Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Goa Trance: The Phenomenon

This article was originally meant to be published in the Goa Guide that i was working on. But when the articles were submitted to the Govt (the Govt being our client) for their approval, certain conservative fractions believed that Goa had nothing to do with this "Hippie" culture!!! The result was deleting this article from the book. Now, a muck condensed version of the original article is here for you:

In the early 1960’s, hippies started flocking to Goa in such large numbers that they were popularly termed “new colonists”. The general attraction of India for the hippies was both to its spirituality and to its hashish, which was legal up to the mid 1970’s.

It is generally believed that around 1968, a man popularly known as “eight-finger-Eddy” and other ex-pats found a warm beach and a paradise like heaven in which they could enjoy a life free from other distractions. These people started to have “parties” on the beaches and the jungles. Another pioneer, Goa Gil, was one of the originators of the famous Goa full moon parties. At the beginning of the 1980’s he introduced the first post punk experimental electronic dance music and electronic body music. Goa techno trance actually originated from hard line, electronic body music, groups like Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Frontline Assembly and as well as from Eurobeat.

In general, the structure of a typical Goa trance track is reflective of a journey, both in a mythological sense and as a LSD generated stream of consciousness. Like the archetypal hero setting out on his quest, the song begins with subtle undulations of sound, intensifying slowly with constant timbral evolution, carrying the listener along the narrowly defined pathway of the trance experience. The listener, just like the metaphorical hero faces challenges on the way, guised as periodic breaks in the trance flow, often containing some mysterious text quotation or chant. This is designed to involve the mind on a different level to that of the otherwise constant pulse of the music.

The tracks are generally around eight or ten minutes in duration, reaching the climax around the seventh minute after which it moves towards its end. In the same way as each individual track takes the listener on a journey, there exists an expanded level of this process in the party/rave itself. The classic Goa full moon party can last eight to ten hours. It starts usually around 10pm when the energy and the mood of the party is relatively restrained, but it slowly builds over the next four or more hours until around 2am to 4am, when the highest energy levels are attained.

In the late 1980’s and the 1990’s a typical rave had a PA, a few coloured lights, some black light and occasionally some psychedelic banners. There was one dance floor and the music generally started around midnight. Now the aesthetics of the party has changed. Raves today are much larger, with booming state of the art acoustics, laser imagery and novelties like theme-based events. Anjuna beach, the “freak capital of the world” is popular for its nightlong trance parties. The amiable climate and the pulsating music system here, make it the venue of many raves around Christmas and New Year. Other than Anjuna, Calangute, Tito’s at Baga, Ziggy’s at Colva, Lido’s at Dona Paula, and Temptations at Red Cab on Vagator are other popular party destinations. Terms of the party can vary from place to place, but generally all places do charge a sum for entry and additional amounts for liquor.


Yashika Totlani said...

The timings couldnt have been better with the post, im planning my first goa trip this year!! Alas, you missed on mentioning one very important thing--- how much do they charge for entry?? Thanks for the whole list of places where we can find these raves. Ummm... very very well researched, goes without saying. I worship trance music... dj tiesto's songs keep me alive. 10 minutes... peek at the 7th minute... never knew, or noticed, all these things. The government seems very weird to have deleted this extremely important chapter from the book. The visual added to the effect. Im glad i read ur blog :)

Ooh... aiming too high, but have a few sountracks to share??

arunabh said...

What was worth censuring over here? The indian bureaucracy or whoever/whatever scrapped that chapter will continue to baffle me
But this made for a nice professional read :)

Bodhisattva said...

I dont know, arunabh!!!!!! i think the concept of young (or old) people looking for fun and indulging in a bit of 'substance abuse' is the sand in the eyes of the self appointed moral police.
Now they think that the music is the drug! well, it is so, but they just are too tight assed to enjoy it!!!!