Doubly great news here - Tokyo will soon have a brand-new NRG and freeform event, and I’ll be there for the first installment to play a guest set! Organised by TYFTH regular and tireless freeform evangelist raqhow, CODEX is set to start in fine style, with a lineup that brings together the very best of Japan’s current freeform scene.
The resident DJs alone would make for a quality event - raqhow himself is joined by NONAKA+CHIN and Le Dos-on, meaning Japanese, Finnish and UK sounds should be nicely covered. As for the guest DJs, the most eye-catching addition has to be Alabaster, making his long-awaited return to the Tokyo scene, while harder scene stalwart Azsa will also be playing a freeform set. Azsa has a history of excellent freeform mixes, and I’m really looking forward to hearing what he comes up with.
Finally I was asked to play as a ‘Special Guest DJ’, a massive honour that I’m really grateful for. Looks like some more sleepless nights ahead as I think about what to bring to the event - it’s really exciting to be playing to a Japanese crowd again after the last two big gigs in Finland and the UK.
More info as and when, but take a look at the lineup and some extra info on the tweetvite page, where you can also check out a larger version of MC Obie’s spectacular flyer art. Oh, and I’ll be playing another set in the near future too, so stay tuned for another announcement..
I got back from London yesterday afternoon, so it’s about time to settle into the Horse’s saddle and resume normal service. Let’s start with something I really should have found time for before I left - the pre-Munted! spectacular on Krafty Radio from a couple of weeks ago.
I had the honour of starting off the two-hour set, and decided to pillage an unfinished Alek Szahala-only mix I had been planning as a Facebook page gift, combining it with a couple of older mixes that long-time Ustream listeners might remember. In a token effort to be more up-to-date I replaced the old Ustream stalwart of Aurora with Polaris, a nicely uplifting way to end my section and which Midas did a brilliant job of running with. Sorry about the overly-long use of Comet Catcher by the way - originally it was supposed to mix from The Purification but that would have meant overshooting my time limit, sadly ruling out my first use of a UK tune for about 5 years.
Anyway, I’m quite happy with the atmosphere in my set, and with a superb final section from Pearsall that’s very heavy on the Japanese tracks, the two hours have a nicely consistent feel while still showing off the distinctive style of each DJ. Look out too for some amazing variety from Midas and Aryx’s brand new The Golden Chariot.
01. Alek Szahala - Comet Catcher 02. Alek Szahala - Pink Magic 03. Suge - Terrible Oneness 04. Alek Szahala - Solar Hive 05. Carbon Based & Nemes - Heaven n’ Hell (Alek Szahala Remix) 06. Alabaster - Acid Maker 07. Pain on Creation & DJ Rx - Super Sonic 08. Aryx - Polaris
09. Substanced & J-Mx - Flawless Victory 10. Substanced - Signal Lost (Endemic Remix) 11. Substanced - Seismic Activity (Transcend Remix) 12. A.B. & Amplitude - Thinking Machine (Douglas Remix) 13. CLSM - Wicked MC feat. MC Sharkey 14. Cube::Hard - Hold The Beat 15. Cube::Hard v CLSM - See You On The Other Side
16. Aryx - Polaris 17. Aryx - Celestia 18. Aryx - Aurora 19. Aryx - Sylph 20. Aryx - The Golden Chariot (Unfinished) 21. Substanced - The End of All Things (Aryx Remix)
22. Qygen - Silicon Skies ft Leo Hartley 23. Dani Delirio - Neo Tokyo 24. Guld - Castle In The Sky Remix 25. Substanced - Damage Point 26. Nomic - Rift 27. Le Dos-On - Marionette 28. Penguin Conspiracy - Reality Distortion Field 29. A.B. & Nick 235 - Future’s Past Feat. Rhona 30. Le Dos-On - Yksisarvinen 31. Epyx & Cyrez - Sound Of The Golden Clarion (Le Dos-On Remix)
Munted! in London was absolutely fantastic by the way - some superb sets and great people made for a top quality night. Some photos and video will hopefully surface at some point, so stay tuned for a proper look back in the nearish future.
(Guld, Petteri Carbon Based, Laz Re-form, Your Correspondent, COGI)
What better way to promote yourself before a big event than by not updating your own site for a month and a half?
How I wish that it’s an exaggeration, but I’ve been so ridiculously busy since April that the choice has been between food, sleep and Munted prep, with absolutely no time for anything else. Ah, I tell a lie - my two evenings off were very pleasant, spent first with Byproduct and then with Petteri Carbon Based and one half of Re-form while they visited Japan/Tokyo. It was brilliant to see everyone a year after that trip to Finland, but since then it’s been hardcore event prep all the way. Still a fair amount to do, but I’m making progress and just about on schedule considering 6-day workweeks and endless commutes.
Needless to say, there won’t be too many posts until early next month, but there will of course be Munted info as and when, as well a couple of other things I’ve been desperate to mention for a couple of weeks. Sorry about the disappearance, and hope you’ll bear with me while I get through the rest of May. What I’d give for an army of little Horsers (Foals?) to update the site in my absence.
Oh, continuing the ‘promote yourself by doing nothing’ theme, it seems that people have discovered the PlasmaDancer Facebook page I semi-set up last year and then promptly forgot about. Four or five intrepid freeform warriors actually found it months ago, and so I was working on a little 30 minute mix as a thank you to them - then Munted happened and I ended up using parts of the Thank You set for my segment on Freeformaniacs (coming a week tomorrow, if I’m not mistaken).
Anyway, I’m massively thankful to those early adopters, as well as the freeform folk who have been ‘liking’ it over the past couple of days. This place will always take priority, but I’ve just finished the basic setting up and will be able to add some bits and pieces there if/when I have the chance. The more Horsers the better of course, so feel free to check out the complete lack of content via this link.
Back to mixing for now - I’ll be sure to make some time for the next post asap!
Last Saturday there was a flicker of life from the Tokyo darker scene, and for once I was organised enough to make it to two clubs on the same night. First stop was Operation Karma, back in Tokyo (Roppongi, unfortunately) after a 3-year absence and a few events in Kawasaki.
Sadly the days of Karma being the hard-but-more-melodic counterpoint to NRGetic Romancer and Tokyo Hardcore Construction seem to have gone, as most DJs have abandoned freeform/NRG or dropped out of the hardcore scene altogether, but thankfully ASAHI was there to represent our kind of sound and I mainly headed along for his set. It turned out to be a superb hour of tunes that started with Private Demon and progressed up through the bpms to finish with Aryx’s Aurora. There’s a strong Guld influence to ASAHI’s sets, but I love the way he’s introduced some of the industrial/dark electro sounds we’ve heard at events like Dark Dimension. With terrible timing I stopped my video [see above] during BRK’s The Nobodies, just as he was about to mix into a great track from Grendel - unexpected, but I reckon it was the connection of the set and did wonders for the atmosphere.
Unfortunately ASAHI was timetabled to open the event, so the floor was very quiet until a few more of the Karma/Romancer crew arrived towards the end of the set. It was fantastic to see everyone though, and as we all settled into some dancing it made me realise how much I’ve missed having a healthy hardcore scene for the past couple of years. The music was taking a turn for the over-happy though, heavy on the anime samples and glass-shattering female vocals, so after sticking around for some of DAIRIN’s hard house I wandered over to Shinjuku and Decadance Bar.
Kohaku and the Dark Dimension crew have really done a fine job with this event, as now it has a large, eclectic following that rivals Tokyo Decadance but with far, far better music/atmosphere. Although there was no freeform this time, the timetabling is superb these days and seems to finish with a good couple of hours of very danceable industrial/dark psy, leaving it just late enough for the fans of the slower stuff to be willing to give it a go too. SHiN even sneaked in Hannya X during his dark psy set, and it went down a storm with everyone from the Romancer ravers to the goths.
The other highlight was finally catching one of Hiroyuki Takahashi’s live painting performances, which really lived up to expectations. Responding to the music and crowd as usual, his piece became darker and darker as the night went on - not the clearest photos in the world, but hopefully you can get an idea of the end result.
TYFTH is back in business again after a week off, starting with an upcoming Krafty Radio appearance courtesy of Freeformaniacs! I’ll be alongside Aryx, Midas and Douglas for a non-stop, two-hour warmup event that’ll hopefully get everyone in the mood for the following month’s Munted! spectacular in London.
Stay tuned for more info, but in the meantime check out the rest of a very exciting looking Freeformaniacs schedule for April/May that features plenty of familiar faces:
4th April - Pearsall (Electronica Exposed Special) / Beezee
11th April - Jerome / A.R.D
18th April - Substanced / Piumaki
25th April - Girdler Synthetic (Two-hour Special)
2nd May - Thumpa / Midas
9th May - Cuedy / Pulse
16th May - Olly Addictive / JKub
23rd May - Triex / Stray
30th May - Munted! Takeover (Aryx vs Douglas vs PlasmaDancer vs Midas)
Plenty going on behind the TYFTH scenes at the moment, but in front of the scenes let’s take a belated look at some video from this month’s FINRG event in Tampere. Great to hear from people involved that it went so well, and that an enormous crowd of freeform fans was there to support. Here we have three videos, from Syntse, Decion and Aryx:
I’m having a break from all-out freeform listening right now, so indulge me while we check out another wonderful Bukem set from the archives. Recorded live at Dance Paradise in (I think) 1994, this is right up there with his seminal Rebirth mix of 1996 as an example of structuring a set, creating new atmospheres inside the mix connections, and just flat-out technical excellence.
Bukem runs through a huge number of my all-time favourites here, and absolutely nails the contrast between deep, futuristic melancholy and aggressive amens that made 94-96 the era for intelligent drum and bass. Check out the final moments of the Drift to the Centre - The Western transition, as the drums stop and the ‘Drift…to the centre’ vocal plays over PFM’s trademark intro - just one example of the winning combination of Photek (in his various guises) and PFM that forms the backbone of the set. Another favourite moment might be Heavy Vibes into Horizons, a genuinely beautiful mix that sums up why Bukem is my main DJing inspiration.
In a perfect world Bukem’s older mixes would be required listening for anyone wondering how to incorporate deeper sounds into a high-bpm club set - get past the MCs (easier said than done, I know) and see what you think.
As usual, just in time to give the next installment of the Smiling Corpse podcast a mention. It all takes place tonight (GMT), with Dyzphazia hosting and none other than ikaruga_nex marking his entry into the Smiling Corpse collective with a debut set.
It’s really one to look forward to, but unfortunately I probably won’t be around for the live broadcast - tonight I’m heading off to Studio Cube for the first time in a year or so, to see K.U.R.O. play an old-school Goa set.
Much delayed, but it’s finally time for our annual roundup of the Japanese scene’s favourite tunes. As usual, it’s a mix of tunes released in 2012 and other tracks that DJs found themselves playing a lot, but hopefully it’s just interesting for everyone to see what sounds were most popular here.
Sadly the Japanese NRG/freeform scene is very quiet this year, and has so far been totally ignored by other hardcore events (just check the lineup for this year’s Tokyo ‘Hard’ Groove Session for proof). Hopefully things will pick up again as the year progresses - one of the great things about last year was the emergence of a few new DJs, from raqhow and Nrgray gaining more experience at Experience!, to ikaruga_nex’s switch to freeform and Mii’s debut in the darker scene. Alabaster wasn’t very active last year and so isn’t part of this year’s roundup, but hopefully he’ll be back on his game to contribute next time.
Massive thanks as always to everyone for taking the time to choose, and it’d be interesting to hear everyone else’s picks, if you can remember back that far.
The deadly duo have recently started up a new site to tie in with their album release and some massive gigs, including a chance for producers to remix their Two Against the Void track, Sound of the Golden Clarion. The remix competition runs until May, with the grand prize of a digital Watchtower release. As one of my favourite tunes on the album, I’m really looking forward to what everyone comes up with.
The rest of the site is looking very smooth, and the news section will definitely be worth keeping an eye on in the months ahead. A final tip of the hat to the guys for the TYFTH mention in the Bio section!