It’s looking likely that my next ‘studio’ set will include a U-F SEQUENCER track, so this caught my eye right away. As a free release you’ve got nothing to lose either way, making Thunderbolt a strong choice if you’re experimenting with Japanese sounds in your melodic freeform sets.
I’ve often thought that U-F SEQUENCER has quite a lot in common with Betwixt in his more conventional freeform moments, as there’s a peculiar style to their melodies that you don’t very often hear anywhere else (ikaruga_nex might be another?). SEQUENCER’s tracks don’t tend to go to that next (Betwixt) level, but there’s a lot to like here and I’m going to try working with Thunderbolt when I find some other contenders in this style.
Make sure to look through SEQUENCER’s bandcamp if you haven’t before, there’s so much good work there that deserves to get some play, both on the freeform and hardcore sides.
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.
Anyone following Shimotsukei’s SoundCloud will have noticed a recent burst of incredible mashups, mostly featuring Betwixt & Between – but for everyone else, it’s about time I pointed out a couple of favourites.
So far, of the uploaded versions, I’m probably the biggest fan of Phaedra’s Hypnodisc, a lovely, aggressive mashup that somehow balances the odd atmospheres of both tracks to come up with something new. Both have detuned sounds all over the place that make ‘normal’ mixing difficult enough, but this mashup impresses as it keeps it all together. The extra weight at the lower ends also benefits both, making them a lot more playable in more modern sets. A really incredible effort and the best (online) example so far of what Shimotsukei’s been working on.
Check it out at Shimotsukei’s SoundCloud along with the ambitous Tindaros Invasion, another highlight. You Are Surging, meanwhile, is a quality mashup but still not enough to make me listen to Betwixt’s remix of You Are, something I’ve never been able to play all the way through thanks to some truly painful vocals.
Now’s probably also a good time to mention Shimo’s superb Megabyrgium, a mashup that deserved its own post a couple of years ago and still holds up brilliantly. Still no download, but an absolute must-listen.
If you’ve been following the updates on Mastodon you will have seen this already, but the plan this weekend was to stream a short set of more melodic tracks while I continue sorting out ideas for the next ‘real’ mix.
Predictably though, I’ve ended up putting some time into this melodic edition and need some extra time to think about things. It’ll still most likely be on the short side, and will have a mix of newer and much older stuff – I’m just not feeling some of the really melodic/trancy tracks around these days, so it’ll be a bit of a middle ground. Although I expect a weekday isn’t as convenient for a lot of people, this one will also find its way to YouTube, probably a day or two later.
There are also plans for at least a couple of other posts to appear here soon, as I get back to things after an extremely busy February.
I’ve been keeping an eye on hardrng’s soundcloud for quite some time now, belonging as it does to someone we all know well at TYFTH. This third mix upload has to be the best so far, and some blinding work in the middle of the set makes it one that I’m happy to mention here.
The whole tracklist is very TYFTH-friendly as you’d expect, with a solid opening of Tendrils of Reality and Acid Maker setting up the atmosphere nicely. It’s the next transition that shows the ambition behind the set, as Kamsheen is teased in and out of Acid Maker. So close but not quite matching up, it’s a heroic effort and very nearly a killer combination. Frozen Abyss into Reboot The System, meanwhile, is an absolutely superb transition and a worthy centrepiece for the set, both selection-wise and for the quality of the blend.
Is it worth listening after that high watermark? Absolutely, as there’s an enjoyable shimmy around a few varieties of freeform in the second half. As always there’s something to enjoy in Lost Soul’s tracks, so that and the Substanced remix of Eons keep things on the darker, more technical side of this interlude into UK freeform. It was nice to see hardrng rein things back in though, and Aryx is always a good option to bridge the gap and reintroduce some depth to a set.
The finale is the other major highlight of the set, with a superb choice of atmosphere and smooth mixing. The echo of Fairytale’s melody in Morokai isn’t something I’ve thought of before, but it’s a lovely little trick, maybe even improved with the breathing room of another Lost Soul track in between.
One or two transitions could have done with cleaning up, but that’s a minor complaint in a really enjoyable set that also has me looking forward to the next.
This might be a busy weekend, but there’ll still be a TYFTH Live tomorrow as promised. Alas, it’s not the set I orginally had in mind, as I’m still hanging on for a couple of tracks to appear. Instead this’ll be that unreleased-only session I mentioned a while back, with me digging into the archives to play some bits and pieces that you might find interesting. What I’ve been aiming for in the limited practice time I’ve had this week is a set with plenty of surprises, while also sticking fairly close to the kind of style I like these days. Apologies in advance for any shonky transitions, it’ll definitely be more about the individual tracks this time around.
On that note, there are a few ‘secret’ tracks that might make an appearance, making this a good one to catch live if you can. The upload to YouTube won’t come with a tracklist, so feel free to play ‘guess that tune’ while we run through the set.
I’ll leave the video at the top of this post for now, but the TYFTH twitch channel is here, of course.
Just over a week ago I talked myself into making a trip to Shibuya at rush hour on a Saturday, but it was for a good cause – the first NRG-only event in Tokyo since the last CODEX. Shijou Saikou no NRG 3 (‘The Best NRG Ever 3’, it’s no less clunky a title in Japanese) was a gathering of some of the real pioneers of the Tokyo NRG scene for a little celebration of the sound. Little’s the word, as Dimension’s dimensions are about the same as a medium-sized Tokyo apartment, but even this club’s tiny speakers were a much better way to hear NRG than I’ve had for a long time.
Cochame gave the event some much needed younger (and female) representation, but sadly I wasn’t in time to catch her set. Those I did hear weren’t really up to the standard you might have expected, aside from GULD and Hashimoto. Hashimoto in particular has to win the award of ‘most instantly likeable’ harder DJ – he really looks like he’s still having the time of his life up in the booth and it was hard not to smile through the whole set. Fabulous track selection as well, which helped.
GULD’s set was the one I was really there for of course, and he didn’t disappoint. There was plenty of Hase and Lab4 before things went very melodic for the second half. Either side of the set we were catching up on things together, in between GULD pointing out the artist/name of every important track he heard.
Overall it was of course fantastic to hear some NRG again, but it was also a sobering little window into the state of the scene. The veterans are still supporting the sound as strongly as ever, but the tiny venue was only just full and the lack of younger DJs was pretty glaring. Who knows though, this could be the start of a revival in 2020. How soon it’s followed up by another event is probably key.
In the meantime, here’s GULD’s tracklist from the event. Oh and apologies for the terrible quality on the video by the way, but by the time another event rolls around I should be better fixed for recordings.
Long-time Horsers will remember Tokyo Hardcore Construction, the best harder event of the time alongside Romancer. Kanon was a big reason for that, and happily she seems to be a lot more active in the scene these days.
Hardgate 10 was a massive event held in November at Womb, with what even I can see is a dream guest line up – Art of Fighters, Meccano Twins, and The Sickest Squad. From what I can tell this is a shorter set than she played at the event, but it’s still vintage Kanon and even before I saw the tracklist on mixcloud I recognised a good few THC anthems.
01. Evil Activities- Back On Track
02. Nitrogenetics – Hit Me
03. Angerfist – Dortmund 05
04. Nosferatu & Endymion vs Viper feat MC Alee – Project Hardcore(Anthem Mix)
05. Knightvision vs Wedlock – Wayz Of The Core (Teaching)
06. DJ Weirdo & Dr. Phil Omanski – One Tribes Jam (Original 1998 Promo Remix)
07. Neophyte vs Stunned guys – Army Of Hardcore
08. Art of Fighters – Party Starter
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.
Surprise little end-of-the-year reappearance here, and this might even be another one of those TYFTH returns to form. I’ve been playing around with a few sets lately, with the intention of finally streaming some short sets on a more regular schedule. Some might not be much more than half an hour or so, but at least that’ll be easier to do consistently. They could well include some of those old ideas like promo-only sets, other genres, that kind of thing.
For now, there’ll be a shortish set tomorrow as I ease back into things. This’ll be freeform on the darker side – which, as anyone who’s been keeping an eye on the scene lately will know, means a mostly older tracklist. The vast majority of the last run-through was based around tracks that I’ve never played anywhere before though, so at least it won’t be yet another rerun of me chugging through the old faithfuls.
Another post is on the way that looks at some recent(ish) releases, which will eventually make up for tomorrow’s lack of representation. In the meantime you’ll be welcome to stop by twitch tomorrow, or keep an eye on YouTube for the upload soon afterwards.
Thanks everyone who listened live – apologies for the trouble with the visuals, that’ll be sorted before the next set. The audio version is up on YouTube now though, and here’s the tracklist:
01. Epyx & Cyrez – The Lurking Fear 02. Pain on Creation – Ironworks (Gain Edit) 03. Kevin Energy & Proteus – London Helsinki Underground (Proteus Warcry 2011 Remix) 04. Epyx & Cyrez – Polar Energy 05. Nemes & Blender – Inquisition 06. Morita Yuuhei – Sadistic Form 07. RR-ThermalForce – Eternal Cannon (DJ Rx remix) 08. Twisted Freq – Releashed (Original Mix) 09. Alabaster – Galaxy 10. Chris de Burgh – A Spaceman Came Travelling (Transcend remix)