10 comments on “Thoughts on TYFTH Mix Construction

  1. I hope you still plan to keep the blog going, considering the impossibility of properly following a post like this! What to say now, hmm…mixing for me has dealt almost exclusively with my own tracks for the past few years, luckily limiting the amount of things I have to consider on that front. I can say the bit about using Lush’s breakdown as an intro definitely rings true, as there are some I find myself tending to huge sections of to keep a workable pace going. Can’t think of more to add. It’s amazing to see you finally lay out the thought process behind your sets; I knew it went far, but not quite this far!

    • What a starting point you’ve got though, beginning with a set entirely of your own! It could be really interesting to go the Betwixt route and try including occasional tracks from other artists?

      And thanks, I’m very glad to hear that you and others are getting something from the post! What to follow it up with is a question that’ll need a bit more thought…

      • “The Betwixt route” as you described it basically sums up my (short and very infrequent) practice sessions. Most of the time there will be one or two tracks that I think might work well with what I have, and I’ve experimented with quite the handful by now. Unsurprisingly most of them are from early Betwixt and Guld. It’s good to be reminded to give it another go, though it’s certainly fallen among my priorities lately…

        (Because I don’t know where else to add this right now, I have that stuff you wanted me to send ready, but currently getting it all in the right place involves two computers, so there might be a bit more delay. Hope that’s alright.)

  2. A process post. I love processes.
    That guide sure is coming handy for me.
    Despite not being a practitioner at all, I did bother investing in a controller
    and lots of tracks, and thinking about what I would play.

    I can share some things from my bag of tricks:

    Having a MP3 player stocked up when on the go. commuting and too braindead to be

    A capacity for aural imagery, or audiation.
    Something similar exists with visual art. You look at lots of pictures, draw them
    a lot, and if you do it enough, you won’t need them anymore.
    In both cases, that capacity is built by listening to a lot of material as to
    extract general principles underlying the genre.

    You would think that it is something that is only needed in music production, but
    I do believe it is possible to “audiate” transitions between some tracks, write them down
    for later and see if they work.
    And actually producing helps as well, since knowledge of structure helps preparing transitions
    and if you can actually create a track, you can plan for how well it would mix with some tracks
    of your choosing.

    That brings a few questions though:

    Are there other genres that mixes well with freeform, without introducting
    much discontinuity?
    Hard NRG obviously, some hard acid trance would be close to the speed required,
    happy hardcore, goa trance, gabber…..
    Some hard trance tracks would be too slow to mix them with.

    • The aural imagery point is a fantastic one that I really should have mentioned, thanks! I’ve done a huge amount of that over the years – almost always when hitting a set-planning brick wall and running out of ideas. Whether commuting or just getting away from the mixing gear for a walk somewhere I’ve often gone through transitions in my head that have either worked well or sparked some ideas in a new direction.

      You’re surely right about track production leading to a better understanding of what’s needed for a god transition, but there are also a lot of producers who clash keys all over the place when mixing tracks, which I really don’t understand. I’m actually finding that the reverse is true too, and the mixing experience is helping in unexpected ways with production and track structure. Still battling away to put it to real use, as I’ve only recently noticed how much it might make a difference.

      As for the question – if we’re talking in terms of a ‘TYFTH style’ set then I’ve had some success with some schranz, drum and bass, gabber and breakcore, as well as some faster goa trance (Khetzal – Ganesha Pramana is the classic example). Proteus is probably the master of mixing genres in that way, and it’s thanks to one of his sets that I regularly started using Order Chaos.

      I’m still very keen on the idea of using ambient/dark ambient as a long breakdown or intro after E-Mantra – The Boatman worked pretty well at CODEX. I’m not so keen on dark psy in freeform sets, but Cogi had a real knack for making that work too.

      Would love to hear any eventual set attempts you come up with, incidentally 🙂

      • Aural imagery is definitely a big thing for me, just thinking about tracks and how I think they’d work or hope they’d sound when mixed. A lot of mix ideas have come about from it and my Megatherium mashup was something I devised mentally initially. I’ll spend lots of time just thinking about different sections of tracks and what might work well and what I’d hope it to sound like. Today I’ve actually been thinking about a new potential mashup idea as well.

        Ambient can work pretty nicely if timed right, I used a few in my transcend artist mix. Some artcore/bemani type stuff can work nicely too. I’ve used Ryu’s 3y3s a few times as well as Camellia’s dark psy remix which works excellently at 176. Some jcore can work pretty nicely too.

        I plan to write a more detailed reply to this post at some point, just been too busy/tired lately.

        • Your Transcend set is the best example we’ve got so far of using ambient with freeform, thanks for the reminder! Should give it a belated mention here, I think…

          And it’s no surprise that a lot of DJs do at least a bit of planning in their heads while away from the tracks. Definitely something that gets more useful with experience, too.

  3. It was really enjoyable to read about your mixing process. As expected, a lot of thought is given to it. I’m no DJ, and therefore do not fully appreciate all the work, nor the challenges inherent in mixing that you overcome, but I have always intuitively felt your sets were above-average. All I can judge is the sound that is presented to my ears, and I can say that whether it is the track selection or the mind-boggling transitions/mixing you’ve showcased here and there, your sets have been as rule very much enjoyable!

    And then there’s “sets” like this:


    “Sets” that completely bungle the tracks they mix (see Nabassu at 1:51:33 for some good lol), and which appear to have been put together with no thought at all.

    The LTJ Bukem set you mentioned is amazing, btw. You were the one who introduced me to it many years ago on this very website, and I still listen to it every once in a while. So thanks for that too.

    • Thanks bern, much appreciated! It’s maintaining the mind-boggling that’s the real challenge, as some of these rabbit holes aren’t that enjoyable to escape.

      As for Spadge’s set, I’d agree that there are plenty of combinations that don’t work well, but looking at the comments is a reminder that plenty of listeners don’t seem to care in the least. I often wonder how listeners of other genres would respond to a lot of freeform sets…

      Personally I thought the mix into Nabassu was pretty good (a lot better than on the way out), and something like Alanamra into Anmitzcuacah was far less successful. In Spadge’s defence he was a pioneer in terms of an Alek-only set, never mind one of this length, at a time when a few of the tracks had only recently been released.

      Glad to hear the Bukem set was a success! It’s an interesting cautionary tale to seek out some of his event sets where he obviously hasn’t spent much time on prep – it’s like night and day, and all the ‘Bukem character’ of the set totally disappears.

      • It’s actually pretty interesting the different reactions people have to freeform sets, people seem to love TYFTH style sets, but get really bored of poorly quick mixed ones. I’ve noticed this a lot in online events and I’m starting to see the same reaction at physical events as well. I watched a crowd go wild to Quicksand and Ayakashi a few months ago and that was amazing to see.

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