Five Psychedelic Trance Artists To Watch At Sunburn Goa
Psy trance or Goa trance was built on the industrial, new beat and high-energy music Germany enjoyed before techno. It was named Goa trance after the music began to include trippy psychedelic mandalas and ethereal ethnic samples (like flutes, sitars, percussive instruments) woven in with dark, sinister vocal exhortations. That was in the late ‘80s. In the early Nineties, Goa Trance took off across the country with open-air parties in farm houses in Delhi, in the mountains of north India, beaches further south of the country, forests and lakes in the north east and one legendary Goa venue called Club Paradiso, set up in 1994. Until its closure six years later, almost every international psy trance artist of repute, from Goa Gill to Infected Mushroom DJed there before making the big time. So things have come full circle for psy trance fans who don’t have to hide under the cover of the night, or find secret locations or fight the authorities this December. Sunburn’s psy stage has you covered. Here are five artists you should check out on your visit to Sunburn.
‘Illuminorganica’, ‘Shaktilectronicawhomp and Globalbassadelic is how the American duo Amani Friend and Treavor Moontribe describe their music. Unusual? Certainly. That description extends to their music as well. Unlike the speeded-up version of psy trance that gives the genre a bad name, Amani and Treavor shot to fame with their acclaimed “DownTemple Dub” series. Its combination of classic psy trance tropes alongside strong dub influences and chants set it apart from the legion of standard psy trance producers. Their signature sound has seen them perform at festivals across the globe including Burning Man in Nevada, Great Convergence in Egypt and Solar Eclipse in Australia. They also retain a very Indian connection to the music - they cite Ravi Shankar and Zakir Hussain as influences besides Indian classical music and dance traditions.
Jules Hamer aka Aphid Moon epitomises psy trance culture. If any outsider wanted to understand why people get involved with the movement, how it happens, why they delve deeper and later champion its ethos and sound, study his career. Over the past 15 years, the Brit has produced, DJed, set up his own label and toured the corners of the globe including South Africa and Japan.
Hamer grew up in a laid-back surf-style community in Devon in the UK, learning the sax, flute and guitar, polishing his vocals starting his own band in the process. Jumping from the Beatles to the Cure to the Happy Mondays, he stumbled across the Goa Trance scene when he first heard globally renowned psy trance duo Flying Rhino at a student club night called Megatrippolis. The Flying Rhino themselves has just returned from a crazy holiday on the beaches of - you guessed it - Goa. So Hamer will be pumped to give his fans a taste of the sound that he first heard in the late ‘90s.
A DJ with multiple avatars and a man with multiple hats, Jehan Johar aka Janux whose previous job was to select acts for Blue Frog’s monthly gig calendar, doubles up as a delightfully wicked psy trance DJ. Johar has a legitimate claim to being the unofficial heir of the Goa Trance scene. The DJ literally grew up around the Goa open-air parties when there were few restrictions and the hippie vibe was still very strong. He’s also studied the saxophone and been part of a band lending him the credibility of being more than just a DJ. What’s more, in the past three years, he’s been invited to several of the world’s leading festivals like Ozora in Hungary and Hadra in France. It’s cemented his reputation as a tastemaker and influencer, ensuring that his place in the history books is secure and firm.
A family-owned psy trance business? Starling D’souza aka Wicket Chaos aka DJ Starling isn’t simply the resident DJ at one of the world’s most scenic outdoor psy trance venues. He’s also overseen the growth of the genre in Goa that is now in its third decade, partnering with his father Steven D’souza who started the venue over 30 years ago as a simple benches-and-trees mom-and-pop joint. In the process, Starling has created a memorable stomping ground for psy fans from across the globe. From A-list celebs to top techno DJs to teenagers doing their first trips to Goa, the annual Hilltop New Year’s bash is a one of those things you must tick off your bucket list. Before that, however, you can immerse yourself into Starling’s meaty slabs of Goa Trance, sliced from the best artists, fat burned out from all the edges, as fans of the genre would say, full power.
Sweden’s most famous musical exports include the disco pop of ABBA, a plethora of EDM stars like Swedish House Mafia, electronic music acts like The Knife but psy trance? That’s not a genre you associate with the land of IKEA? Andreas Wennersköld aka Gaudium wants to change that with his brand of progressive psy trance from Gothenburg. Gaudium first burst into fame a decade ago with their Nordic Nature album (Denis Bajramovski, his partner was then still part of act). The music is unique in that you’ll find elements of psy trance and house and techno - this enables Gaudium to reach out to wider audiences. So don’t be surprised if you rub shoulders with some techno fans and house aficionados during Gaudium set.
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Image credits: Artist Facebook Page/ Artist Management