I’m sure we’ve mentioned the Smiling Corpse Slack group before? If you were previously signed up to the now-departed Freeform Forum then you likely received a recent, gentle reminder that the Slack is the new place for freeform folk to gather. There’s definitely potential there and discussion seemed very lively when I first signed up, even if the time difference between Japan and Europe/the US makes it trickier for me to really take part. I’ll definitely be popping back now and then, and hopefully this link (thanks Sherkel!) will lead non-members to a sign-up page – with freeform awash in releases for an apparently shrinking audience, anything that solidifies the community a bit more is very welcome indeed.
Thought I’d make the most of this quiet spell for new sets by posting up another favourite from the Golden Age. This time it’s the very beginning – Alek Száhala playing at Säde, almost 14 years ago. That a good few of the tracks would still be in my all-time top ten says it a lot for Alek’s production, but this set is extra special for the live edits and interesting transitions that we don’t see much of from Live PA artists these days. Imagine hearing Invitation suddenly leaping into this set, back in 2003, or the atmosphere during the Afternoon Owl – Man Eaten mix.
Time for the traditional ‘look back at a CODEX from months ago’ post – as the only Japanese freeform event of 2016, CODEX7 definitely deserves a proper recap. With guest cancellations and a last-minute change of lineup there was potential for calamity, but Raqhow and the rest of the crew managed to put on one of the best events of recent years. There was also the small matter of In Praise of Shadows’ release, and it was on sale at the event alongside the CODEX EP, Alias A.K.A.’s Freeform Remixes, and the new Tesla Tracks compilation.
Not much to add to the title really – while looking into any sets that I might have missed this year I discovered a doujinstyle archive of all four days of Lucky Lotus 6. Plenty of these mixes haven’t appeared anywhere else since the event, so this should be the first place to check if you missed out at the time.
Following on from the release of Galaxy comes a new uploaded set from Alabaster, and actually (as Shimotsukei pointed out the other day) his first ever downloadable set. This one takes the form of a Live PA, something he has only done a couple of times at CODEX, showing off what a quality back catalogue he has built up over the years.
The set goes back as far as a release on Druggy’s Acid Rack and finishes in 2016 with Galaxy, including a few of my all-time favourites. Acid Maker, Oxyale, Iolite and both Rebuild tracks are all in here, as well as Void, a track I played at my very first Hell’s Gate. There’s a nice flow to the set as it heads towards the newer Rebuild/TYFTH releases, and it covers the full range of those distinctive Alabaster melodies – just staying the right side of ‘too uplifting’ and often heading into properly melancholy territory.
Glance up to the top of this page and you should notice ‘TYFTH Forum’ alongside all the regular headers – it has taken a while, but now TYFTH finally has somewhere more useful for discussion. As long as user registration goes smoothly the basics seem to be in place, but bear with me in the event of any technical wobbles.
The haphazard early design ideas have been dialled back to something that hopefuly resembles the new site theme, but if you have any feedback on font sizes, background colour choices etc then please let me know and tweaks will follow.
Also, feedback’s welcome on the subforums as they stand – I’ve gone for NRG/Freeform Discussion, New Releases/Mixes/Events, Production/DJing Discussion and Off Topic. I’ve no idea how well subscribed the forum will eventually be, but even with what’ll surely be a smallish number of initial posters that feels like a workable setup.
That’s about it for now – no matter the size, I hope the TYFTH forum will end up as a welcoming spot for veteran Horsers and newcomers alike to share some thoughts. In a perfect world there wouldn’t need to be much moderation (I’ll be the only poster with the power of mod for now), but a short list of Forum Rules would probably be useful either way. For now, common sense is the way to go, and judging by the site’s comment threads over the years we don’t have too much to worry about.
I’ve gone for the old faithful, the introduction thread, to start us off, but feel very free to launch off into a new topic of your choosing!
What’s happening here, then? Since the album release I’ve been neglecting my to-do list and instead TYFTH and music-related stuff has been pretty scattergun as I fit it around Real Life. Time to change that, starting with a spruce up of the site itself in preparation for the new forum.
As I’m usually safely tucked away in WordPress’ dashboard it has taken a while for me to realise quite how antiquated and user-unfriendly the site’s theme has become. The design was great, for sure, and that aesthetic tied in perfectly with a lot that went on here, but goodness me there was wasted space everywhere, now-redundant sidebars and cramped space for images and video. While I’m sure there are a million other options I could have gone for, with a few tweaks I think this might do the job very well – it’s intentionally a lot more minimal, has a nice amount of room for images (and even a new header), and also includes some actually-useful features like a ‘recent comment’ box on the right.
My reckoning is the new useability will make up for any pining over the loss of dark twirly design touches, but do let me know what you think. The other factor is the upcoming forum, and this will definitely allow more space for it – unfortunately the pilot version will likely be a desperately basic, vanilla effort, until I work out a few styling tricks. If anyone would like to help out on that front, please get in touch.
No more time this evening, but a few posts to test this layout will be on the way soon, and there could even be some forum action over the weekend…
I’ll do my best to get around to adding a few delayed posts soon, but in the meantime here’s a quick heads up that TYFTH now has a YouTube channel of its own. I’ll be reuploading some old videos from the plasmadancer account (which has ceased to be), along with previews from the album and elsewhere. I’m also adding a few of my favourite sets for those who still do their music listening on YT.
Something else I’ve been meaning to mention for a while is Psychic Formers, a new psy/freeform compilation, featuring the ever-present Hyphen and a lovely comeback track from ikaruga_nex.
Variety looks to be the goal here, and while there are also quality, high bpm tunes from Ata and polysha, the rest of the album takes a gentler stroll through some slow paced, melodic psy. This could be another chance for new listeners to join the scene, then, though the release is currently only announced for this year’s M3 event, taking place in Tokyo on Sunday.