Not having been able to properly keep up with things in the scene has meant that I missed the massive leap B.R.K. has taken into the top tier of NRG artists over the past year or so. Better late than never, then, here’s his first Fatal Energy Records release as supporting evidence for that bold claim.

Granted, LOE, FIH is on the slower end of the scale and fits more into the hard trance/dance categories, but just listen to the production levels and complexity going on here. The fills and acid lines put even the pre-break section a step above B.R.K.’s older tracks, while the main melody doesn’t overdo it – simple and catchy’s all that’s needed in amongst the rest of the sounds. A crucial element there is the excellent mastering job of course, another night-and-day improvement.

If this is too sedate to fit into your own sets or listening tastes then I can say with authority that you still have to watch out for B.R.K.’s upcoming material. What I’ve heard so far easily keeps up this standard (but well into the bpms we’re more used to) and will surely be signed up to labels in the very near future.

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.

Watch live video from plasmadancer on www.twitch.tv

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.

01. Hase – Attacker
02. Hase – Meditation
03. Yoji biomehanika – Rain
04. Lab4 – Falling Down
05. Lab4 – Resurrection (Hase remix)
06. Betwixt & Between – Zusammengehörigkeit
07. GULD – Spirits of Saiyan
08. Hatsune Miku – Senbonzakura (GULD boot remix)
09. Aryx – Aurora (GULD remix)
10. RR-ThermalForce – Al megiddo

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.

Tracklist

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.

[edit]

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)

No matter that this set went online 8 months ago, it’s still one of the highlights of the year and more than deserves a delayed shout here. This was Hedonistik Ritual’s first set after induction into the FINRG crew, and I wonder if that was the inspiration for the fantastic stuff going on here.

It’s probably one of the most carefully constructed sets I’ve heard for a long time, with some excellent pacing and impressive extended atmospheres. Just take a listen to those opening three tracks, managing to tightrope walk between the melodies and harsher sounds, anchored all the way by some piano. That’s followed up by a smooth move into Substanced, with HR’s own Exorcist changing key but echoing the style of Redemption with its own intro. Then it’s straight into another superb transition with Antiproton Decelerator; this is really classy mixing.

The rest of the set keeps the standard high, adding more piano to tie things together, and doing some fine work to shift the styles around as far as Taste the Funk. Zinzya is a lovely choice of track to get back into tradtional FINRG synth territory, leading into yet another well mixed section that finishes with the best use of Tigris I’ve ever heard.

That Hedonistik has managed to put together such a coherent set and still work in his newer productions is really next-level, putting this a step above both a live PA and the efforts of most non-producing DJs. The kind of melodic set I like best, this one’s a masterclass and one of FINRG’s strongest uploads all year.

1. Polaritia – Fear the Fire
2. Transcend & Cyrax – Quell
3. Kokomochi – Artemis
4. Substanced- Redemption
5. Hedonistik Ritual- Exorcist
6. Hyphen- Antiproton Decelerator
7. Hedonistik Ritual- Enjoy
8. Visionary – Taste the Funk(Cube::Hard Remix)
9. Hedonistik Ritual- Desecration
10. Hedonistik Ritual- Free the World
11. Hyphen – Zinzya
12. Hedonistik Ritual- Destination
13. Alek Szahala – Tigris

Not much to add to the title, but an extra apology for the delay as I know some have been waiting for the store page to wake up again. I’ve restocked on packaging and will be able to send out any orders pretty soon after they arrive – it’ll be the same setup as last time, with me aiming to send any out within 3 days. If it ends up being longer for whatever reason then I’ll drop you a message via email to let you know. There’s no tracking on the deliveries, but if you’ve placed an order and would like to know exactly when I sent it out, chase me up via email and I’ll be happy to check.

The store page can be found here.

With barely 120 SoundCloud listens so far, Melancholia’s rather special Lucky Lotus set remains slept on by too many. Whether a post on the dusty pages of TYFTH will make much difference is doubtful, but either way I’d like to pay proper tribute to one of the finest sets I’ve heard for years.

Although I’ve been familiar with Melancholia’s sample-heavy mixing style for quite a while, this time around the tracklist couldn’t get much closer to the TYFTH ideal. Add in to that some pretty inspiring mixing, and you’ll understand why I was so excited about this one.

Self Extortion is obviously a good start (with bonus points for some great work on the intro), and one that gets even better thanks to an impressive harmonic mix into Aurora. That super smooth Sylph into Byrgius transition is a standout, while the way Eternity Has Passed mixes in next, underneath Byrgius’ filters, is a sign of Melancholia’s technical flexibility. A combination that could have sounded very messy is instead nicely aggressive, with some voice samples papering over any of the gaps that are left.

You’ll notice a lot of trademark sample usage here and there, including some fantastic use of the Self Extortion vocals. Others are less effective to my ears – Aryx’s melancholy breakdowns are probably vocal-less for reason, after all, but on the whole they’re both well selected and well timed. There’s generally a nice line being walked between the po-faced samples you often hear in Finnish tracks and the nudge-and-a-wink semi-comedy style of some UK freeform (‘At ease, listen up!’ is one of my favourites here).

Hearing Eternity Has Passed at 175ish makes me realise how much I like it, and it’s probably somewhere in my top 5 Betwixt tunes when played at this speed. It’s a reminder of how, when Betwixt was really feeling the inspiration, even Nomic or Alek would struggle to match him. What I’d give to hear a modern freeform bootleg or two.

The samples appear again as the set moves into Axiomatic System, giving some listening landmarks that are so effective that I might do some experimenting of my own in this style. As for Lost Soul, I’ve surely lamented before that there are an awful lot of tracks that have some fantastic moments but never quite live up to the atmosphere I’m expecting. Here Melancholia’s solution is to combine an effective snippet of the track with the ever-reliable Iron Squid. Ephexis’ Destination Entheogen remix is right up there with their best, and here makes for a surprising but effective finale. With the shortened use of Axiomatic System I’d prefer DE to be given more time – as the first four tracks had longer play it would help greatly with the flow of the second half of the set. That’s tricky to balance in a 22-minute mix though, and a minor weak spot in a massively impressive piece of work.

I’m biased thanks to the track selection, but this would still be a must-listen thanks to the technical quality on show. If you’ve been feeling a bit stuck in a mixing rut then this could well give you some new ideas, and those non-DJs who stick to listening will probably end up making this their TYFTH-style go-to for a long while.

01. Betwixt & Between – Self Extortion
02. Aryx – Aurora
03. Aryx – Sylph
04. Aryx & Alek Száhala – Byrgius
05. Betwixt & Between – Eternity Has Passed
06. Lost Soul – Axiomatic System
07. Alek Száhala – Iron Squid
08. Alias A.K.A. & Johan Floss – Destination Entheogen (Ephexis Remix)