UK

Belated shout out for a rare Asahi mix that’s worth checking out for lots of reasons. He’s got such good taste in NRG that it’s always nice to hear one of his sets, and while this one sounds a bit rusty in places there are some top class track combinations that I enjoyed a lot.

I somehow completely forgot about Mask Man, and here it shows what a strong track it is by combining excellently with Lush. I must admit that I zoned out a little once the UK freeform kicked in, but saying that Krater is a quality transition track that could come in handy for a lot of DJs.

The big showstopper for this set has to be the inclusion of an unreleased Booty promo, a superb track with an odd, experimental atmosphere. I wish I could hear more of these, as they make you realise how much influence might have had on the other Romancer artists. Close to zero chance of any of his material seeing a release, so we should all be extra grateful to Asahi for giving them an airing.

Back in the day I used to rely on Midas for my UK freeform, as he would usually find a nice balance between the UK style and FINRG that gave a taste of what was happening in both scenes. More recently Hedonistik Ritual is definitely the one to watch for that, though as a producer and FINRG member he’s going a few steps further, of course. I’m a bit late mentioning this one, but his Exposed Events set was a fine example.

The set starts off with some Lab 4/Substanced/Carbon Based, easing into things before the UK freeform comes in. It’s always interesting to hear a mix of the two like this (even if this set is definitely more on the UK side), especially with Hedonistik’s energetic mixing style that always keeps the interest up. As many will know, he used to be (still is?) an MC, so he’s a natural at hosting and introducing this sort of streamed event.

Watch out especially for Hedonistik’s tracks, Pelko’s Hellchoir and a nice use of Kokomochi’s Megaptera towards the end.

1.Lab4 – Reformation (Nick the Kid Remix) Intro
2.Lab 4 – Reformation (Carbon Based Remix)
3. Substanced – Geneva pt 3 (Carbon Based Remix)
4. DJ Scot Project – O (Mark Sherry’s Acidburst Remix)
5. Alex Mo – Over the Rainbow
6. Hedonistik Ritual – Invasion
7. Pelko – Hellchoir
8. Aeon – Apostasy
9. Angel 0A – Psychokiller
10. Kokomochi – Megaptera
11. Kevin Energy & Afterburner – Escape Velocity
12. Impact – Phat as Phuck (A.B & Hedonistik Ritual’s Keep it Freeform Remix)
13. Ephexis – Sick Seduction

If you’re dedicated enough of a Horser to still be visiting these realms this is already old news, but either way it’s about time to mention that my first official release, Cyhyraeth,  is appearing on FINRG today. Although it probably sounds laughable to all those artists with dozens of releases to their names, for this long-time non-producing DJ a release on FINRG has to be up there in the top 3 career highlights. Not only that, mind – Cyhyraeth is release 001 of FINRG Legacy, the new home for freeform that continues the lineage of the original Finnish sound. One of the nicest responses I’ve had to the track was ‘It makes me feel the darkness of the 2000s,’ and that was exactly what I was going for. I’m not in a position to put together another In Praise of Shadows right now, so this track was an attempt to point back to those incredible early atmospheres, for all the freeform newcomers who didn’t experience them in the mid-2000s (or the veterans who have since forgotten them – which seems like a sizeable crowd too).

It won’t be much of a surprise to learn that I’ve been working on various incarnations of this track and others for years, especially given my approach to mix planning. It’s in the last year or two, though, that I decided to really take the production side more seriously. The rule was to finish at least one original track before working on any remixes, and so here we are.

I wonder how many other DJs can relate to this, but after years of playing most of the genre’s all-time greatest tracks, it’s been unbelievably intimidating to try something of my own. After plenty of wrestling with this, I finally came up with three requirements for anything new before it would go public:

  • Would I play this track in a set of my own?
  • Would it make me dance?
  • Would it fit into a mid-2000s FINRG set?

Cyhyraeth is far from a perfect track of course, but eventually I got to a point of ‘Yes’ in answer to all of those. Happily it also felt that I was forming a bit more of a distinctive style while working through those questions, even if the ‘pale imitation of Alek’ aspect might always be there somewhere. Something I brought back from my mid-late 90s FastTracker days was to decide on the title first, as that always used to be super important in building an identity and atmosphere for the track (even in the odd breakbeat stuff I used to make back then). Cyhyraeth wouldn’t sound anything like this if I hadn’t kept that fairly disturbing Welsh myth in mind while putting it together.

There’s a lot of Goa influence too, which you’ll especially hear in the full version. It makes it harder to mix than some freeform tracks, but that was also intentional. Working a lot with Exemia’s tracks (or past Goa sets) reminded me of the obvious – mixing challenging tracks makes you a better DJ, no question.

Anyway, I’m very grateful for the positive/constructive feedback I’ve had on this track and I’ll be taking it all into the next one. Who knows when/if that’ll appear, but clearing this hurdle was a massive step that bodes pretty well. Final, massive thanks to Robin Petras for his wizardry on the mastering and solid gold feedback/advice throughout. After his incredible work on the compilation I was quick to get in touch with him this time, and somehow he outdid himself once again.

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)