Trance Americana... America? Fuck Yeah!
Trance cannot be bought or sold. Ergo, it flies in the face
of American capitalism. That said, the health of a trance scene can
be gauged by several interdependent barometers ... number of producers
and visual artists, quality and quantity of events ... and the availability
of psychedelic drugs. If one were to condense the best of America from
its various pockets of trance and put it all in one area, you'd have
one slammin' scene that would rival anywhere else. But you can't. It's
too spread out. It's a Herculean or even Sisyphusean task to rein it
all in, to condense the energy into one vital scene. Some have
tried to do it in the U.S. and have burned out. Other diehards remain. These
diehards say, "To hell with
the overseas snobs who sniff, "Why Bother?"' It's STILL
more sexy to carry on the Kulturkampf and have sex in the cracks of a
fascist state. America invented skateboards, rock and roll, surfing,
and hippy culture... Americans offer smaller, intimate, and more underground
The typical story is "There are countless unnamed contributors
to the scene here, largely because most everyone here works together." The
scenes are as varied as the landscape, but trance has infiltrated even
to Iowa in the prairie. Though never profitable, trance formers are collaborating
like never before and keeping the faith. While other genres have fallen
by the wayside, psy/goa has persevered through LSD droughts, an Internet
economy bust, restrictions on immigration, and a somebody-else-do-it-for-you
On the entheogen front, the new world is having sex with the old
world as religious use of DMT-laden ayahuasca is marching along fresh
from a string of court victories, and the US government has begun the
first testing of psychedelic drugs in 40 years on MDMA and psilocybin
for post traumatic stress disorder and terminally ill patients and OCD. And
the propellerheads at DARPA (which invented the Internet) are giving
MDMA to monkeys to gauge their sociability in the wild! Plus, the medical
use of marijuana is starting to be recognized by the states, so the future
of psychedelics in the US is assured. For travelers reading this,
just enter one of the names below in an internet search engine, seek
and ye shall find...
Although 9/11 slowed the influx of international travelers, New York is still
the largest and most diverse community in the US - and 2004 was inarguably
the best in years. Tsunami, which pioneered psy/goa massives in North
America in '96 with the seminal Return to the Source at the Liberty Science
Center in New Jersey, flies in Tsuyoshi every month and brings top acts to
the old Twilo/Sound Factory space Spirit, the top floor of which is Alex Grey's
Chapel of the Sacred Mirrors (COSM). Liran shed Hommega's name and still
brings major acts to large clubs. The Russians bring both full on and progressive
with, respectively, TDC in their amazing new and completely underground warehouse
on the Brooklyn waterfront and OmniTribe's OmniFestival in upstate New York.
Alladin Project keeps the revolving door swinging with connoisseur events,
picking up where Ecliptic Trance left off. Reality Engine has shifted
out of neutral, and long-running Goa Trash and a revived Psychegrounds are
NYC's free weeklies.
After years of hibernation the community Devotional Ministry of Trance (DMT)
brought the most fertile and vibrant open air season ever held in Manhattan,
enacting Paleolithic rituals and bringing crews from all over the country to
play at free gatherings for casts of hundreds under a bridge in the Dominican
hood. Subtlechaos doses the Medical Marijuana Party with High Times in
downtown Manhattan every May. Daya (Indonesia), Severin (Ukraine), Equus
and Nan Hutchinson are New York's most prominent visual artists. Finally,
Adam, Ian and Jowe and PSI have continued to do gatherings under the stars
in the Pine Barrens.
Elsewhere in the east coast, Touch Samadhi in Asheville, North Carolina have
kept DIY in the Southeast since 1998. DJs Kri and Blue Spectral Monkey
lead the team, and with visual artist the Devotee. Since 2000, working
with other east coast psy-crews, they conjure Maataa Mandaara at a Hare Krishna
compound in West Virginia. After an epic Neptunalian summer festival
in '04, in '05 they have Goa Gil and Autumn Equinox on private mountain land.
Philadelphia has a small but steady scene with Gaian Mind in the mountains
at a place where locals are building a stonehenge the old, hard way.
Boston's sounds lean towards progressive and early nights, with Central Psy
and Sonic Beating continuing its assault and Psyforia going into its third
year. And Baltimore has Konvocation.
On the West Coast, after a slowdown in Northern California in 2004 as various
organizers retired, 2005 is looking up for psy/goa. Scenes tend to be cliquish
and stratified. The vast majority of American producers call NoCal their
home; even Penta's pater lives in San Jose. SF's weekly is Synchronize. Thump
Radio does a monthly the 3rd friday of each month. Typically, the summer outdoor
party season kicks off with a Goa Gil party in May, and ends with his birthday
party in October, with all of the other parties in between. Tantra continues
to throw larger events on holidays and special occasions. Local producers include
Nommos (Ariane and Goa Gil) oCeLoT, Kode IV, Chromatone, Ghreg on Earth, FractalCowboys
(Quasar and Dylalien), Mubali, Random, Amanda, Yohimbe and Deeper in Zen. Local
artists include Garrett of Dreamtime, and Dr. Spook. San Francisco is
home to labels Dropout, Ceiba, Mistress of Evil, Vaporvent, and Soular Records.
Ceiba Records on Haight Street is the only psy/goa record shop in the U.S.
In Los Angeles' vital scene, Green Sector, Psy-tribe, Heavy Rotation, and Moontribe
are the dominant forces, and Psytribe does LA's weekly. Kagdila Records is
based in LA, as is producer Quadra. Green Sector's New Years party was the
largest event of the year.
In the Pacific Northwest, producer Jirah is based in Seattle, where crews such
as Innov8tors and Environmental Structures gather for mountain events such
as Eskimo Summer (Mackie speakers in the snow..) collaborating with Oregon
for the Phoenix Festival and Apollo's Lute's Enosa festival every summer.
And of course the biggest U.S. open air multigenre mindfuck megafestival of
the year Burning Man continues to incinerate in Nevada. Its tentacles
reach into almost every nook and cranny in local scenes throughout the country.
Texas has more people than any other state except California, and the most
land, but has a very low goa head ratio. Still it's showing signs of
life with Mistical Productions bringing vital acts such as Neuromotor. Burning
Flipside, focuses on psy/goa with many various large-scale Burning Man style
theme camps. The top Texas live acts are Initialization String and Gift
Culture. Most Texan events are indoors. An exurban legend claims
Texas wanted to buy Colorado once - but the Coloradans SpaceDub, Metameme,
Mindflux, Psygnosis, and Jagged Sound hold their own in the mountains.
The Midwest is starting to flower with groups with small multi-state festivals
such as Aestival and the open community Chilluminati, a collaboration between
Touch Samadhi, Wisconsin's Audiognomes and Psymbolic Visual Communications,
which recently moved from Texas. Label Divine Balance is based in Chicago. Ohio's
Goahead brings the Butterfly Dance Ritual. In Iowa of all places Consciousness
Collective delivers MAGE, Midwest Annual Goa Experience. Even Kansas
City has Wilderness Technologies and the hills of Arkansas are vibrating with
Filling in the gaps, there were reports of infected mushrooms sprouting in
Miami, DC. Seattle, and Chicago.
In 2005 expect more activity as the infrastructure strengthens, the economy
continues to improve, and communication, collaboration, and cooperation between
communities propels psychedelic trance to new heights. Bring your euros. We
want them. And the most
important message for incoming travelers, just two words - shampoo bottles!
Date: Aug 18, 2005
Whitmore, Aaron Ocelot
Photos: Neerav, Ryan Phutureprimitive,
Taken from: The
Trancers Guide to the Galaxy 2005
- USA has 295 million people and an estimated 5,000 hardcore psytrancers.
- America is generally warmer than most of Europe, cooler in the mountains,
with many natural wonders. Many parts of the country are being reclaimed
by the wilderness.
- People are are generally friendly and down to earth. The
east coasters are generally more neurotic, no-nonsense, and fast talking,
the west coast is more laid back and progressive. The middle
(the Midwest) is most countrified and traditional. The South has
the most outwardly friendly people in the country.
- Travel - Hitchhiking is frowned upon in many towns,
so hopping on a caravan is a must. There is a underground circuit that
is starting to develop but it's mainly Rainbow Gatherers and Burning Man
people. Youth hostels can be found in larger cities (but every
town has a jail but getting in and out can be easy/difficult. The YMCA
often has very affordable lodging.
- Finding gatherings The best way to find out about
parties is to look on the Internet. Every area has its underground
artists, trancers are usually found in these pockets. Cars are a necessary evil everywhere
except New York, Boston, and San Francisco - but be careful when in a car
because police can de facto search you for looking funny. The key
to being a successful trance head in the USA is not get to the party without
being arrested or dealing with authorities. This is best done by
dressing as conservatively as humanly possible and hide your stash. Do
not ask the police if they would like to smoke, too, etc.