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RIP Betwixt & Between

Via Thank You For The Horse, I found out yesterday that Japanese freeform producer Kaoru Kimura, aka Betwixt & Between, recently passed away, due to as yet unknown causes:

Munted Monthly

Betwixt & Between (Kaoru Kimura) has tragically passed away at the age of 28. As the news is now public knowledge, Guld has invited condolences/messages of support to be posted on Kaoru’s Facebook page wall, Twitter account, or mailed directly to Guld (NRG_JAPAN [at], who will then forward them to Kaoru’s family.

Having only recently heard of his passing, I am still at a loss for words. A fantastically intelligent, thoughtful and kind young man, he will be missed by everyone who met him, and also by members of the wider scene who knew him through his emotional, influential music.

I feel very fortunate to have counted Kaoru as a friend for the past five years, and will miss him dearly. I’m sure everyone here will join me in offering condolences to all of his family.

I didn’t know him personally, but as a fan of his music I would like to extend my condolences to his family and friends in this time of their loss. It’s a big loss to the worldwide freeform scene, but fortunately his music is that good that it will live on forever.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with his tunes, they are, well, really fucking good. I haven’t actually used any on any of my freeform mixes, but that’s just because none have come out on vinyl – I’m a dinosaur. I only really started getting into his stuff over the last year, after Rampage Turbo 8 got me right back into freeform. Over the last year I have been devouring a lot of the newer freeform that I missed out on over the last couple years, and among the new crop of producers to have emerged over the last few years, Betwixt & Between was, for me, one of the absolute standouts, alongsideh Finland’s Substanced. His death is a big loss for the scene as a whole.

If you want to check out some of his tunes, Beezee’s Sonicrampage guest mix The Canticle of the Monomyth features his tune Phase 6, and PlasmaDancer’s two mixes for the Munted! Monthly! mix series also feature a lot of his material:

Finally, you should definitely check Betwixt & Between’s own mix for Munted! Monthly!

Betwixt & Between with Takashi Shinto – Out of Blue
Betwixt & Between – Wandering of Tankobuhesotaro
Vice Tek Heavy Industry – 3m3sys 3
Betwixt & Between – Ultra World 6
Betwixt & Between – Point of No Return
Betwixt & Between – So Sweet Bitter Days
Betwixt & Between – Zusammengehorigkeit
RANK 1 – Airwave (Betwixt & Between’s Hard Re:Boot)
Betwixt & Between – Tout est Bien (Sein zum Tode)
Betwixt & Between – Hydra (Long)
Betwixt & Between with Yukacco – Nothing Compares 2 You

RIP Kaoru Kimura

Guest DJ’s: Where are they now? Flip, Mejle, and Meke edition

London tower blocks
the view from my train home, in between Waterloo and Vauxhall

Happy Friday!

Hope you are enjoying the most recent fruits of my mixing labors: Eurotrash 4 (shout to the mighty Watchtower for featuring it yesterday!) and my acid mix for 7D The Seven Dimensions of Euphoria (split versions going live today).

As it’s Friday, I thought that I would catch up with new projects from three of the previous guest dj’s on Sonicrampage: Flip, Mejle, and Meke.

First up is Flip, whose 2005 Mentasm mix was featured back in early 2011 (and was subsequently highly praised by Plasmadancer on his invaluable Thank You For The Horse blog). Recently Eryk Orpheus uploaded his collaboration with Flip, The Gatekeeper, to his Soundcloud, and, well, it’s pretty epic stuff, if you like mental freeform hardcore. Ave it!

Next, on a (very) different note, is Denmark’s Mejle, the most recent guest dj to grace this illustrious collection of pixels that I call my blog. His guest mix last month was an excellent journey through many flavors of bass music, and this month he is back with another sweet selection, bashing through techno, electro, and dubstep with tunes from producers like Boddika, Mala, Icicle, and Trevino (amongst others).

Finally, Finland’s DJ Meke has returned with In Melody We Trust, a hard trance collaboration with Helsinki’s DJ Neon. Mining that early 00’s hard trance sound, if you love sharp melodies and hard kicks, it’s for you. Meke, has, of course, already appeared three times on Sonicrampage, with his mixes Nostrum tribute Nostrumo, his Old School Hardtrancers II mix in collaboration with Hamburg’s DJ Yoko, and his cheesey-yet-awesome old skool gabba mix Happy New Yearave.

Also, Meke’s collaboration with Sam Hard recently appeared on the (FREE!) Freeformatted compilation album. Go grab it!

So there you go, loads to listen to over the weekend! Have a good one …

Trade – The All Night Bender (Documentary)

Here’s something interesting to watch: a 1997 Channel 4 documentary about Trade, the infamous gay after-hours club night that used to run from 4am to mid-day (and beyond!) at Turnmills in Clerkenwell. As far as the development of the UK’s hard dance scene goes, Trade was probably one of the most important clubs, if not the most important – it’s dj resident roster, including Steve Thomas, Ian M, Pete Wardman, and, of course, the almighty Tony de Vit, was pretty much a who’s who of crucial figures in the development of hard house. I never went personally (I’m straight and at the time I was into the acid/hard trance sound being pioneered at nights like Pendragon and Escape From Samsara), but Trade’s musical influence is hard to overstate. So from that perspective this is a fascinating look behind the scenes of one of London’s most important ever clubs, as well as being an interesting time capsule to 15 years ago, which, although it doesn’t really seem that long ago, kind of is.

In particular it’s quite amazing to think how quickly the popular acceptance of homosexuality has advanced over that time!

The documentary of course covers the scenes at Turnmills, but also shows the Trade tent at Gay Pride, as well as Trade’s tour events in South Africa and Mallorca. Plus the documentary also includes interviews with Trade clubbers, such as the gay fireman who celebrates his marriage to his (straight, female) best friend with a night out at Trade, and a couple hoping that the New Labour government would give the South African half the right to stay in the country, plus a few younger guys, including a teenage boy from working-class Braintree, Essex, who is struggling to come to terms with being gay. Needless to say, the documentary also features some vintage killer tunes, including ‘Underrave’ by The Disciples and ‘Let’s Rock’ by E-Trax. How often have tunes like that gotten an airing on British television?!?

A must watch!

Other Trade stuff to check out if you’re interested in finding out more:

Andy Farley talks Trade – An interview with legendary Brummie hard house dj Andy Farley about his memories of Trade as a punter and dj
Andy Farley’s Trade Memories and Andy Farley’s Trade Memories 2 – Two amazing sets of tribute mixes to Trade by Andy Farley, each containing eight (!) full-length mixes, building from funky US house through to pounding nu-nrg. Over 16 hours of incredible music. Don’t miss out!
Us Boys Together Clinging: One Night in a Gay Club – 1994 feature about Trade from Gay Times, reproduced on the site. An excellent read!

Freeform Exposed! (Plus some other bits of freeform news)

freeform exposed

A few bits of freeform news for you …

First up, those of you who enjoyed Beezee’s recent guest mix, The Canticle of the Monomyth, as reviewed so well on Thank You For The Horse, will be very pleased to know that he has recently posted a new mix, Kali, his contribution to the Freeformaniacs show. Go check it out!

Secondly, the line-up for the second I Love Hard Beats event has been announced. Sadly, I’m not playing, like I had tentatively announced before – in any case, it looks pretty immense – go here to see the line up.

Finally, the man like Shanty has unveiled his newest freeform project – Electrode, which has debuted with a free album called Freeform Exposed. Freeform Exposed is a downloadable three cd set, including two unmixed discs of new and exclusive tracks, as well as a dj mix by Shanty. Each disc will be available in both wav and 320 kbs mp3, and you can head over to the Electronica Exposed site right now to get the dj mix (the unmixed sets are forthcoming). Although free, Shanty has asked for donations to cover the cost of professionally mastering the tunes, so it’s worth sending him some money as a thank you for the album (as well as, more broadly, all the work he has done for the freeform scene over the years). I did!

Mind Over Matter Tune ID

Just chopping up Kevin Energy’s My Freeform Journey Part 2 mix at the moment, and have filled out the tracklist properly for the rest of the tracks, but am stumped on the first tune, so I’ve uploaded it to Soundcloud.

It’s a hard trance track, apparently on Chris C’s Mind Over Matter label, and although I recognize it I can’t quite place it. I used to have quite a few tracks on MOM, but I’ve sold them off over the years, so these days I only have The Final Hurrah, Plymouth, and Tell Me What’s Wrong. Unfortunately, it’s not any of those, and I can’t quite place it (and YouTube, my usual first port of call in such matters, isn’t much help either).

If you know what it is, either leave a comment here or on Soundcloud, and I will loff you forever! 😉

Updated, February 18, 2011: Cheers to Alex in the comments for identifying the tune as Monsoon by Madam Zu & The Doktor. Thanks Alex! If you want to grab the completed cue, it’s here.

Love Groove Dance Party

dying snowman
A dying snowman … not that that has anything to do with Danny Rampling

A few days ago, someone on Banging Tunes asked for some old Danny Rampling comps, and I’m now very happy to provide two of his Love Groove Dance Party trance mixes from way back in the mid-90’s; unfortunately, I don’t have the house mixes, just the trance ones.

If you’re unfamiliar with Danny Rampling, he’s a bit of a dance music legend, the man responsible for Shoom, the legendary acid house party back in the halcyon days of 1988. He later went on to do a long-running show on BBC Radio 1 called Love Groove Dance Party, covering everything from house to trance, a range of stuff illustrated on the accompanying compilations that Metropole Music released, each of which had one cd of house and one cd of trance. These mixes are quite eclectic as far as trance goes, showcasing everything from banging acid trance to hands in the air Eurotrance to full-on herders of the moon goat Goa trance. Trance is one of those dance music sub-genres that has become sub-divided into innumerable micro-niches over the years, so it’s quite refreshing to listen to these old mixes and hear a totally different approach taken. I won’t lie, some of these tunes I don’t like, but it’s still quite a fun experience overall.

Obviously, the usual disclaimers apply to this, i.e. I’m only putting up these mixes to share as they have been out of print for a long loooong time and therefore I’m not taking away from any potential sales. However, if you are the rights holder (or even Mr Rampling himself) and don’t want them up, I can pull them down, just get in touch. Etc.


Continue reading Love Groove Dance Party

Sunday listen: T_! – Nominated

T_! – “NOMINATED” – 4 decks by T_macabre

Happy Sunday!

Hope your weekend has been good – here’s a mix that was sent through to me yesterday that I’m very happy to post about. It’s called Nominated and it’s a massive 4-deck mix of all kinds of dubstep/grime goodies from T_! of Macabre Unit. I was a bit dubious when I first saw the tracklisting, as even though it has lots and lots and lots of good tunes, I thought that fitting that many tunes into 77 minutes would be overkill. I mean, sure I’m someone with a short attention span when it cames to mixing, but even I have my limits. Fortunately, I was wrong! He’s done an excellent job of weaving the massive number of tracks into the mix in a way that is subtle yet compelling, with the tracks floating in and out nicely.

It’s definitely not the OCD dropfest I halfway feared!

Another nice feature to the mix is that although it is mostly eyes down dubstep, he’s slipped in enough grime flourishes to freshen up the vibe periodically so it’s not all introspective gloom (although gloomy dungeon sound dubstep is of course something I love) – overall, the mix has a really good balance of vibes throughout. I also enjoyed the mixture of fresh dubs and venerable classics – too often with online mixes people just try to show off the fact that they have a lot of dubplates, which frankly I’ve never cared much about. After all, ‘new’ is not a synonym for ‘good’. I’d rather listen to old, good tunes intelligently put together than a bunch of new crap piled up thoughtlessly. As for the mixing, well, obviously it’s really fucking good – you have to have a lot of confidence in your mixing ability to try to pull off a four deck mix, and he’s definitely nailed it. I like it a lot. You will too. Promise.

Continue reading Sunday listen: T_! – Nominated