Everyone’s familiar with Alias A.K.A., if not for his multi-genre productions of the past few years then definitely as Electronica Exposed’s main man, Shanty. I’ve been following Alias’ releases and mixes for a while and really should have mentioned them here, especially the fabulous Prime Suspect album.
Praise be, then, as the latest Freeform Remixes compilation takes on some of those darker tracks along with all sorts of other fun and games for a compilation of very big names. The majority of the artists lean towards UK freeform, but we also have some high quality deeper sounds on show. Nomic’s Regret remix is the big standout for me so far, but Wyrm and Sutr are a perfect fit to take on Nurgle, originally one of those excellent Prime Suspect dark trance tracks. The remix doesn’t quite hit the dark atmosphere of the original (it is named after the god of disease and decay, after all), but the second half of the clip shows a ton of promise – pacy, twisted and heading in a darker direction.
Following on from the release of Galaxy comes a new uploaded set from Alabaster, and actually (as Shimotsukei pointed out the other day) his first ever downloadable set. This one takes the form of a Live PA, something he has only done a couple of times at CODEX, showing off what a quality back catalogue he has built up over the years.
The set goes back as far as a release on Druggy’s Acid Rack and finishes in 2016 with Galaxy, including a few of my all-time favourites. Acid Maker, Oxyale, Iolite and both Rebuild tracks are all in here, as well as Void, a track I played at my very first Hell’s Gate. There’s a nice flow to the set as it heads towards the newer Rebuild/TYFTH releases, and it covers the full range of those distinctive Alabaster melodies – just staying the right side of ‘too uplifting’ and often heading into properly melancholy territory.
The other day I stumbled on this YouTube upload of a classic Carbon Based live set, unaware or forgetful that it has been on the FINRG SoundCloud for the past six years. It’s a great one though, so even if old news for you it’s certainly worth a revisit.
The lack of tracklist is a shame, what with the inclusion of a couple of still-unreleased tunes, but regardless it’s nice to have the chance to enjoy a full set of Carbon Based. There are some lovely tempo switches throughout, while the final combo of Anger Ball into Psychotherapy still does the business today.
edit: Thanks to Jambato for starting us off with a tracklist in the comments – I’ll add it here in case anyone can make some additions:
Thought you knew Nomic’s back catalogue pretty well, did you? A rude awakening awaits, as Shimotsukei has gone delving into the obscure and beautiful for another must-listen of a set.
This set very wisely takes a different approach than Nomic’s own live PAs and mixes, with older, experimental tracks heavily represented alongside some classics. With such a huge selection to choose from it’s a shame the set doesn’t go for as many melodic transitions as I was hoping for*, but the tracklist is fabulous and it most definitely has its quality combination moments.
With any other freeform artist you might complain at Leijonakuningas opening things and sticking around for a good 5 minutes or so, but for Nomic it sets the tone perfectly – you know that this is going to be something out of the ordinary. The excellent edit of Human Race follows, introducing a long sequence of trademark orchestral tracks that (utterly great though they are) don’t really have the power to be heard through club PAs very often these days.
Towards halfway is where the set comes into its own, I think – the combination of Etkö ymmärrä and Guardian Spirit is a real winner, before the bpm really starts picking up for the final third. The Black Cage is a fantastic track that I haven’t even heard before, while This Is The New Shit into Painajaiskarkoittaja is as good a use of two of my favourites as you’ll find anywhere (assuming you can find anyone else playing them, that is).
The final section from Battle of Dawn is the side of Nomic we rarely hear, but is a totally fitting finish for a top class set that manages something pretty special – covering all of Nomic’s trademark sounds but steering clear of too many anthems.
* I’ve since discovered that this was an improvised set streamed live, making it even more impressive.
Some news aimed at the based-in-Japan crowd here – as part of my efforts to broaden the audience for In Praise of Shadows I’m very pleased to say that the album has been on sale at Shibuya’s Guhroovy for a couple of days now.
TYFTH’s online store handling payments via PayPal is a bit of a problem in Japan, as it still doesn’t have much of a presence here. This has meant that the Japan crew have been at a disadvantage up to now and I’ve been hoping to give them some other options – it explains the very healthy sales on the first day at CODEX, but now anyone who missed that has this avenue.
It’s also a biggie for another reason, as having the label’s first release on the shelves of a music store is a pretty decent milestone – the fact that it’s Guhroovy makes it even better, as it comes almost exactly 10 years after I placed an order there (from the UK) for Khaotic Dimension. How far we’ve come, eh?
On that note, if you’re outside Japan then for goodness’ sake don’t order though Guhroovy, as the stock is fairly limited and getting the album from the TYFTH store is far cheaper thanks to the (in hindsight perhaps too generous) free postage worldwide.
There aren’t as many Alek Szahala-only sets kicking around as you’d expect, so this 80 minute mix from Midas was a very pleasant surprise. The tracklist is an especially interesting one that sets off from an unusual starting point, runs through some darker classics, and ends on some faster darker classics.
You could hardly ask for better, and that unusual opening (starting with Lagash 2012) features some really brilliant transitions – Astraia and Avalanche were made for each other at this bpm, and Heaven & Hell is a great choice. Very nice to see Noitavasara in there (a tune I’ve been trying to use for the past year or so), while Hydra is yet another excellent, surprising selection. After the bpm has crept up this high, then why not finish with the traditional Xochitlan?
This set came to soon for any chance of Enuma Elish, but that aside, a quality tracklist and rock-solid mixing in typical Midas style make it very highly recommended.
An interesting take on the dark/melancholy formula here, in a set from DJ Danny Stokes. Recorded a few years ago, the set is anchored around a few heavily pitched up Lab 4 tracks – this might be a deal breaker for some, but it’s this and the surprising combo of Nu-Energy with darker tracks that are the noteable elements here.
Although personally I could do without tracks like Kevin Energy’s remix of Lumi, it’s tracklists like these that show the potential of coaxing more UK freeform-centric DJs towards the FINRG, EE, Kreatrix and (wait for it) TYFTH side of things. As an example, CLSM’s Revolution remix works brilliantly here as a link between Lab 4, with Adaption making perfect sense as a follow-up.
It’s thought-provoking stuff, before the second half of the set switches into a nicely mixed selection of old favourites. I have my own thoughts on how the TYFTH flavour of NRG and freeform can reach wider audiences, but sets like these (and Thumpa’s, obviously) show a another possible, optimistic attack vector on the less grimdark corners of the freeform world.
Slightly belated notice of a new(ish) set from me and Shimotsukei that went online recently and was part of Lucky Lotus 6 back in June. We decided to make things more interesting than the usual ‘one half each’ setup and try a more aunthentic back to back, alternating every few tracks. It all came together far easier than I was expecting, and there are a fair number of rarer/unreleased tunes amongst the classics.
Big thanks of course to Lucky Lotus and Shimotsukei for such a nice opportunity to take on something different, and I hope we’ll have a chance to give this another try in the future. Tracklist is below, and the set is downloadable on the FINRG SoundCloud.
[PD] 01. Tyranoid vs Strongstream – Spice／Epice 02. Epyx & Cyrez – Game Over (Tyranoid/Strongstream Remix) 03. Epilim – Rapid Fire [Shimotsukei] 04. Carbon Based & DJ Rx – Reptile 05. Pain On Creation & Fea – Unconsciousness 06. Epyx & Cyrez vs Fea – Untitled 4 Evah (Unfinished edit) [PD] 07. Nomic – Neptune 08. Alabaster – Galaxy 09. Re-form – Cyanide [Shimotsukei] 10. Epyx & Cyrez – Neverlasting 11. Le Dos-on – Rising Sun 12. Proteus – Venla [PD] 13. DJ RX – Hellfire 14. A+D+A+M Lab4 – Psychopath 15. GULD – Hannya 2 16. VICE TEK HEAVY INDUSTRY – 3M3SIS [Shimotsukei] 17. Betwixt & Between – Matsukin (Remix) 18. Nomic – Mutantit
I’m in the midst of Codex prep right now, but just time for a quick note to announce the release of In Praise of Shadows. I’ll be out for the day, but the store is now active and I’ll be keeping an eye on things as soon as I get back. Any issues or questions, please let me know!
In Praise of Shadows finally has a release date, and it’s the day after tomorrow – you will be able to order the compilation on Saturday, or head along to CODEX where you’ll be able to pick up a copy on the day. Orders placed online will be sent out asap – probably the following day, depending on the response.
The compilation will cost a fairly standard 1500 yen, but some good news is that postage will be free (or absorbed within the cost of the CD, whichever way you want to look at it) and will take 6-8 days to most countries via airmail. I’ll have a simple guide to the ordering process over on the Music page, but of course feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions. The online store side of things is another expedition into uncharted territory, but I’ll be doing my best to make things as smooth as possible.
I’ll be promoting the release in all the usual places, but as time always seems to be short these days some word-spreading from the Horsers would also be really appreciated. How about thoughts on music sites etc. that might be interested in reviewing the album? I have a couple of places in mind, but I’m open to suggestions.
Apologies again for the silence here lately, but it was for a good cause – and hopefully things will pick up again after this weekend.