Goa / Psy

Sharp-eared SoundCloud lurkers might remember that Qygen’s Supersonic Speed received a very smooth drum and bass remixing last year from Mellow Sonic. I listened to it at the time, but foolishly put off checking many of his other productions until now – thanks (as usual) go to Shimotsukei for giving me the necessary kick in the right direction.

It turns out that I’ve seen the light at just the right time, as three months ago Mellow Sonic’s Psychokinesis was released. No doubt about it, this is one of the most important albums of the year – and I know, in 2016 that’s saying a lot.

This isn’t a freeform-only release, mind, but it’s the way the freeform slots into this cyber-psychedelic, atmospheric collection of downtempo ambient, goa and psy that really made me pay attention. Even if it was just giving us a look at another potential-filled direction for freeform it would be a must-listen, but there are some blinding tunes in here that stand with the best of recent months.

Paradoxon is a very solid track with some nice, approachable melodies that benefit massively from the grindy leads and filtering, as well as the dark goa feel. Drum and bass breakdowns aren’t usually my favourites, but Mellow Sonic at least has the advantage of being an established dnb producer and it definitely doesn’t outstay its welcome.

Shifting Reality keeps the quality and tempo high, with a lovely structure and the best screaming leads since Pink Magic, while Blackout does all sorts of genre splicing tricks to excellent effect – I was expecting a fairly standard dnb-influenced semi-breakcore freeform track from the opening, but some goa-style sounds and deep breakdowns take it in really nice directions.

Psychokinesis, though, is where things get serious. A strong, freeform-styled intro leads into some glorious pads, and then the break. Featuring the depth of a drum and bass breakdown along with the earlier freeform elements, it somehow ends up sounding like something very new. Post-drop, the main melody is a winner – deceptively simple, it echoes some of the best emotional efforts of the FINRG classics, but surrounded by this new atmosphere it sends the track further into uncharted territory. This is what ‘deep’ freeform can (and should) sound like.

The intro and outro tracks are both downtempo, with Conspiracy in particular showing some E-Mantra-esque touches that I really enjoyed – as does Slipstream, even if the goa-influenced tracks don’t quite match the darkness and emotion of the rest of the album.

Whether or not Mellow Sonic was inspired by Qygen to take steps into freeform, Psychokinesis shows that in time he could make just as big, and unique, an impact. Let’s hope there’s more to come, but for now Psychokinesis is available on Mellow Sonic’s Bandcamp.

Something else I’ve been meaning to mention for a while is Psychic Formers, a new psy/freeform compilation, featuring the ever-present Hyphen and a lovely comeback track from ikaruga_nex.

Variety looks to be the goal here, and while there are also quality, high bpm tunes from Ata and polysha, the rest of the album takes a gentler stroll through some slow paced, melodic psy. This could be another chance for new listeners to join the scene, then, though the release is currently only announced for this year’s M3 event, taking place in Tokyo on Sunday.

I’ve been meaning to get this post online for a week or so, but now it’s especially timely – Cave/Raizing-inspired shmup Blue Revolver was released today (JST) on Steam, and is essential if you’ve even the slightest interest in the genre.

What should be of interest to all Horsers is the soundtrack, composed by Qygen and featuring remixes from the likes of Hyphen, Exemia and Blue Phoenix. In Praise of Shadows aside, Qygen’s work here is far and away the best freeform I’ve heard this year, and it’s really exciting to consider how many people could be exposed to his sound if this release does as well as it deserves to.

The top of this post is a recent episode of STG Weekly, featuring Blue Revolver and its developers. Although my shmupping has lapsed a bit over the past year, I’ve been back at Guwange and Crimson Clover recently and can’t wait to give BR a proper go.

Dark Dimension’s compilation will be released tonight, but some very nicely presented previews of all the tracks are up now on YouTube. TYFTH interest probably centres on Guld’s remixes – great to hear the tidied-up version of Lamento della Sirena, while his NRG version of Dryad Machine works really well, complete with Genshi Kurage-style chiptune interlude.

There’s a lot of other interesting stuff up there (especially if you’re a dark psy fan), so the other videos are very worth checking out. If I make it to the event tonight I’ll try to get some decent video – it has been a while, and definitely something I should do more often.

Following on from the last post, here’s the tracklist for the upcoming Dark Dimension compilation. Turns out that Guld will be contributing two tracks, his new remix of Dryad Machine and what’s hopefully a remastered version of the Lamento della Sirena remix.

I’m also looking forward to Evil Fairy and Suke’s tracks, and it looks like there’ll be some interesting industrial tracks from Takuya Angel, Sisen and MonSiii.

Dark Dimension has been doing a superb job over the past few years of supporting Tokyo’s darker music scenes, with everything from industrial to NRG featured at one time or another. Next month’s event is a special one though, marking the release of the first Dark Dimension CD release.

The full tracklist is still unannounced, but some of the biggest names to appear at DD will be on there, including Sisen, Takuya Angel, Satoshi Honjou and (until now) non-producing DJs such as Akira and Ray Trak. Most interesting for the TYFTH crew will probably be Guld’s track, and I’ll be sure to post again once more tracklist info shows up.

I’ll be getting the CD on the day, but for those outside Japan there’ll be a chance to buy it too – that is if you happen to be in Germany (Essen, specifically) on the 17th-18th October. Takuya Angel will be playing at the Astan Asia Days event, and will have some CDs for sale there.

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.