USA

Time for a much delayed look at Sherkel’s latest production mix, a highly recommended set for anyone looking for some Romancer-style NRG. That’s not to say it relies completely on Sherkel’s amazing ability to capture the sound of Einhander though, as the set has plenty of more creative melodies and some high quality remix work.

To my ears this is without doubt the strongest set from Sherkel so far, and the best example yet of the sound he has been forming over the past few years. All three of the original tracks are excellent in different ways – Coincide is perhaps most similar to previous work, with plenty of energy and an excellent breakdown, while Rising Waves has one of the most distinctive, oddly calming atmospheres I’ve heard for a long time. 死人花 (Shibitohana) is a fitting set finisher, with its quality, hectic melodies and another inspired breakdown.

Talking of inspiration, you can feel it in full force for the Surendrajit remix, adding more NRG style to the track and (pleasingly) not replicating Betwixt’s structure completely. Instead this is a proper remix, gophering deep into Sherkel’s style in the second half with some lovely updated melodies and impressive synth work. Short Circuit is the other remix (one I had to look up) and is equally well-handled. Sherkel’s done well to spot the NRG potential in this one but also managed the difficult part, putting together a catchy, powerful track that will appeal whether you’re familiar with the original or not. The Sherkely synths filtering around the sampled vocals are especially great.

To reiterate, then, this is impressive work and genuinely a set that would have gone down well at either Romancer or CODEX. Hopefully there’s more on the way for next year?

The Horsers have been out in force to congratulate Sherkel on this already, but there should be no hiding in a roundup post for a track of this quality. Both a sign of how far Sherkel has come with his production and an absolutely superb example of how to do a remix, I’m in love with this one and feel pretty sure that both Hase and Betwixt would approve.

Although Sherkel perfected the Einhander style of filtering a long while ago, here he’s also found a lovely balance between his experimental side and NRG convention. The breakdowns make for an unusual structure that still works, thanks to a unique atmosphere and some incredible filtering that has a new trick in store every minute or so. Rounded out by some at-least-as-good-as-Einhander work on the fills and percussion and a very clean mastering job, this is fabulous stuff.

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.

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.

 

Anyone following Shimotsukei’s SoundCloud will have noticed a recent burst of incredible mashups, mostly featuring Betwixt & Between – but for everyone else, it’s about time I pointed out a couple of favourites.

So far, of the uploaded versions, I’m probably the biggest fan of Phaedra’s Hypnodisc, a lovely, aggressive mashup that somehow balances the odd atmospheres of both tracks to come up with something new. Both have detuned sounds all over the place that make ‘normal’ mixing difficult enough, but this mashup impresses as it keeps it all together. The extra weight at the lower ends also benefits both, making them a lot more playable in more modern sets. A really incredible effort and the best (online) example so far of what Shimotsukei’s been working on.

Check it out at Shimotsukei’s SoundCloud along with the ambitous Tindaros Invasion, another highlight. You Are Surging, meanwhile, is a quality mashup but still not enough to make me listen to Betwixt’s remix of You Are, something I’ve never been able to play all the way through thanks to some truly painful vocals.

Now’s probably also a good time to mention Shimo’s superb Megabyrgium, a mashup that deserved its own post a couple of years ago and still holds up brilliantly. Still no download, but an absolute must-listen.

 

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.

The final Lucky Lotus online event has begun, and fittingly it’s the biggest so far with another very strong lineup.

Despite the lack of fanfare here you might even have noticed my name on the flyer once again – I’m very happy to be appearing with Shimotsukei for another back to back set. The timing wasn’t ideal (TYFTH hasn’t been in hibernation for nothing), but we’ve somehow come up with one of our best sets so far, running for a almost-silly 2 hours and 20 minutes. Hang in there for the whole thing if you can – it’s thanks to Shimo’s efforts that this all came together so well, while I tried to do my bit with more variety than I’m usually known for. It’ll be broadcast at 11:12-ish pm JST on Saturday, with both of us likely to be in the chat.

There’s a lot to look out for over the other days of the festival too – I’ll copy the full timetable below, but check the Facebook event page for full info. First glance highlights for those of a TYFTH persuasion might be Byproduct, Lab 4, Lv.4, Orphic, and Solvynt, with a lot of non-freeform names to make time for, too.

 

Timetable is in EST (-4 GMT)
Thursday
4:00 Vermillionaire
4:54 Slax
5:40 DJ Buttbaby
6:13 Debisco
6:58 mizu
7:42 Power2All
8:14 DJ D-Tor
8:49 Daniel Seven
9:49 DJ Neon
10:48 hyleo
11:30 W.T Snacks
12:29 CHZK
13:12 D-Luc-D
14:01 Komrad Zerokusu aka Neodash Zerox
15:00 Velatix
15:51 Furystomper
16:36 Drop Team Epic
17:36 E*Tank
18:09 Tamerax
19:05 DJ COSMiXXX
20:03 Audio X
20:47 Jampers&nd
21:48 Galaxy Kid
22:47 SecretC
23:16 diSKo Matic
00:08 END

Friday
6:00 撲殺少女工房 (Bokusatsu Shoujo Koubou)
6:44 Nadesicore
7:32 Tomatoism
8:16 12_1
9:00 Jadeabella
10:03 sabi
10:33 Solvynt
11:19 Coakira
12:04 Byproduct
13:00 DJ Amaya
13:59 DJ Stretchmark
14:44 rainy☆
15:39 Adinga
16:11 Fracus & Darwin
17:10 r_CREαт:FθсвеT
18:20 DJ Genki
19:20 DJ Speedycake
20:20 Nakura
21:20 STuwu
22:19 KyuubiRaver
22:50 Alaguan
23:50 END

Saturday
5:00 Chibby
5:30 Tomoyu
6:13 かたぎり
7:11 TamolarM
7:56 S3RL
9:12 Plasmadancer vs Shimotsukei
11:33 Noizenecio
12:18 Xavi BCN
13:17 quad (luvtrax)
14:17 Jennifer Walton
14:45 Lolistyle Gabbers
15:33 Jimni Cricket
16:32 Aki
17:32 TakeBakaShit feat. MC Otaking
18:36 DJ Melancholia
18:58 JAKAZiD
20:03 DJ4X
20:35 FlapJack
21:35 DJ Archari
22:05 Zovi
22:25 The D
22:56 Ranzor
23:34 END

Sunday
6:00 Capchii
6:59 Nishimura
7:45 Abitan
8:45 h11ky
9:17 LV.4
10:17 XIO
11:16 Lab4
12:16 Foxyun
13:21 DJ Liet
14:21 Ori Uplift
15:22 LOLIPO
15:46 DJ Reflection
16:14 4nzu
16:45 DJ Jo
17:29 DJ Akatsuki
18:15 Goreshit
19:00 DJ Virus
19:45 Archefluxx
20:30 Rob VanWest
21:31 -AUS-
22:15 Gabberbone
22:45 DJ Tenshin
23:18 Chia
23:49 Makobeats
00:08 END

Monday
6:00 DJ Taku
6:29 Raul Ivalo
7:28 YUKIYANAGI
7:58 Liteblue
8:29 Takuya Angel
9:33 android52
10:19 96-glass
11:04 MaidenV
11:39 CheezyP
12:39 MesoPhunk
13:24 Round Wave Crusher
14:23 Riku Namako
14:53 ViolonC
15:53 Illumize
16:40 hiero.
17:30 Kishuni
18:00 Sephi Hakubi
19:00 Orphic
20:01 Vau Boy
20:47 Noc.V
21:32 rainyrhy
22:32 WK9
23:02 Kuro
23:48 pea_txt
00:49 AFTER PARTY BEGINS

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.

Even with a lot of catching up to do after recent weeks this guest set for Hardcore Junglists United by Shimotsukei has remained top of the to-post pile. Definitely the best I’ve heard from her in a long time, this is one of those sets that was obviously a labour of love and manages to bring together just about all of my favourite freeform elements.

I’d roughly divide the set into three sections, as things start with a very aggressive and genuinely dark opening, followed by some more melodic, uplifting tracks and a finale that makes a decent fist of blending all the previous styles. That opening is quite the thing though, setting a tone that Shimotsukei does a quality job of never straying too far away from. The mixing throughout is excellent, very rarely overdoing things and keeping it simple when longer transitions wouldn’t really work out.

If you can ride the wave successfully, mixing the aggressive filters of two different tracks does wonders for the atmosphere and can give a lot of flexibility in terms of which tracks you use. That proves to be true here at least, with combos like Kadotettu Todellisuus 2009 and Fear Myself working out incredibly well – other highlights might be Adversary – Reign of Terror, and Attacker – Daemons, even coming from a listener who usually struggles to get into Lost Soul’s tracks.

There’s a lot more going on here though, including a fine section of Tyranoid/Strongstream transitions and the mid-set use of Raindrops. It hasn’t shown up in a mix for a very long time, but Nightforce’s melancholy breakdown is a lovely choice as a set centrepiece. Personally I might have slightly shortened the melodic section pre-Attacker, but that’s present-day PD speaking and for many I expect it’ll be a nice break from all the aggression. Even having said that, the limited use of vintage Substanced and only one Transcend track shows that Shimotsukei was clearly going for an atmosphere that wasn’t stretched by too many different styles of melody. Really impressive stuff.

The lack of Alek/Nomic/Betwixt means it isn’t quite the grand tour of the scene you might be expecting in two hours – instead it’s a simply superb set that flows as well as any I’ve heard this year or last.

There’s more Shimotsukei to talk about soon, but before that a quick mention of this three (!) hour NRG session that ticks plenty of the TYFTH boxes. Although there’s already an endless supply of recordings on Shimotsukei’s SoundCloud, it really does add to the enjoyment of live sets when you can see what’s going on. Plus in this case there’s the very helpful overlay to answer any tracklist questions and a pretty lively chat that’s worth keeping an eye on.

If NRG’s your thing then this really is an essential listen – it’s very likely you’ll hear some forgotten classics as well as some more obscure selections. As things move into freeform territory it’s also a good chance for fellow DJs to check a few Before the Dawn tracks in a (well) mixed environment