The Crystal Experience - Reviewed
Reported by Agnes Klos
Submitted 05-05-10 06:56
The Crystal Experience was born out of lust for quality in all things: sound, lighting, space design, decor, artists and entertainment. Brought by A.T.A.R.I Project in association with Israeli label Synthezion Records, the party had lifted the curtain on the paradise of indoor festivals. In just one night it elevated London progressive and psychedelic trance scene to the next level. Agnes Klos visited Area in Vauxhall which for that special occasion was transformed into a psytrance heaven.
A.T.A.R.I Project is a fun loving group of producers, DJs and promoters who want to play a more active role in the scene by throwing some ‘phat ass’ parties of their own. Their mission statement is to spread elation, high spirits and positive vibes. By booking the best psytrance DJs on the scene and providing space for a gathering of like-minded individuals, each A.T.A.R.I party guarantees wonderfully stimulating aural, visual and metaphysical experience.
On 27th March a party called the Crystal Experience did exactly what it said on the tin. It provided stellar music with 17 DJs, six live acts, one album launch and four showcases. For eight solid hours a tantalising array of audio-visual stimulation truly enchanted clubbers' mind, body and soul. Spread over three stunning rooms the party exceeded expectations of dedicated fans who had been waiting impatiently since May last year for another A.T.A.R.I party.
From the moment I entered the club I felt a strong positive vibe, literally beaming from every corner and every room. Instantly I was surrounded by a crowd of happy smiling faces and an ocean of stomping feet. The main room featured psychedelic & progressive sound and was hosted by A.T.A.R.I Project and Synthezion Records. No wonder the party was in the full swing already at 11pm since it was Flow Theory, a brilliant South-African DJ, who kicked the party off with a style. He proved to everyone that he actually was an energetic force to be reckoned with.
Next up was an electric live act from Stephan Hoffman, South African international DJ and producer, known as Devine Machine. I was very eager to hear him live since I enjoy listening to Psychedelic Sessions - South Africa's no.1 international psychedelic trance radio show, which he is co-hosting with Regan Tacon (the label owner of Nano Records).
Devine Machine's high-powered sound was followed by a set from the co-owner of A.T.A.R.I Project and a UK-based DJ Neutrino, who filled in for Time After Time who regrettably were unable to attend due to reasons beyond their control. Neutrino skilfully shifted from funky progressive psy to the more driving and uplifting psytrance, at the same time preparing us for the most-anticipated guest of the evening, Ace Ventura.
It is such a rare occurrence to come across a good progressive psytrance party in a club but to have an internationally-acclaimed DJ such as Ace Ventura (Yoni Oshrat) is almost an impossible request to carry out. Yoni is one of Israel’s biggest talents in electronic music who had played a big part in establishing Israel as one of the most important trance-countries on the globe. Yoni's soloproject known as Ace Ventura has gained him a reputation as the top producers on the progressive trance scene. Hence, I had goose bumps all over my body when Ace took over the decks for his live act in the main room.
Having played all around the globe at major events such as Boom in Portugal, XXXPerience, Tribe and Universo Paralello in Brasil, Solstice in Japan, Glade in the UK to Indian Spirit, Tshitraka, Antaris and Full Moon in Germany, Ace Ventura knows exactly how to drop a crowd-pleaser. His perfect choice of tunes, using a fusion of the hard, pumping dancefloor-oriented style with the deeper, groovier influenced progressive trance, left no person in the room standing. People began cheering with joy, clapping their hands with an excitement and closing their eyes to follow the beat of psychedelic music.
That evening Ace Ventura put me in state of trance which I had long forgotten about. It is a state when the music flows through your body and dictates every single movement, without you thinking about it. It is a state when you are purely in the given moment, simply dancing, putting all your worries and fears away. Psytrance has the potential of creating this beautiful state of mind when your ego disappears, your self-awareness dissolves and time ceases to exist. It is exactly how I felt: lost in the moment with nobody around me.
However, it was not only the music which promoted the blissful feeling of being transported to the world of magic. The breathtaking and imaginative decorations provided by the crew of Global Village Productions kept my eyes transfixed to the space around me at all times. After seeing their spectacular work while reviewing another party called One Soul at Fire half a year ago, I could not wait to see what they prepared for The Crystal Experience.
To my delight, the spectacular LED-filled sky high ceiling in the main room was given that intimate cave-look, specific for the psytrance scene. The effect was achieved by placing delicate stretch nettings in a way which did not obscure the space but actually enhanced it. There were also imagination-awakening UV posters hanging on the walls while at the back of the room clubbers could admire 3D crystal-alike sculptures which glowed mysteriously in the dark. The Global Village creator and director, Jason Pugh, said: "We strive to create interactive transcendental decor that inspires, enhances positive consciousness and generates constructive communication allowing for a true aesthetic experience."
The unforgettable audio-visual extravaganza could only have taken place in Area Club which boasted the hypnotically powerful full-colour laser, hidden corners, lush wooden floors and dark hallways under the arches. The second room called Arena 2 featured a tree sculpture at the back while the DJ booth had a cavernous feeling created by the stretch fabric. If you came up close you could spot colourful lines sprayed throughout the entire length of the material, which introduced an organic ambience into the entire room.
When Ace Ventura finished his one-hour live act in the main room I was yearning for more. The clever promoters predicted such a reaction from psytrance-hungry revellers and booked Ace Ventura for a DJ set in the second room (progressive sound). Hosted by Further Progressions Records, Arena 2 welcomed such UK DJs as Nolan Shmolan and Hamish & Bedouin who kept clubbers glued to the dancefloor from the beginning of the night. When Ace Ventura overtook the decks at 2.15am for the second time that night I did not believe his set could beat his first performance but it did. Everyone went into frenzy.
There was a real abundance of individuality to be found in both rooms. Heaps of free spirits, girls with a piercing in their eyebrows or noses, wearing ethnic clothing, adorning their necks with a string of beads, boys with dreadlocks and trippy T-shirt, all united in a quest for a memorable dance experience. Ace Ventura's sound was flawless, harmonious and truly inspirational during both performances. He displayed his master skills as a DJ and highlighted the fact that progressive psytrance music was a true stimulus in keeping ourselves positive and full of happiness.
I had an incredible pleasure of talking to Ace Ventura after his set. I asked him what he thought about the event and he told me: "I am having a blast playing at The Crystal Experience...Great visuals around in the main room and a fantastic crowd, creating high energy and great vibes in all of the place! I have enjoyed a very good feedback from the dancefloor while playing both sets. A thank you shout out goes to ATARI PROJECT and Synthzion for having me and doing it with style, great job guys!"
After Ace Ventura's set I came back to the main room where Avalon from Nano Records launched his album and took clubbers on a rip-roaring, mind-melting journey with expertly implied melodies, driving basslines, hard hitting percussion and evocative sound-design. Later on Rastaliens' live act was a bit too electronically twisted for my taste. As a result, I moved back to Arena 2 where UK DJs Cimi and then Sinan were bashing out the finest psytrance tunes. But to tell the truth, music was of such high quality in both rooms throughout the entire night that I felt torn at times, not knowing which room to choose.
To please all musical palettes that evening, the organisers prepared the third room in collaboration with Babies Events & Prohibition which featured tech, house, electro and more. Funky beats were served by such names as Cape Town House Mafia, Seano & Josh, Dave Impact, Martin B and Retox & Elblada. The ruling atmosphere was vibrant but it was not that busy as in the other two rooms. It is worth mentioning that the third room was conveniently located next to the smoking terrace with wooden benches and big umbrellas in case of rain.
Among many attractions planned for that evening there were luscious massage girls, UV face painting, tara card reading, fantastic stalls and free-all-night shisha lounge run by Gaiasphere. The primary aim was to sprinkle on clubbers the incredible feeling of an indoor festival.
Moreover, just for that event a brand spanking new, crystal clear, Opus sound rig was installed by Jigery Pokery and Steve to provide the fattest bass, the punchiest midrange and a truly crisp high end. It was visible that heaps of love and care were invested to create a true crystal experience. Those clubbers who came that evening, left home knowing that they became an inseparable part of a historic and mesmerising event.
Flow Theory (Synthezion Records) said about the event: "It’s a proper sick line up! So sick! It’s world class. A really good mix of commercial and underground and stuff in between. It really shows the depth of styles out there, with huge favourites like Ace and Avalon alongside awesome new names like Time after Time. And with the Synthezion guys, the whole thing is bringing flavour to the London scene."
When the party came to an end, I talked to the co-owner of A.T.A.R.I Project, Dino Ciancamerla, who told me: "The event was a smashing success. The place looked nice and full, the music was amazing from the beginning till the very end, the sound was phat as hell and most importantly it felt there was a strong positive vibe all night long. The DJs did such an amazing job and keeping the crowd moving and grooving throughout the whole night. This only being A.T.A.R.I Projects 2nd event gives us major hope for the future."
In the light of recent discussions on forums about the pollution of psytrance with the dark sounds, The Crystal Experience is a living proof that psytrancers are hungry for the peaceful progressive sound, with no aggressiveness to it. Progressive psytrance has been designed to help people forget about the world around them. It offers a helping hand especially to those who feel trapped living in a concrete jungle described commonly as a city.
Psychedelic trance encourages clubbers to lose themselves in music, at least for one night. In the end they risk nothing, apart from finding themselves animated by bass on a pulsing dance floor.
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.