What’s this, another recent set to check out? Hedonistik Ritual is now settling into a schedule with his Hard Tranceformers podcast, a hugely impressive two-hour session of trance up to freeform. I’m biased this time, but even as someone who doesn’t care much for (non Goa) trance or hard trance these sets are excellent. Enough variety to keep anyone interested, and some quality track introductions and other info from Hedonistik while he plays.
This time it’s Cyhyraeth that made an appearance in a set – superbly mixed in after Powers Beyond(!) and followed by Drug Abuse, something I never would have imagined. Aside from being played at an in-person event I can’t imagine there are many better feelings than hearing another DJ do something creative with one of your tracks, so this was a real treat. Special thanks to Hedonistik for the kind words while introing the tune, and extra kudos for nailing the cyhyraeth pronunciation.
Early impressions are that these podcasts are (unsurprisingly) getting a wider listening audience than the usual freeform veterans, making them a fine entry into our reawakening scene for trance/hard trance fans.
Time for a belated look at another Asukarai Matsuri set, again a pretty fascinating look at how a talented newcomer to the scene approaches the NRG and freeform back catalogues. This is a great hour of freeform, and very recommended even if you’ve heard most of the tracks a million times before.
The track selection definitely reminds me of my own early days, with some of the all-time classic melodic tracks alongside more aggressive sections. Global Killer – Tuonela is a fine start, but it’s probably the next section where things step up a level. A darker atmosphere moves smoothly into Voices of Babylon, followed by a very impressive stretch of filtery melodic tracks. It obviously made my day to hear Hell’s Gate, especially as the transition into Morokai is one of the very best of the set. The finale is a classic dancefloor-friendly bpm increase, nicely done here with some Lost Soul and Nirotiy, before Hydra deepens things at the finish.
Overall another excellent set, and what it lacks in unified atmosphere from start to finish it makes up for in quality track selection. With literally a few hundred classic tracks yet to appear in his sets, I’m looking forward to AM’s next tribute to the golden age.
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 appearingonFINRG 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.
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.