At first glance this looks like a well-above average Japanese gabber/hardcore compilation (released a couple of months ago), but lurking near the end of the tracklist you’ll also find two new freeform tracks from Le Dos-on. Zafkiel is the better of the two, featuring the emotional melodies mixed with demented filters that often mark out Le Dos-on’s finest tracks, while Benetnasch is a more typical dancefloor-friendly tune that would likely work well in some lighter sets. Unusually for this sort of compilation, the standard of tracks is impressively high all the way through, with some particularly quality stuff from 6th, Noizenecio and kenta.v.ez.
01 - Scarlet - Change The World
02 - IceCreamSandWitch - Makina
03 - Nizikawa - Akagi
04 - nnn - Basement
05 - Hard Harmonizer - Drop it
06 - 6th - Killing Weapon
07 - Noizenecio - Bass Stream
08 - QUIL - Knight of Carim
09 - kenta-v.ez. - cAtAstrophic sEquENcE
10 - Lechery - MAD KILLER
11 - DJ 490 - b347z cr4ck1n
12 - Le Dos-on - Benetnasch
13 - Le Dos-on & Psycho Stalker - Zafkiel
14 - XIO - Paradise
I’m doing my best to catch up on stuff these days, so next from the archives we have a wonderful set from Cyberdyne Seba. I get the impression from the SoundCloud comments that most Horsers have been on the case with this one for a good while, but anyone else who enjoys high-energy freeform with plenty of filters definitely needs to check this set out.
Reminiscent of an Alderz/Beezee set, this one doesn’t let up for a moment and gets the balance of melodies and nastiness just about spot on. Watch out too for some fantastic, energetic mixing - Surendrajit into Lush is a very ambitious combo that crashes through in fine style, but there are plenty of other nice selections and a perfectly timed use of Vyral XIII’s Auracite that deserves an honourable mention.
I obviously need to give a special thanks to Seba for the extensive use of the TYFTH SoundCloud, it’s great to see how well the tunes fit into a set of this standard, and equally nice to see DJs putting the tracks to good use - that’s the point of this little project, after all.
Many thanks to everyone who tuned into last month’s Smiling Corpse podcast, and equally hearty thanks to Wyrm and the SC crew for the invitation to play - as always I’m hugely grateful for the support. The entire show has just been added to the Dead Happy archive, so let’s take the chance to look back at the two sets.
Putting my mix together was traumatic to say the least, as I did my very best to strike the balance between using sections from recent club events and not ending up with a structureless Frankenstein’s monster of a set. Personally I think I fell into that trap with Episode 7 of Munted! Monthly, but this time I considered how to use pre-existing stuff much more carefully and am far happier with the end result. Having said that, a few days before the deadline I hacked out 6 (!) tracks and had a proper (if manic) rethink, as it clearly didn’t have enough melancholy or relisten value.
As always, a massive thanks to the artists and labels who provided tunes - these sets couldn’t happen at all without your help. This time I was sold on Gestaltzerfall as an intro track the moment I heard it, and either by DJing sixth sense or blind luck (I know which one’s more likely) Prelude was the first tune I tried as a mix. Happily, Prelude has been a backup connection for the Freedom - Rise - Dilapidated section for a good few months now, and that really inspired me for the rest of the set. Fatal Flashback and Afraid was a recent find, while I’ve been playing around with the Neon Circuitboards - Gravity’s Rainbow - Darkstar section since Munted! in London. After much back and forth, I finally decided on Helix - Mohicans as the finale after playing the preceding 50mins a few times in practice. There’s just enough nastiness to link them both to the rest of the set, before heading off into that magical, melancholy direction.
Of course the set’s far from perfect, but given my time restrictions these days I was really glad to see how some of the Krafty listeners enjoyed it on the night - it made all the hair-tearing and kickdrum-induced headaches worthwhile. By the way, a couple of the ‘CDR’ tracks here are headed for release (or at least, announcement of a release) very soon indeed, and will likely sound even nicer as here I used unmastered/older versions.
Let’s not forget Wyrm’s fantastic second hour though - his set was full of unexpected twists, from hard techno to psy via plenty of unreleased SC material. After a timely Happy Birthday, Wyrm went heavy on the harder tracks (Rhythmic Tool being a standout for me), followed by some quality new freeform. I hadn’t heard Custom Built DJs’ Pneumatic or Qygen’s superb remix of Tendrils of Reality before, while it was lovely to hear Qygen’s tribute to Betwixt & Between - Kimura Kaoru no Densetsu - being used so effectively in a set. Add Dodomeki to the list and you really see the strength in depth of Smiling Corpse’s upcoming releases. Some typically nutty psy has also been very skilfully woven into the set, making this a genuine must-listen if you didn’t catch it at the time.
Recently I caught up on all the recent Smiling Corpse podcasts - four sets of excellent quality that no Horser should miss out on.
Episode 11 features a really interesting, experimental set from Dyzphazia that very skilfully switches between different subgenres to make something very fresh. Making the most of the schranzy-style tracks to bring in new sections, this is one of the best Dyzphazia mixes for a while and a great set to check out if you’re in the mood for something different.
Alchemiist’s set from the same podcast is exactly what I hoped for - twisty, solidly mixed and with plenty of older darkness. It’s not always easy to find freeform sets that go for all-out aggression, and with the sprinkling of promos livening things up this is a must-listen.
Episode 12 keeps things dark with a great set from Olly Addictive that introduces some variety around the basic TYFTH-friendly sound. I often think that mixing other tunes with Alek Szahala tracks is a very risky business, as very little else can match his unique atmosphere and it ends up feeling like a waste (eg. my Lucky Lotus set - Let the Funeral Begin works a treat, but Last Glimmer of Hope cancels out Sunray’s atmosphere and things head off in a different, lighter direction). Anyway, Olly puts the lie to all that with a blinder of a connection, moving straight from Pastor Skinstrom into Solar Hive. Brilliant stuff, and the rest of the set is melodic but twisted, and definitely recommended.
01) Unnatural Selection & Cik - Day of Judgement (Ophidian Remix) [Industrial Strength]
02) Carbon Based - Painkiller [Electroplates]
03) Epyx & Cyrez - Unohdetut 2011 [Electrode]
04) Shanty - Cerebral Cortex (Wyrm Remix) [Electrode]
05) Transcend - Eons [F/C Watchtower]
06) Qygen & Olly Addictive - Vapaamuoto [F/C Smiling Corpse]
07) The Sauna Boys - Pastor Skinstrom [FiNRG]
08) Alek Száhala - Solar Hive [FiNRG]
09) Alchemiist - Empire [FiNRG]
10) Evolutionize - Pain [F/C Freeformatted Vol.2]
11) Transcend & Neptune - The Spirit Molecule [F/C Strictly for the Purist]
12) AC Slater - Overdose [Kaotik]
13) Tommyknocker - Twist [Traxtorm Records]
Finally we have a headline set from Alek Szahala that is hopefully getting the listeners it deserves. The tracklist alone is fantastic, with a few oldies alongside the wonderful Succubus, Raingun and Mageslayer, but this one also deserves special attention for the mixing style. Maybe the most complex Alek set I’ve heard so far, there’s plenty of mixing before the traditional outro section and a couple of tunes that leap straight into the breakdown, keeping even hardcore Alek fans guessing until the end. A top quality hour then, and the perfect warm up for Alek’s 10th Anniversary set in Helsinki tonight.
Here’s that post I’ve been trying to find the time for - an inspired contribution to the Freeformaniacs show that’s hands down the best freeform set I’ve heard this year. It’s clear right from the start how much effort Cuedy put into this mix, and it flows brilliantly through a lovely selection of TYFTH-friendly melodic freeform and some fantastic, creative connections. For the first time in a long time I found myself enjoying the transitions themselves (very rare, but the way it should be, surely) and really being drawn into the set’s atmosphere. Just when I thought the set might be fading away, the Morokai - Quantum Epiphany combination energises the finale in fine style, while the earlier Chaos Maker - Leadbeater is another real standout.
No time for further comment (and forgive the possibly confusing copy/paste tracklist down below), but hopefully the scene will give this excellent set the praise it deserves - creative, thoughtful and a proper inspiration.
1. Explosive Tendencies Penguin Conspiracy [Freeform Exposed 2/Electrode] 2. Sound Of The Golden Clarion Epyx & Cyrez [Two Against The Void/Watchtower Records] 3. The Gatekeeper Eryk Orpheus & Flip [Freeformania/Rebuild Music] 4. Dilapidated Ikaruga_Nex [Subaru Shu ~Subaru no Tama~/Hukagyaku Hardcore] 5. 28 Day Later Audio Warfare & Audio Impulse [Free Release/ Soundcloud] 6. Chaos Maker Nomic [Free Release/ Soundcloud] 7. Leadbeater Alchemiist & J-Mx [TYFH][Free Release/ Soundcloud] 8. Sadness & Sorrow (Epyx & Cyrez Remix) Nightforce [Electronic Exclusives 11: Plundered Vaults/Electronica Exposed] 9. Yabarekabare Suge [Freeformania/Rebuild Music] 10. Verzweiflung Hommarju [Relentless Digital][Subaru Shu ~Subaru no Tama~/Hukagyaku Hardcore] 11. Human Hater Horzi [FiNRG][Free Release/ Soundcloud] 12. Sarcomite Alabaster [Hardcore Syndrome 3/Hardcore Tano*C] 13. Morokai Aryx [Smiling Corpse CD1/Smiling Corpse] 14. Quantium Epiphany Qygen [Freeform Exposed 2/Electrode] 15. Ja Tri Fu Le Dos-On [核-Core-/Solidbox Records]
I probably didn’t talk enough at the time about what an influence Horzi was having on DJs and artists in Tokyo, but two or three years ago you were almost guaranteed to hear his tunes in any freeform event, while new producers like Le Dos-on and ikaruga_nex regularly cite him as an inspiration. Great to see some new material from the man himself then, and as it’s all to easy to miss something in the avalanche of free tunes that is the FINRG SoundCloud, it’s surely worth linking them all here.
Human Hateris a track well-known to most people these days, but those melodies are as good as ever and the style is something a bit different that can fit into all kinds of sets. Face the Destiny is a brilliant tune that maybe sets a new standard for his productions, both technically and in terms of atmosphere. Might there be a bit of Japanese influence in this one? Whatever it is, the melancholy of the breakdown and the energy of the drop make this a real highlight. Finally comes Over My Soul, a more experimental tune that breaks away from the drum and bass opening with a superb guitar-led breakdown and some awesome pacy synths in the second half.
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.
I’ve now had a chance to listen to both sets from last weekend’s SC podcast, and it’s a big recommend for anyone else who missed the live event. Wyrm’s set in particular is a fantastic hour that sets a new standard of mixing modern freeform with dark psy, obviously really well-considered with a nice consistent theme all the way through. This is helped by a couple of amazing Qygen tracks - 60Hz Power Rave has to be one of the most impressive tracks so far this year. As always, it’s hard to combine harder freeform with psy, but Wyrm does a fine job, and the trippy breakbeat of Funkin’ Jungle is a lovely selection.
Horzi’s set is more conventional, but maybe that’s no bad thing after the experimental sounds of Wyrm. Heavy on the brand-new FINRG releases, there’s also an interesting choice of the two Elementz Records releases towards the end, as well as a pitched up Fist of the North Star.
If you’re after a 30 minute burst of NRG and freeform, look no further than this great Dyzphazia set from last week. His finger’s on the pulse as usual with some brand new selections, but the second half also has some lovely, unexpected choices that flow very nicely towards the manic Night Prey.
Cyrez - Raver’s Legacy [Rebuild]
Ikaruga Nex - Black Hawk Down [CDr]
Le Dos-On - A (Cyrez Remix) [Splash Energy! Records]
Substanced & J-Mx - Flawless Victory [FiNRG]
Transcend - Eons [CDr]
Alf Bamford - Heartburn (Dark By Design Remix) [Hard Timez]
Kevin Energy & Proteus - London Helsinki Underground (Proteus Warcry Remix) [Nu Energy Collective]
Technical Itch & Kemal - The Calling (Evol Intent & Ewun Remix) [Moving Shadow]
A little bit late posting this up - Matt and Jamis of the good ship Watchtower were recently interviewed by CORE magazine, where they did a quality job of representing the scene and spreading the word re. the upcoming release of Volume 2.
Take a look at the CORE site for the full interview, where you’ll also find a really interesting mix from the Endemic guys. Obviously featuring the UK side of the label’s sound, it’s an ambitious set that combines some fairly angry drum and bass with the freeform. It’s all excellently mixed, and well worth a listen even if you usually lean more towards the Finnish side of things.