ark-Z – lunatic satelite [Druggy’s Acid RacK]
07. LV.4 – Angel dust [Druggy’s Acid RacK]
08. Betwixt & Between – Broken Visage [Cis-Trance/東方カーニバル]
09. Betwixt & Between – Hydra (Long Edit) [Hardcore Tano*C]
10. CinderVOMIT Ft Luuli – Breaking Point [Horrordelic]
11. Junxpunx – Ruten [Osom Music]
12. CinderVOMIT – Distorted Visual Depth Perception [Horrordelic]
13. Junxpunx – Neomeow [Osom Music]

PlasmaDancer – Together by Plasmadancer on Mixcloud

Seems like most of the posts that come to mind right now will take a while to write, and as there’s all sorts of other stuff I should be doing (Freeformaniacs next week, remember) things might be a bit quiet here.

For now here’s that intelligent drum and bass set I’ve been talking about – very similar to the ustream version, but with a few tweaks and now finally online at mixcloud. This was obviously something of a labour of love (my first ever full-length dnb mix, in fact), and while it has its problems I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Humour me, then, while I run through a few of the tracks and the thinking behind the set.

So Long happens to be one of my all time favourite tunes, but has always struck me as a hard one to mix. As a challenge I decided to use it first, but opening with those ever-wonderful melodies and amens gave me the perfect atmospheric, bitter-sweet base to work from. You’ll notice a couple of Future Loop Foundation tracks in the first half – I’d say he’s one of the most underrated artists in intelligent dnb, and is actually responsible for another big, big favourite, Discovery. I couldn’t fit it into this set, but I Want to Believe and Spirit Catcher both feature that deep, melodic FLF style that echoes some of the more thoughtful 1992-1994 hardcore and jungle.

That connection from Sensory Elements was one of the toughest in the set, as I’d decided early on that I wanted to ‘deepen up’ SE with some pads in the final section. Anyone who’s mixed this stuff knows that finding tunes in the same key is a rare thing indeed, but after plenty of work I was very satisfied with my choice of Spirit Catcher. Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that the sparseness of Sensory Elements arrives sooner in the set than I had planned – there was originally one more ‘pads and atmosphere’ track after IWtB, but it was just out of key enough for me to scrap it. Frankly I couldn’t face however long it was going to take to find a replacement, and lazily shunted everything else ‘up’ one place instead.

From halfway the problems with the stucture are a bit more obvious as the set meanders from one style to another, but I was glad to get in at least one PFM classic in The Mystics. Language of Love would have been the only ‘filler’ tune in the set, but I dispensed with the incredibly dull central section and just used the final third (which, helpfully, is pretty easy to mix). After things got a little too ‘realistic’ with LoL and Passage to India I wanted to get back to the spirit of the intelligent sound with the final four tracks. I think they work well, tied together by Shogun’s tracks and a very long transition between the In Too Deep remix and Jonny L’s beautiful Underwater Communication. As for Shogun himself, he was surely one of the finest producers of the time – Together brings back all sorts of memories while Nautilus is my final tribute to LTJ Bukem’s The Rebirth, the set that first inspired me to DJ.

Together is such a special track for me that I decided to fade out at that point. It’s a nice feeling to have finished my first set, 20 years after hearing these tunes – and after plenty of discogs trawling I now have more than enough material (including some rarer tracks) for another mix. That might happen eventually, but for now it’s back to 2014 and some more freeform set preparation.

A quick post here, to give a few recent mixes a well-deserved mention:

Cuedy – Freeformaniacs Round 15

Some trademark melodic freeform here from Cuedy – it might not match his best efforts from last year, but stick with the whole set for some predictably great connections.

 

Nemes – Freeformaniacs Round 15

A welcome return for a veteran of the Finnish scene. Nemes’ set doesn’t always mesh the old and new too comfortably, but the fabulous first half makes this one very worth checking out.

7Sins – Electronic Kingdom mix

Anyone who misses the Galrav/Orfeus style of twisted, melancholy DJ set will surely enjoy the first half of 7Sins’ mix, though there’s lots to like in the melodic second half, too.