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.
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.
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.
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.
If you’ve been following the updates on Mastodon you will have seen this already, but the plan this weekend was to stream a short set of more melodic tracks while I continue sorting out ideas for the next ‘real’ mix.
Predictably though, I’ve ended up putting some time into this melodic edition and need some extra time to think about things. It’ll still most likely be on the short side, and will have a mix of newer and much older stuff – I’m just not feeling some of the really melodic/trancy tracks around these days, so it’ll be a bit of a middle ground. Although I expect a weekday isn’t as convenient for a lot of people, this one will also find its way to YouTube, probably a day or two later.
There are also plans for at least a couple of other posts to appear here soon, as I get back to things after an extremely busy February.
Not having been able to properly keep up with things in the scene has meant that I missed the massive leap B.R.K. has taken into the top tier of NRG artists over the past year or so. Better late than never, then, here’s his first Fatal Energy Records release as supporting evidence for that bold claim.
Granted, LOE, FIH is on the slower end of the scale and fits more into the hard trance/dance categories, but just listen to the production levels and complexity going on here. The fills and acid lines put even the pre-break section a step above B.R.K.’s older tracks, while the main melody doesn’t overdo it – simple and catchy’s all that’s needed in amongst the rest of the sounds. A crucial element there is the excellent mastering job of course, another night-and-day improvement.
If this is too sedate to fit into your own sets or listening tastes then I can say with authority that you still have to watch out for B.R.K.’s upcoming material. What I’ve heard so far easily keeps up this standard (but well into the bpms we’re more used to) and will surely be signed up to labels in the very near future.