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Edition #12
Rio de Janeiro, 2009

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“DKANDLE weaves swirling multi-colored vibrant unearthly soundscapes, blending fuzzy and reverberating Shoegaze textures, mesmerizing Dream Pop meditations, sludgy Grungey tones and moody Post-punk strains, heightened with soul-stirring lyricism and pensive emotive vocalizations”

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TAGS : culture, music, electronic music, rave, underground, videos

India has always been a country of multiple facets. In this unique land lies Goa, on the west coast, approximately 600 km south of Mumbai. Goa is a state and not an island, as many think, and was a Portuguese colony until 1962. Due to this, Goa still has a strong Christian influence and differs from other areas of India in terms of freedom, religious tolerance, and cultural diversity.

Because of its climate – annual average between 20°C and 34°C – its almost deserted beaches, and its detached culture regarding money, in contrast to our Western civilization, Goa has

become an international meeting point for new

agers, mystics, anarchists, philosophers, drug

dealers, as well as people interested in spirituality.

The local residents are friendly and welcoming to visitors. Thus, Goa has been a true paradise for jet-set hippies and backpacker travelers, all connected by the desire to position themselves outside the Western system, as well as yearning to escape the cold winters of Europe and the USA. Everyone seeks in Goa the intense and beautiful side of life. And, of course, music could not be missing from this scenario.

The beach parties were initially dominated by psychedelic rock and reggae. These parties were becoming increasingly popular. Decorations made of fluorescent colors and Indian mythology became part of Goa's life. Between 1987 and 1988, a French DJ named Laurent had the idea of playing electronic music at these parties. Initially, he faced a lot of opposition, but over time, the spark caught fire, and electronic music became part of the Goa scene.

Other people realized the immense potential of this type of music played at beach raves. DJ Goa Gil, from California, came to Goa and eventually became the biggest proponent of electronic music in Goa, maintaining that title to this day. He created the connection between electronic beats, spirituality, yoga, and music with his concept of "redefining the ancient tribal ritual for the 21st century," guiding the audience through trance to a higher state of consciousness.

In the beginning, it was quite difficult to hold these raves – DJs had to play using cassette tapes from Walkmans. At that time, CDs were not yet popular, and the heat and dust of Goa were not conducive to vinyl. The music developed into a colorful mix of Post-Wave, Electronic Body Music (EBM), New Beat, Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, varying between Belgian, English, and American electronic music. The early techno and acid scenes also arrived in Goa with force.

The month of April brought unbearable heat, and the rains lasted until August, so people took the opportunity to return to their home countries, taking and spreading the culture of Goa with them and bringing new influences back to Goa. By then, Goa had transformed into one of the most innovative centers of electronic music on the planet, thanks to the help of the Walkman and later the DAT (Digital Audio Tape).

The wide range of possibilities that resulted from the experiences of the 80s (creating psychedelic music through computers and synthesizers) caused a flood of creativity that spread across the globe. Musicians like Johann Bley, from Juno Reactor, brought computers to Goa. From this union of different people

from various parts of the world emerged a more peculiar

style that would become known as Goa-trance.

Goa's reputation as a paradise grew, bringing more and more travelers from around the world. In Germany, people who met at parties in India began to meet regularly 30 km south of Hamburg in an unknown place called Waldheim, between1989 and 1990. It was normal for people from Bavaria to also attend these parties. The place began to  get too crowded, to the point that people who couldn't get in would dance in the middle of the street. Nothing would move, traffic would became chaotic, so the place had to be closed. In the pubs, people started planning a mega rave, and in 1991, the first Voov-Experience was held, with more than 1,500 people.

Johann Bley returned to Goa along with Youth, his rave friend, who was known as the partner of Alex Paterson in the ambient project The Orb and bassist of the band Killing Joke, which released the first official goa-trance track. The name of the song was "Jungle High," released by Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto label, and it became a huge success on the charts in England. Inspired by this, Youth launched the first psy-trance label. Using the recording studio structures of his Butterfly label, Youth named his new label Dragonfly. This label became the first in the psychedelic trance scene in London. Simon Posford, Butterfly's sound engineer, created the electronic project Hallucinogen. Dragonfly's first release came out in May 1993, a compilation featuring bands like Genetic, Gumbo, TIP, and Black Sun. The second compilation, "Project II Trance," was released in August of the same year and included tracks by the French group Total Eclipse and Mandra Gora, produced by Johann and Youth. The following year saw more single releases and the first tracks from Hallucinogen. Man With No Name, Prana, Ayahuasca, Slinky Wizard, and Doof were other groups that emerged subsequently.

By 1994, the psy-trance scene in England had developed rapidly, and large parties

like Return to the Source were happening, while numerous psy-trance labels began

to emerge. Members of Slinky Wizard founded Flying Rhino Records. Simon Berry launched Platipus Records – the first release was a vinyl by Technossomy. Platipus Records also released "Children" by Robert Miles (considered the greatest success in the history of trance charts) and avant-garde albums like "There Will Be No Armageddon" by Union Jack (1996), which included trance anthems like "Red Herring" and "Cactus."

Blue Room Released had simultaneously become one of the brightest and most mysterious labels. Due to a contract with a Swiss speaker company, the label secured good financial support, and its releases were distributed worldwide. In April 1995, the first triple trance compilation on LP and CD, "Outside the Reactor," was released, featuring groups like Spectral, Total Eclipse, Moog, Har-Eil, and Voodoo People. When the band X-Dream from Hamburg released the single "The Frog," the psy-trance scene reached its climax, culminating in releases like "Bible of Dreams (Juno Reactor)," "As a Child I Could Walk on the Ceiling (Delta)," and the album "Dragon Tales" by Kox Box.

Despite England leading the trance scene for years due to its developed underground scene, raves were banned by the government and almost disappeared completely. Since outdoor raves are essential for trance, which demands more direct contact with nature, the English trance culture was stifled because the parties could only be held indoors and had to end early. At the same time, Germany had become a paradise for raves due to its more liberal laws and the recent fall of the Berlin Wall, which had a significant impact on the growth of the German scene.

Meanwhile, Goa's fame spread further worldwide, resulting in a large influx of tourists.

By 1998, there were four times as many tourists as in 1994. Thus, the long-cultivated

relationship between ravers and locals was destroyed. Everything became more

expensive as the Indians realized the immense financial potential those wealthy visitors

were bringing to Goa. The original spirit of Goa vanished like smoke in no time, and

brotherhood gave way to selfish DJs, competitions, territorial fights, and ignorance.

Simultaneously, everything was getting bigger in the European psy-trance scene. The Voov-Experience and Shiva Moon festivals attracted over 10,000 attendees. Many smaller organizations began to appear, resulting in a saturated market of raves, mainly in Germany. The mainstream media and major companies began to notice the "Goa phenomenon," even though its peak had already passed. Blinded by success, many former Goa alternatives became arrogant stars, with many DJs acting as if they were gods. In short: decadence had knocked on the door of the European goa-trance scene. In October 1997, Matsuri marked the end of goa-trance with the compilation "Let It R.I.P." Sales dropped drastically, and the bankruptcy of the English distributor Flying left a hole in the label scene. Almost all English labels had to close their doors because they could no longer pay their expenses, or reemerged under different names.

At the same time, new concepts and ideas emerged, combining elements of trance, techno, and house. In Germany, there was already a scene of musicians and producers like Digital Sun / Tarsis, Ouija, Earth, Ololiuqui, Shiva Chandra, and many others. With the Voov-Experience festival as their annual meeting point, this new face of the trance scene quickly spread across Europe. Many Swedes were captivated by this musical discovery and developed their progressive scene. The first and most well-known was Atmos, an electronic project founded by Tomasz Balicki. Through a single released by Eve Records ("Body Trance"), he made contact with Cass Autbush, who, along with James Monro, was restructuring the Flying Rhino label. Atmos's track "Klein Aber Doctor" was one of the biggest successes released by Flying Rhino to date. The new type of progressive sound gave the scene a new freshness. Even more "conservative" labels like Dragonfly succumbed to progressive trance. After releasing an album through the Novatekk label, the Swedish band Son Kite expanded the platform for releasing more Swedish bands.

As a result, progressive trance quickly expanded worldwide. Simultaneously, psy-trance managed to keep its flame alive in Israel, thanks to a new political agreement between Israel and India that allowed Israelis to obtain visas for India. Since Israel's military service is very strict (everyone, upon turning 18, including women, is required to serve in the army for at least three years), many young people began to crave total relaxation, preferably in paradisiacal locations. Thus, India's beaches were invaded by Israelis, who began to develop their own psy-trance scene. Quickly a strong scene was established, with DJs and musicians like Avi Nissim, Lior Perlmutter, Analog Pussy, Har-Eil, Giu Sebbag, Infected Mushroom, and Skazi. Israeli trance peaked with the release of Astral Projection's first album, "The Astral Files." Nowhere else in the world did psy-trance gain as much popularity, to the point of being played on radios and topping the charts in Israel.

The psy-trance scene also began to develop in other parts of the world. Brazil is considered a country with a strong scene. The first raves here were organized by WTF (World Trance Family), a group that held raves in remote locations outside the urban centers of Sao Paulo. Rica Amaral from Sao Paulo is Brazil's most well-known psy-trance DJ. He also produces one of the most successful psy-raves in the country, the XXX-Experience. Incense was the first psy-trance party in Rio (hosted by Kandle from the eletronic project Colortronic and editor of Tranzine). DJs like Fluorenzo, Matera, and Penélope have also brought psy-trance to various parties in Rio and other cities. In Australia, Byron Bay has organized the largest raves. The scene is also strong in Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Japan, Canada, the USA, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, and Greece, and it continues to grow more and more in other parts of the globe.

Enjoy psy-trance!

What was the best rave
you have ever been?
Comment below

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