UK

A quick post here for anyone else who might have missed this fine release last year from FutureProof Sounds. Known of course for their freeform, here FPS have come up with an excellent Decion/Alchemiist combo around the 155bpm mark.

Decion’s track is on the harder end of the style he has become known for since, and (super clean modern production aside) would have fitted right into the Hybridize lineup back in the day with its bright melody/nasty synth combos. A great track – for a hard dance set with some psy elements, this could be just the thing.

Alchemiist continues to keep up my interest in the traditional style of Hard NRG, which is almost universally disppointing when I hear it from other producers. I wouldn’t put Bombing Run up there with the very best of his older NRG, but it’s a solid track, again with some impressive production.

A couple of weeks ago I uploaded this Cogi set to YouTube and was meaning to add it here too, partly in the hope of getting some help with the tracklist. This is pretty vintage stuff, probably recorded sometime around 2008-10 and rescued from an old CDR. YouTube’s copyright claims came in handy for once, flagging up a few tracks to get things started – aside from Ultraworld 5 I wouldn’t be able to put a name to any others.

The set itself is excellent, showing of Cogi’s aggressive-with-the-melancholy set construction style and some really nice transitions. An absolutely recommended listen if you haven’t already, and although it isn’t up on SoundCloud there’s a download link for the set in the video description.

If for whatever reason you’ve visited TYFTH in the past few days, you might not have noticed the change of address – the site has finally moved to a new host and cleared up the issues that stopped the posting last year.

To celebrate, here’s a set of older NRG that I’ve been working on occasionally for the past few months. It’s been in the planning stages for a lot longer than that, but after hearing Alek’s Lab 4 mashup I was able to work that in and finally get the whole thing done. I even did a couple of set tests on twitch recently – although the issues with that last year were a lot more complex than one faulty cable, sound seems to be back again, from what I can tell.

The TYFTH site is back, then, but it’s a busy time for me and things won’t be too lively around here or on twitch for the forseeable. Saying that, there are some interesting happenings on the horizon that I’ll definitely mention here, as and when.

For the time being, hope you enjoy the set.

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.

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.

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

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)

Giving the tracklists their own post is also a chance to say a big thanks to everyone who stopped by to listen! My thinking at first was to make it an almost-test stream, and so that’s why there was no promotion other than here and Mastodon. In the end though, with a small but awesome group of listeners, I had a great time and was more than happy to do a ‘for those who know’ longer stream.

It was quite the rush to get things set up in time yesterday, which inevitably meant I would forget something important. As the stream ended I realised what it was – for some reason I hadn’t set the stream to record. Massive apologies for that, but it does probably mean that I’ll be double checking from now on, and also that I can reuse the occasional transition from yesterday without too many worries.

Look out for more sets in the future then, albeit with the promo/rare stuff set postponed slightly so I can record the next stream. It was nice to see that even yesterday’s set had a few unheard tracks here and there, so I hope the tracklists are useful.

[Goa Trance]
01. E-Mantra – Dansul Ielelor
02. E-Mantra – Ravenmocker
03. Proxeeus – Something Lurks on Yuggoth
04. Alienapia & Khetzal – Endless Glade
05. Mindsphere – Divine Intervention

[NRG]
01. Alchemiist – Dead Silence
02. Risa – Air Str1ke
03. NooNoo & Anna K – Sleep is for the Week (Alchemiist remix)
04. Lab4 – Blackstar
05. Hase – Attacker
06. Pure Underground – Amb (Tyranoid vs Michael Strongstream remix)
07. Alek Szahala – Alanamra
08. Alek Szahala – Starfall
09. Betwixt & Between – 7th world

Believe it or not, this post is in response to a few requests I had, many years ago, to talk a little about how I put my sets together. Back then I felt I had a lot to work on, and either way wasn’t really confident enough to articulate what I’d learned so far. Although there’s still plenty to improve, the combination of more regularly hitting what I feel is the ‘TYFTH style’ and the collected notes made during a decade of mixing mean that now might be the right time to give an explanation a try.

With as many mixing styles as there are DJs, it should really go without saying (despite the occasional imperative mood) that I’m in no way prescribing this as the way to put a freeform set together. Taking set construction so seriously has always been massively rewarding for me though, so the hope is that this will be an interesting look behind the scenes for those who enjoy TYFTH’s mixes.

These thoughts (they’re far too meandering to be called a guide) are roughly divided into three sections, covering the main steps in my mixing process. Particularly important points are noted along the way, and to help with the explanations a few PD sets (or even transitions within them) are used as examples, as well as occasional mentions of non-freeform sets that have inspired me over the years.

Continue Reading

Some housekeeping for the comeback post, as In Praise of Shadows is available again via the bigcartel page. Of course it was offline for a while during my Europe wanderings so that potential orders weren’t on hold for a month and a bit, rather than having sold out. Although the compilation has sold repectably by recent (or 2016) standards, the print run was closer to 2007 golden era numbers, meaning there’s plenty of stock left. That also means, sadly, that there’s a long way to go before costs are recouped, but as a labour of love I’m not so worried about that part. Financially idiotic or not, I’m glad to have kept the quality bar very high for all aspects of the release.

Anyway, I thought I’d also use this post to say a massive thank you to everyone who has ordered so far. Even this year there has been a small but pretty steady flow of orders, which is especially amazing considering my lack of action here or promotion elsewhere. The compilation has now found its way to 18 countries, and I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to imagine it being played around the world. A second release might only be wishful thinking at the moment, but keeping the TYFTH sound alive in some form or another is I hope a decent way to start repaying you for the support so far.