TYFTH has been in cryostasis for a year or so, and truth be told I haven’t been listening to much freeform either. The chronic lack of new releases was part of the reason, but Exemia’s Retribution almost made up for this all by itself. Freeform album of 2021 without a doubt, and his strongest so far, which is saying something.
The balance is spot on here, with some real weight to the kick/bass alongside some complex melodies. They’ve always been an Exemia strong suit, but this time I can also hear an occasional Qygen influence (maybe something from the Blue Revolver days?) that works excellently. The creativity on show here’s pretty incredible, from nastier work like Cultist Killer to the beautiful almost-finale When the sun sets.
Make sure to show some support if you haven’t already – even with signs of the scene waking up a little, it really needs more artists of Exemeia’s level to keep it going.
Big thanks as always for those who stopped by to listen on Friday, especially at such short notice.
I wasn’t on peak form this time, but it’s a nice reminder of how useful the streams can be to keep me sharp – in my defence I haven’t had much chance to play goa recently and had less time for planning during the week than expected. The plans are still afoot for another set this month, as there’s been something in the works for a while that won’t need too much extra organising.
Still, I’m happy with this short set and it’s now up on YouTube. A couple of the transitions were supposed to go a little differently (choosing when to switch up the bass makes all the difference, of course) and so I think I’ll try a rerecording for SoundCloud. Rest in the Light brought in quite a few goa fans over there and I’d like to upload something a bit cleaner than I managed the other evening.
Both YouTube and the rerecording will include seven rather than eight tracks, as Psy-H Project’s Active Meditation was really an encore of sorts, and I doubt Global Sect would be too happy about me distributing a totally unmixed track at the end of this set. Astrancer’s Neighbor is a lovely finisher anyway – it fits in very nicely with what I was going for this time.
The first of two sets this month will be tonight at 10pm JST. A little later to give me some wiggle room with other stuff going on today, this is (as you might have seen on Mastodon) a goa session on the melodic side. I do have enough planned out for a darker set too, but that’ll go on the back burner for now.
Although this won’t be an incredibly long set, it will be heavy on the deeper atmospheres with a bit of acid here and there. Something a little different for me to try this time then, and there’ll be some very recent releases in there too.
I’ve been quite busy lately with a few TYFTH-related projects that probably won’t appear here for quite some time, which is the main reason for the post count dropping again. Rather than draw it out even longer, here’s a rapid fire version of some of the SoundCloud recommendations I was meaning to get around to.
Top of the list for good reason is a new upload from Nomic – this time a recording of his 2017 Kosmos set. With the scene having quietened down since then we haven’t heard Nomic’s tracks too often, which might explain why this sounds so fresh. Featuring a wonderful as-yet unreleased WIP, this is a truly beautiful set that still manages to finish with some high grade aggression. Many of us have more time than usual to check out sets these days, but if you can only manage one for the forseeable, this is it.
Next up is my favourite of Proteus’ recent releases, his goa-influenced rework of Gute Nacht. For one reason or another I got some strong UX feelings from this one, so it was interesting to see Proteus shout out Kris Kylven in his track notes. Sadly it doesn’t really have the old school filteriness of UX, but there’s a nice mix of classic Proteus along with the other influences.
Erkenfresh’s Pleading to a Silver Moon wins points for sidestepping a variation on Lockdown/Quarantine/Contagion as a track title, while also excelling as an emotional, energetic freeform track. Absolutely something I would have put forward for Hybridize back in the day, this is very solid work that steps up plenty of gears in the breakdown. While I wish the drop had crashed in earlier, the filters and quality melodies make it well worth the wait.
Finally for now is Malice, a collab track between Alchemiist and Risa, releasing at some point on Drop Bear Digital. From the clip it sounds like the breakdown is the standout here, and while the drop doesn’t seem to do anything too out of the ordinary it looks to be a classic-styled NRG track that would slot into plenty of sets. This won’t be the first release on Drop Bear for either Alchemiist or Risa, so check out Beatport for others in the meantime.
Bad news first – there’s no freeform here, or the high bpm psy/goa influenced stormers we’ve heard before from Synesthesics’ alias, Mellow Sonic. Instead Transcending Consciousness is a phenomenal album of atmospherics that draws on some similar elements, and should have at least something of interest for many Horsers.
Starting with the clearest Psychokinesis influences, then, Celestial is my favourite of the goa/psy-styled tracks. Somewhere around 150bpm, it’s a lovely, deep acid track that inevitably had me wishing for more of the freeform that I fell in love with last time around. These are great tracks though, living up to their sci-fi styling to such a degree that they’d probably be tough to mix with the majority of goa. Adding some depth to a psytrance set could be where they’d shine, but what would I know about that?
The album’s title track could well be my favourite, some superb breaks that easily match Alek Szahala’s experiments along these lines. One of those genres I’d like to get more into, but it would have to be up to this quality for me to take interest. Proper melancholy cyberpunk atmospheres here, I think it’s fantastic.
The second half of the album is the highest standard of drum and bass production I’ve yet heard from Synesthesics, and even if it’s not my preferred genre some similar atmospheres are continued here. I’m no expert on more sci-fi styled drum and bass, but this is excellent stuff that gave me older Black Sun Empire feelings in places.
The wait continues for more Mellow Sonic freeform, but this is an inspiring mix of styles to enjoy in the meantime, and comes highly recommended.
Thanks again to everyone who stopped by for the last stream – seems like this one caught some interest and there was a decent-sized group listening live, especially given the last-minute promotion. Listening back I’m pleasantly surprised by how well the set works, so this one has also gone up on the TYFTH SoundCloud. There’s a much bigger audience over there, for what turned out to be a nice ‘beginner’s set’ with plenty of newer tracks.
The initial idea was to build the whole thing around more melodic freeform, but it also ended up feeling a lot like one of my old school sets. They tended to mix up melodies and nastier tracks a lot more than I do these days, and it was quite refreshing to rattle through a new generation of tracks in that style. The Exit 133 – No Choice At All transition is one I’ve been sitting on for a while, tweaked a bit here but still a very welcoming combination that leads into the faster-feeling modern tracks. polaritia’s tracks were my go-to when I realised that I didn’t want things to head into ‘happy freeform’ territory – maybe it was mixing muscle memory that transformed the set into something I might have played at Hell’s Gate all those years ago.
Cannibal Girl was as fun to use as expected, and I have a feeling that it could become the Hellfire of the current era – very flexible and able to switch up the atmosphere of almost any set. Less planned was the choice of Rise From The Darkness, as I actually bought the track an hour before the start of the stream. I’d been scrambling for something to link with Facemelt, so that along with the breakdown’s nod back to Cannibal Girl made it a good choice.
The set was supposed to end with Zafkiel, but I was having such a good time I thought to carry on a little longer. SIBYL was a nod to Kokomochi in the stream chat, as it’s by far my favourite of his tracks, followed by Substanced’s remix of Cyclone. I’m yet to find a really good transition for it, which meant I didn’t feel quite so bad shoehorning it into the ‘encore’ slot.
There are still a fair few tracks on the more melodic side that I’d like to play, so it might not be a bad idea to switch things up with another set in this style before too long.
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.
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.
[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
Keeping that consistent streaming streak going, it’s almost time for the second TYFTH Live. Mastodon watchers will have seen some live indecision from me today, as I really haven’t been in the mood for NRG this week and finally decided to call it earlier this afternoon. Typically, all it took was one more practice with some unusual tracks to get some inspiration going though, so we’re back to original scheme of two relatively shorter sets.
The first will be some goa trance, likely to be heavy on the E-Mantra but a little more melodic than I’ve played in the past. After that will be some NRG, and I’ll likely be keeping things fairly simple while I get back into the swing of mixing publicly and precariously balancing computers here and there. The simpler mixing (in both sets, to a degree) will mean I’ll be more able to check the chat, so this could be a nice chance for a catch up, too.
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.