Watchtower Vo. 3 is finally emerging Rip Van Winkle-like from schedule stasis, with two CDs of high quality freeform and NRG. For TYFTH purposes the best news is the appearance of two brilliant Japanese tracks in Guld’s remix of Hatral and Le Dos-on’s Chemical Wash, but there’s also a very strong Finnish showing from Alek Szahala, Alchemiist, Grimsoul, Substanced, and Epyx & Cyrez / Tyranoid & Strongstream. Throw in some great tracks from Qygen and Aryx, and there’s a lot of material here for our side of the freeform spectrum, plus the expected new releases from Transcend, Lost Soul et al. A must buy, then, and preorders are already open on the Watchtower site, with the release a few days away.
I had a pleasant surprise the other week when I noticed my Lucky Lotus set included as one of the mixes of the week on New Zealand’s Rinsed Radio Podcast. The other selection was Alchemiist’s Lucky Lotus mix (very well worth checking out, if you haven’t already), so I was definitely in good company.
The whole podcast is very recommended, as after two 30-minute segments of the guest sets, host DJ Orphic plays an hour or so of quality freeform, most of it from Smiling Corpse’s latest release. Big thanks once again to Orphic for the support, and plenty of respect for pushing our sound in that corner of the world.
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]
Probably about time for a quick note on my Lucky Lotus set, broadcast a few weeks ago and now up on the FINRG SoundCloud.
I actually put a lot of effort into this one, and hoped to follow up my old (and very melodic) LL mix with something a bit darker. In the end I decided on a dark first half, before a psychedelic midsection and a slightly lighter finale – I’m (occasionally) working on a special set for TYFTH at the moment which’ll be heavy on the melancholy, and so I wanted to keep things energetic this time around.
As is usual these days, you’ll notice that most of the tracks are very old, and even one or two of the connections might be familiar-ish if you’ve listened to some of the more ancient sets listed here. It wasn’t the plan from the outset to use so many oldies, but it’s of course hard to find a similar atmosphere in many modern tracks – it’s a nice feeling to be so familiar with a lot of these tunes, and hopefully that’s reflected in some fairly interesting connections and a flow I’m very happy with.
edit: To add something a bit more informative, a really important part of the first half was Superstition – I’ve always wanted to use it in a set, and the track actually changes key after the intro, which is incredibly useful if you’re going for a smooth sequence of tunes. Pink Magic is another Alek track that does something similar.
I was actually quite pleased with the next part too – I’m not the first or last to try to connect a few psychedelic tracks to Supriya, but this was my best attempt so far, and I really like the progression to Le Dos-on’s Mezame bootleg. Having melodically fumbled my way out of that section, I was looking forward to smoothly progressing things towards the finale. Sadly though, time restraints meant I couldn’t mess around with Mezame experiments for too long, and I decided to switch things up and lead into the Mediterranean Summer – Spatial Healing combination I’ve been sitting on for a while. A shame to let the momentum of the previous 45 minutes trickle away a bit, but there was the silver lining of using Rift in a set for the first time ever.
Apparently there was quite a positive response to the set during the broadcast, and once again a few new listeners seem to have checked out our brand of freeform as a result (if some sudden action on the TYFTH SoundCloud is anything to go by). That was the main objective of course, so huge thanks once again to the Lucky Lotus organisers for another chance to spread the word.
There were some brilliant freeform sets during last weekend’s Lucky Lotus, including this very TYFTH-friendly effort from Solvynt.
The tracklist alone should be enough to convince you, with plenty of harder melodic tunes, but there are some lovely connections that add some extra depth to the set. My personal favourite is the move from The Awakening to Darkside – a famously tricky tune to mix out from, here the combining filters and melodies are really excellent. The rest of the set is very well selected (including TYFTH’s Children), and already has me looking forward to the next Solvynt mix.
I’ll be posting on my own Lucky Lotus set sometime soon, but you can already check it out here.
Here’s a new release from Italian DJ/producer Technoid, a very good friend to TYFTH for many years now. Relic is his debut album, and is phenomenal piece of work for anyone into electro-styled industrial and NRG.
Some of the tracks made me think of more recent Tyranoid/Strongstream tracks (a massive compliment in itself), and Technoid has managed that rare feat among new producers of nailing both the production quality and the melodies/atmosphere.
Available now on bandcamp, the whole album is really worth checking out. An amazing first release, and the prospect of some NRG (and even freeform) from him in the future is pretty exciting.
Better late than never – it’s time to finallly show some support to Blue Revolver, an extremely promising shmup that features an OST from Qygen and sound design from Wyrm.
The developers reference CAVE and Raizing in their opening comments, and there’s definitely a strong influence of mid-era CAVE in the bullet patterns and weapon choices. Thank the heavens that character design and overall atmosphere don’t stray into the cringeworthy territory of later CAVE efforts, while the demo shows some pleasing depth to the scoring system and a quality first boss.
The choice of Qygen on music duty is inspired, and there are already some fabulous tracks on show in the game and on Qygen’s SoundCloud. Very freeform-esque, this will surely be the best use of harder music in a shmup since Raizing’s Battle Garegga. Big congratulations to both Qygen and Wyrm for some amazing work so far.
I’ve only had a little time to play around with the one-level demo (available here), but apparently the game has already been Greenlit on Steam, and I’ll be spending plenty of time with it on release.
Funnily enough I was intending to write a little VGM-related digression post soon, but for now I’ll just mention Recca (Famicom) – one of my favourite shmups and released in 1992, the soundtrack is way, way ahead of its time.
A busy week has delayed a couple of other posts, but the release of Smiling Corpse 2 definitely deserves to jump the queue. Long-awaited is a bit of an understatement here – it probably won’t be too long until this two CD compilation sells out. Congratulations to the SC crew for finally completing the release, and the tracklist is really one of the strongest we’ve seen for a few years.
Trek over to the rather sexy new Smiling Corpse site, where you can order the release for a mere five pounds.
Time for today’s final post – the now-traditional look back at my favourite sets of 2014. I’ve actually checked out a lot of mixes this year (far more than you’ve seen here, in fact), but in all honesty it’s been a bit of a thin year for sets that really fit the increasingly-picky TYFTH bill.
As always, respect and thanks go to all the DJs supporting our little corner of the freeform scene. This year it has been especially nice to hear a number of well-constructed, ’emotional’ sets, a necessary counterbalance to the ferocious, melodic freeform we’ve heard a lot of in 2014.
My picks are below, but feel free to take to the comments with your own choices.
Shimotsukei – Hardcore Summer Bash 2014 Mix
Shimotsukei’s excellent set is the place to find this year’s best transitions, with some creative selection and very original use of some oldies. Other track choices might feel a little out of place, but the overall atmosphere and progression to the high-bpm second half is top class.
Nomic – Freeformaniacs Round 14
Following his superb efforts in 2013, Nomic goes to the next level by combining his deeper recent tracks with the harsh, angry sounds of the Nu-Energy and FINRG years. The master of melancholy and aggression strikes again then, and all as solidly-mixed as we’ve come to expect.
Hellfury – Shin No Noir IX – Soul Abyss
This set is a another lesson in how to maintain an atmosphere, as Hellfury combines psy and pianos for a beautifully consistent hour of thoughtful freeform. Crucially supported by some quality track connections, this was my favourite set of the year.
Honourable mentions: Guld, Pearsall, Cuedy, Dyzphazia
Well that’s it – thanks as always to everyone for the support in 2014, it’s massively appreciated. The first post of 2015 will be a roundup of the Japanese scene’s favourite tracks, but the main event in January will definitely be the announcement of major (I repeat, major) changes to TYFTH. Have a Happy New Year then, and I’ll see you next month.
This upcoming (29th December) collaboration release between Lucky Lotus and Touitsu Recordings is going all-out for variety, with everything from goa to dubstep, via twee Japanese vocals and gabber. Freeform’s what we’re here for though, and across the three releases (‘Day One’ is up above) there are top quality tracks from Nomic, Evolutionize and an interesting effort from Harrs.