One Soul - Psychedelic Trance comes to Fire
Reported by Agnes Klos
Submitted 08-12-09 22:09
Better known for its house music, polysexual nights and eyecatching production values, Fire in Vauxhall is a nexus for London’s music lovers. For one night in cold November One Soul transformed it into a psychedelic club with visuals to compete with outdoor festivals. Agnes Klos joined the rave.
Two years ago I went to an amazing seven-day psychedelic trance festival in Portugal called Boom. Since then I have been restlessly searching the grounds and undergrounds of London for parties with the same philosophy. Sadly, I could not find anything indoors that would have anywhere near the same sparkle. Until I stumbled across a party called One Soul presented by Psy-Mela.
Psychedelic trance is more than just a music genre to me. It is a tool that allows people to emerge into a journey of self-discovery, unrevealing the deepest corners of their soul and taking them into places they never knew existed before.
As a girl who grew up on psychedelic trance I have always followed the sound wherever in the world I found myself. It was the first music that I fell in love with, the first I really chilled out to and the sound that took me on a musical journey which changed my perspective on the world forever. With time I became curious and wanted to find out a bit more about the roots of psy trance and how it all began. So I started digging in the history and this is what I discovered.
Once upon a time there was a group of hippies. They travelled to Goa, India in the mid 60’s enchanted by the stunning landscape and unspoilt environment. They started the first ‘Goa parties’ which were nothing more than friends sitting around a campfire on the beach playing various acoustic instruments and dancing on hallucinogens. It may sound like a nice bedtime story for kids but in fact it is a true story, describing the very beginning of psychedelic trance music.
Over the years the music evolved into its present form of psychedelic trance with large scale, breath-taking open-air festivals appearing all around the world, with its own fashion trends, philosophical theories accompanied by cutting edge psychedelia. Psy trance first broke out into the mainstream in 1995 as the UK music press began to report on the exploding trend of Goa trance. From then on it went on like an avalanche.
What I really like about psy trance is that it is still not so commercial. You still need to put some effort into finding it and the best places are of course the warehouse or open-air parties. It appears to be a closed circle of followers and the only way to be connected is by word of mouth (and then text messages or party lines). A bit like the Matrix, once you are connected you know where to find it – “follow the white rabbit” and you will discover the truth.
The disadvantage of the whole system is that although the psy trance culture is protected from commercialism in this way, it is not always easy to find it. Plus it is tiresome to walk in the middle of the night through a dark forest somewhere on the outskirts of London. Therefore, I was delighted that at last psy trance had come to my favourite club, Fire.
Entering the club on 14th November I was reminded of crossing a channel to another dimension. I was stunned! Literally breath-taken by the beauty of the installations. Global Village production and Psychedemon - who provided the installation - did an amazing job. I have been to loads of squat psy trance parties and festivals but I am telling you, what I saw was simply awe-inspiring. If you missed that party you should have serious regrets, just looking back at the photos fills me in with a sense of tranquillity.
The main room was laid out with patches of snow-white soft material, bended in shapes of arches above clubbers heads and finished with a pointy crest. It created an impression of being in a cave. (Not only to me as the promoters actually called the room “The Cave – Psychadellic”, as I found out later). Some parts of the material had holes carved in them making it look like spider webs stretching from ceiling to the floor. The colours of the laser were jumping happily all over it, almost appearing to be having a party all on their own.
Apart from the wicked features such as the material being used for big screens displaying a psychedelic utopia of hallucinogenic flowing colours, the most outstanding element in the main room were the three giant sea-blue horns literally growing out of the DJ box. They were delicate enough to see small shiny lights inside them but equipped with the magnitude of lanterns glowing on a stormy ocean.
No wonder the club was already busy when I arrived shortly after midnight as some of the best psychedellic DJs from across the globe where invited to play live in The Cave. Names like Sufi, Atma, Spinal chord, Lunar Asylum, EVP and Machanimal entertained the ravers with some hard and powerful psy trance and electronica till 7.45 in the morning.
I must admit that the music in that room was for those who preferred the harder and much more twisted side of psy trance, packed with electronic sounds. When the live acts finished the party still went on with pleasantly more uplifting tunes served by Baba Bhole and Fordy.
If you got tired from dancing you could escape to The Nest (Chillout Room) with live acts from Solar Quest and Atman Construct. My favourite room during the party, though, was The Burrow (Progressive), located just next door to the main room. The music in the progressive room had a much more prominent use of bassy beats which pounded constantly throughout each song putting us in a real trance-like state of mind. DJs such as Etnarama, Kained & Able, Sean Spindrift or E303 skilfully overlaid the bass with varying rhythms drawn from trance and Middle Eastern music, entwined with drums and other synthesized instruments.
What I truly love about psychedelic trance is the layering. If you listen closely and concentrate you can spot not one or two but multiple music layers with various sounds in the background. DJs demonstrated their real skills while pumping out magnificent tunes with some wicked break downs followed by new rhythmic patterns dropped unexpectedly over the constant bass line.
Stimulating visuals provided by Psy–Twins were also enveloping the progressive room. Right in the middle of the dancefloor there was a beaming green tree with branches spreading to the ceiling, surrounded by pictures of magical forests and almost lifelike sculptures with faces on them. ‘Trippy art’ was visible in every corner of the room making the best usage of surrealistic and fantasy oriented imagery, kaleidoscopic visuals and bright contrasting colours.
Psychedelic decorations are deeply embedded in the spirit world. They play a substantial role at every psy trance party since they help clubbers to reach higher states of consciousness. Psy parties aim at the union of all souls and at experiencing the feeling of oneness. The decor together with the music create a perfect environment enabling travel into other dimensions, into the world of imagination and fantasy beyond ordinary reality.
It resembles moving into an alternative world at least for one night. It can be triggered by simple visual tricks such as a wall full of twinkling bouncing stars. Afterwards you can happily carry the feeling of enchantment into the real world. And it is exactly what I felt while stepping into each room at One Soul. I felt as if I was joining a huge worldwide family which believed in the same concept of oneness, love and sacred earth. Free people with the same life visions, distinguishing themselves bravely from the ordinary crowd with piercing, tattoos and dreadlocks. It felt really good to be surrounded by free spirits.
Without doubt the psychedelic trance scene has a pulse of its own. One Soul was the most astonishing indoor party that I had seen for years. It was safe, clean and the ruling spirit was one of joy, wellbeing and freedom. Fingers cross it will be repeated soon.
I managed to get hold of One Soul's promoter Uthaiah Thimmaiah. We sat down together for a chat to provide our readers with some tasty pieces of information:
You are the creator of Psy-Mela. How did your journey with music start?
Well, got in the vehicle, the engine started smoothly, and it's going well at the moment. There’s a long journey ahead still too.
How did you come up with the name?
Psy is a shorter version of psychedelic. Here it is referred to the beautiful underground music psychedelic trance or goa trance. Mela means fair (or gathering) in Sanskrit. Since the origin of this music is from India, I called the event Psy-Mela (Psy-Fair)
What is the prime aim of Psy-Mela?
Since the beginning of time, mankind has used music and dance to commune with the Spirit of Nature and the Spirit of the Universe. We are trying to use trance music and the trance dance experience to set off a chain reaction in consciousness. Through the trance dance experience hopefully people will become more sensitive and aware of themselves, their surroundings, the crossroads of humanity
What can people expect when they come to one of your parties?
Joy and everlasting memories; for example the best artists and DJs, decor, visuals, music, sound and many more on their journey through trance, which is affordable to everyone.
How would you describe One Soul at Fire on 14th November, was it a success?
Well, the expected crowd didn't turn up. But it was a successful event.
Do you prefer to organise squat parties or club events?
Depends, I think. Each has its own positives and negatives.
Who provides decorations for the parties?
Difficult to choose. There are some real mind blowing artists in this field, to name a couple of them, Psychedemon and Global Village.
If someone would like to be a part of Psy-Mela by helping with organising, advertising or playing at the parties, who should they talk to?
Directly to me. You can reach me easily via Facebook.
In your opinion what distinguishes your party from other psy trance parties?
I’m not very sure! All organisers give their best to entertain the people in this particular field of music, that doesn't really distinguish me much from them. But at my parties you can usually see new upcoming artists, international acts who have not performed here before, some nice unique decor too and something very innovative in each party.
When can we expect the next indoor psytrance event?
Not far, on 6th February 2010.
Click here for more info
Thanks very much
Peace and light,
Consciousness of Unity
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Photos courtesy of Agnes Klos. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.