Goa / Psy

Bad news first – there’s no freeform here, or the high bpm psy/goa influenced stormers we’ve heard before from Synesthesics’ alias, Mellow Sonic. Instead Transcending Consciousness is a phenomenal album of atmospherics that draws on some similar elements, and should have at least something of interest for many Horsers.

Starting with the clearest Psychokinesis influences, then, Celestial is my favourite of the goa/psy-styled tracks. Somewhere around 150bpm, it’s a lovely, deep acid track that inevitably had me wishing for more of the freeform that I fell in love with last time around. These are great tracks though, living up to their sci-fi styling to such a degree that they’d probably be tough to mix with the majority of goa. Adding some depth to a psytrance set could be where they’d shine, but what would I know about that?

The album’s title track could well be my favourite, some superb breaks that easily match Alek Szahala’s experiments along these lines. One of those genres I’d like to get more into, but it would have to be up to this quality for me to take interest. Proper melancholy cyberpunk atmospheres here, I think it’s fantastic.

The second half of the album is the highest standard of drum and bass production I’ve yet heard from Synesthesics, and even if it’s not my preferred genre some similar atmospheres are continued here. I’m no expert on more sci-fi styled drum and bass, but this is excellent stuff that gave me older Black Sun Empire feelings in places.

The wait continues for more Mellow Sonic freeform, but this is an inspiring mix of styles to enjoy in the meantime, and comes highly recommended.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by for the last stream – seems like this one caught some interest and there was a decent-sized group listening live, especially given the last-minute promotion. Listening back I’m pleasantly surprised by how well the set works, so this one has also gone up on the TYFTH SoundCloud. There’s a much bigger audience over there, for what turned out to be a nice ‘beginner’s set’ with plenty of newer tracks.

The initial idea was to build the whole thing around more melodic freeform, but it also ended up feeling a lot like one of my old school sets. They tended to mix up melodies and nastier tracks a lot more than I do these days, and it was quite refreshing to rattle through a new generation of tracks in that style. The Exit 133 – No Choice At All transition is one I’ve been sitting on for a while, tweaked a bit here but still a very welcoming combination that leads into the faster-feeling modern tracks. polaritia’s tracks were my go-to when I realised that I didn’t want things to head into ‘happy freeform’ territory – maybe it was mixing muscle memory that transformed the set into something I might have played at Hell’s Gate all those years ago.

Cannibal Girl was as fun to use as expected, and I have a feeling that it could become the Hellfire of the current era – very flexible and able to switch up the atmosphere of almost any set. Less planned was the choice of Rise From The Darkness, as I actually bought the track an hour before the start of the stream. I’d been scrambling for something to link with Facemelt, so that along with the breakdown’s nod back to Cannibal Girl made it a good choice.

The set was supposed to end with Zafkiel, but I was having such a good time I thought to carry on a little longer. SIBYL was a nod to Kokomochi in the stream chat, as it’s by far my favourite of his tracks, followed by Substanced’s remix of Cyclone. I’m yet to find a really good transition for it, which meant I didn’t feel quite so bad shoehorning it into the ‘encore’ slot.

There are still a fair few tracks on the more melodic side that I’d like to play, so it might not be a bad idea to switch things up with another set in this style before too long.

 

That’s the TYFTH definition of ‘new,’ of course, so there’ll probably be plenty here you’ve seen before. Either way, I had a lot of catching up to do after summer and these are some of the tracks that have caught my eye since.

Last start with an obvious one – Risa & polaritia’s Raise Your Hands. Great to see it appearing on FINRG, this is a lovely NRG track with a little something different added by polaritia. Really nice sounds in this one, but be aware that it’s very much at NRG bpm. The full version can be found on beatport.

Risa and polaritia also appear on Genkai Records 15, another ambitious multi-genre compilation. Must admit I’m dubious how many people will be keen enough on every genre to go for the entire release, but praise be for the bandcamp option of picking up individual tracks. Risa’s S.O.S. is as solid an NRG track as you’d expect, while Multiverse Glitch is a superb freeform effort that’s up there with my favourites from polaritia. On the downside I’m really not a fan of the mastering on the track, as there are some pretty piercing highs and an overall treatment that doesn’t work well with the grittier oldies or the unbelievably clean job done on many new freeform tunes.

Next up isn’t a release, strictly speaking, as exemia’s CultistKiller is one of a group of tracks that might appear on a future album. Partly made with a Gameboy DMG, this is an absolutely brilliant track and one of my favourites of the whole year. Expect loud announcements of any release here, as and when.

Finally for now is a quality step off the beaten path for Transcend in the first release on his new label, Glowmind. This collab with Freedom almost sounds like something that could have appeared on Kreatrix back in the day, and also reminds me of classics like Kinky. Although early mixing practice with this one has been pretty challenging thanks to the oddly feeble kick and bass in the first half, I’m sure this would sound fantastic in the right set. The full release is on the Glowmind bandcamp.

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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Here’s one of the main reasons it’s been a bit quiet around here recently – fitting a set around Other Things these days isn’t always easy. No way I was going to turn down a chance to contribute to the FINRG podcast series though, so here’s my first full freeform set since the In Praise of Shadows mix.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how it wasn’t only the dark, melancholy atmospheres of freeform that initially attracted me, but also a strangeness that I hadn’t really heard anywhere else. Play tracks like that in a club setting and you have the other-wordly atmosphere of NRGetic Romancer, of course, and so this set was an attempt to capture some of that with a tracklist of slightly less common tunes. The key was to avoid throwing in unusual tracks for the sake of it, as well as putting the usual effort in to construct a cohesive whole.

To that end I built the set around three main sections, resisting some old, obvious transitions in favour of keeping things headed in the direction I wanted. Hence the use of Twisted Freq early on, and a pretty basic introduction of Godd, for example. I wasn’t desperate to use promos here, but it turned out that GULD’s little-heard City of Solitude remix and Re-form’s Intro both fitted in nicely. Alabaster’s Awakening remix is still under construction, but this is the latest version and not too far from completion (and used with permission, obviously).

The 2023 remix was supposed to mark the big finale, which is probably my favourite part of the set. I’m quite pleased with the shift in atmosphere from there to Blackmailer, then into the Alek-Mellow Sonic combo. Those two beautiful breaks threaten to bring a tear to the eye every time, and I was hoping the contrast with the rest of the set would make them sound even better.

As always there are things I’d like to improve, but having already spent an outrageous amount of time planning this one the deadline was probably a good thing. Hope everyone enjoys it!

Yet more release announcements, this time for the huge, freeform-only Lucky Lotus compilation, Before the Dawn. I can’t the only one who’s been hoping for something like from LL for a while now, and this is a high quality cross-faded preview. Also an impressive tracklist, with some veterans anchoring things in amongst the new faces and a lot of Japanese representation. I haven’t heard the full tracks yet, but going on this preview and others I’ve heard Kounta Kulture’s Cannibal Girl might be the most immediately promising. Definitely looking forward to a leisurely listen of the whole release, though.

The other good news is that the compilation will be released in little over a week via the LL bandcamp – the official date is 10th March.

As I’m danger of falling behind recent big announcements I’ll break with tradition and catch up with a few of the main ones in a single post. Good training for the hopefully regular appearance of some longer writing on the site this year, too.

Heading the post is the opening track from Proteus’ upcoming artist album. Rather than NRG or anything like it, instead this sounds very much like something that could have appeared on Platipus back in the day, which is of course high praise. The second track, Gute Nacht has also gone online and shows a more familiar darker style – if the previews maintain this standard then it’s going to be quite the release. Plus there’ll surely be some older-school, pacier tracks in there somewhere.

Possibly the biggest freeform announcement is the recent release of Future_Proof Sounds’ second compilation, a strong collection of tracks with Japanese representation from Hyphen and Kokomochi. Kokomochi’s If Not Machine has shades of ikaruga_nex and is a fine follow-up to Iron Sky.

We’ve also got another label entering the scene in the form of Skeny Tracks – it might lean towards melodic freeform and UK hardcore but the first release Retrofuture features a really impressive selection of newer artists from around the scene. Hyphen’s here of course, but watch out too for Sanaas’ Beastout.

Finally for now is an excellent hour of mixed tracks from BRK. Featuring a full tracklist of his own material plus a solitary remix, this is quality stuff and another clear step up for his productions. The collab tracks with GULD and NEON give the set some welcome variety, while Kaos Lodge is one of his strongest tracks for some time and a well-chosen finale.

If you’re keeping up on your goa releases you’ll know that Terraformer appeared about six months ago on Russian label Global Sect. There was a bit of a mixup with my order that has since been very smoothly sorted out by Adept, so it’s finally time to give it some space on TYFTH.

Global Sect continue to go the extra mile with the design and visuals of their releases, and while the spacey theme isn’t as strong as the more organic Mystery of Crystal Worlds the 4 CD physical version is still an incredible sight to behold. Although I might have been right to wonder if there was really enough top-level goa floating around at the moment for such a huge release, there’s a nice variety going on here with some more quality curation giving each CD a strong identity.

CD 1 is as good a start as you could possibly hope for, with a fine selection of Russian tracks joined by Mindsphere’s fabulous Enchanted Land. Alienapia’s Are You Mad? is a nice return to form, but The Essence of Bhagavat-Ghita is yet another excellent track from Psy-H Project and probably my favourite of the CD.

The second CD is more experimental with fewer heavyweight artists, but also as a pretty consistent sound that works in its favour. Edge of Infinity is about the oddest with its piano and guitars, while my favourite might be Clementz’ Conquer the Universe.

CD 3 is more uplifting and features some very strong tracks. Mindsphere’s Hidden Death is one to look out for, as well as the obvious choice of Gaura Nitay. Of the more uplifting tunes I most enjoy Raving Universe’s Ascension, but there’s plenty of quality from Zopmanika, Fiery Dawn, and Artifact303.

The final CD is entirely downtempo, maybe to follow the success of Artifact303’s outro to Mystery of Crystal Worlds. There are some lovely atmospheres here, but Liquid Flow’s Even Horizon sounds suspiciously like a typical goa track with the bpm bumped down a bit…there’s more to most downtempo tracks than that, it turns out. This was the first time to hear Fiery Dawn’s slower work, and the acid lines really do a fine job at this speed.

The absence of E-Mantra aside, this is clearly a very impressive release. Global Sect deserve support for these huge projects, and with something here for almost any goa fan there’s really no excuse not to.