Japanese

Thanks to Shimotsukei I saw this Tano*C stream recording for the first time the other day, including a rare video of a whole Betwixt & Between set (starting here). No live PA this time though, instead he’s mixing mainstream hardcore. He would often say that he preferred PAs because he didn’t know how to DJ, but he had some mixing experience by this stage and it’s a good effort.

Truth be told it’s hard to watch this without getting a bit emotional, especially considering the timing. Hopefully there are a few other sets/event videos floating around that I’ve missed up until now.

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?

All systems go for the second attempt at TYFTH Live 008, a year and a half later. I’ve been testing out all the necessaries this week, and a final secret test stream a few minutes ago (only a quick sound test) was the final check needed. The main event’ll be starting at 19:30 JST, with a few minutes for sound checking before that.

Tomorrow’s stream will be an Exemia-only freeform set, something I’ve been cryptically referencing on Mastodon for a while now. It’s been lots of fun but a big challenge to put this one together, with tricky transitions all over the place. It’ll be recorded and uploaded as and when (or rerecorded if there are any disasters), but  all are welcome to stop by the usual place for the live version!

For a while now I’ve been meaning to highlight Rinne Tensei as one of the best tracks of the year, so here it is alongside a very recent release.

polaritia’s track might have been missed by some, as it was hiding in the middle of a downtempo/electro-heavy release on Artificial World called Regenerate one’s own world. Even by Artifical World standards it’s full of diverse, leftfield tracks, so extra credit to polaritia for showing that you reach the same emotions at freeform bpm. His track touches on the UK freeform-meets-gentle-FINRG style that’s pretty much the default mode for Japanese releases these days, but the Nomic-influenced side of his production ensures there’s a lot more to it than that. Nomic aside, he’s definitely become one of the best producers in the scene at taking on these emotional piano breakdowns.

U-F SEQUENCER’s track is also on the melodic side, albeit with that trademark UFS crazed synth work here and there. It’d need some gymnastics to get this into one of my sets, but I’m a big fan after a couple of listens. Really nice work on the second half of the track, with even some echoes of late-era Betwixt here and there. Free download on this one, by the way.

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.

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.

Current circumstances seem to have been the trigger for a few DJs to return to mixing, happily including Asahi who was way ahead of the general Japanese curve a couple of weeks ago. This is much more of an industrial set than NRG, but not something you’re going to hear anywhere else and comes very recommended.

Asahi has nailed the Dark Dimension atmosphere, with some industrial anthems combined with Grimsoul (!), Lab4, and even Configsys PROJECT. I know from experience how hard industrial can be to mix, what with those unconventional structures and short intro/outros, making the construction here all the more impressive. Extra respect for the use of Resurrection, perfectly placed as an energetic centrepiece to the set.

Although there are a couple of wobbly moments in the second half that I’d put down to a combination of indutrial weirdness and Asahi’s rustiness, the selection’s still superb and they’re certainly nothing to worry about.

Give this a try, then, as even if you’d prefer more NRG it will very likely inspire a few new mixing or listening ideas.

01. god destruction – Across the light
02. Phyton VS Grimsoul – Phantom
03. Seileen – Lanmento della sirena
04. X SICKFREAK – Open Your Eyes
05. Cyferdyne – Cables and Codes
06. Lab4 – Resurrection
07. Alien Vampires – All The Fakes Mast Die(Benjamins Plaue Remix)
08. Hocico – Born to be Hated
09. Alien Vampires – Hell Descent
10. Reaxion Guerrilla – Sacrifice(Asinaptico Remix)
11. Aim&Execute – Phantom Energy
12. T3rror 3rror – Domination
13. Configsys PROJECT – Ode To Charli

It’s looking likely that my next ‘studio’ set will include a U-F SEQUENCER track, so this caught my eye right away. As a free release you’ve got nothing to lose either way, making Thunderbolt a strong choice if you’re experimenting with Japanese sounds in your melodic freeform sets.

I’ve often thought that U-F SEQUENCER has quite a lot in common with Betwixt in his more conventional freeform moments, as there’s a peculiar style to their melodies that you don’t very often hear anywhere else (ikaruga_nex might be another?). SEQUENCER’s tracks don’t tend to go to that next (Betwixt) level, but there’s a lot to like here and I’m going to try working with Thunderbolt when I find some other contenders in this style.

Make sure to look through SEQUENCER’s bandcamp if you haven’t before, there’s so much good work there that deserves to get some play, both on the freeform and hardcore sides.