My eyes dart speedily from the road to the horizon, where I notice the faintest glimmers of light, as daylight threatens its arrival. It’s later than I would have hoped, and I silently curse all women as I think about how long the my two girl-friends – now sleeping in the back of the car – had taken to get their stuff together for the party. My stomach tightens into a knot of anxiety as I think of DJ Hiyarant and the set that I’m missing as I drive towards Beartrap’s Celestial Beings Party. I tighten my grip on the steering wheel, apply more pressure to the accelerator, and before we know it we have pulled into the venue and are hurriedly mixing drinks.
The walk to the dance-floor is a long one; my pace quickens and my spine begins tingling as the guttural bass-line begins pulsating through my chest. Behind the decks DJs Jester and Archive are cooking up a musical storm – the rolling beats are quick, powerful, and deliciously evil. This malevolence is accentuated by the décor: ballerinas slowly perform graceful pirouettes behind spotlights which cast shadows onto large white screens. This combines with the immoral music to produce a hauntingly ethereal and magical effect.
Biorhythm soon take over with a show of sonic mayhem, which is complimented by the lighting crew who shower the massive quarry that surrounds the dance-floor with twisted shapes and splashes of light and colour. Before we know what is happening we find ourselves hurtling towards daybreak, and the girl-power act Myzovs Tune Raider usher in the sun-rays with high-powered and bouncing bass-lines.
Next up is Chemogen – a DJ and producer who has come a long way since his debut in 2007. Chemogen, who is currently signed to One Foot Groove, had the honour of playing the 8am slot and preceding the headline international act Dapanji. Through the hash-tequila flavoured haze that I found myself in during Chemogen’s set, I reminded myself to comment on how impeccable his track selection was: songs and beats blended seamlessly into one-another and the energy dynamics were tweaked to perfection, keeping the crowd smiling, energized and begging for more.
Chemogen’s own productions also deserve mention – he has created a distinctive and impressive musical style, consisting of ethereal soundscapes and harmonious progressions which are interspersed by dark, driving bass-lines and powerful breaks. My only disappointment was the fact that he didn’t play a live set!
The Israeli duo Dapanji soon took over from Chemogen, and the crowds flocked to the front of the stage to witness the live set by the much anticipated international headliners. Having listened to some of Dapanji’s recent releases prior to the party, I must be completely honest: I don’t really like enjoy their music. I find it too fast-paced and slamming without enough musical build-up; all punch and no progression. That’s not to mention the incredibly corny pop-cultural references that they often sample just before their breaks (particularly in their collaborations with Mysical Complex).
My own prejudices aside, I’d be lying if I said that they didn’t play a fucking fantastic set on Sunday. Watching these guys mixing live simply left me with the impression that they really knew what they were doing. Predictably, the crowd went wild, and two hours later, when Sway started setting up to take over, the crowd was still shouting for more.
As the organizing force behind Beartrap productions, Sway played a set that really exemplified what Beartrap parties are all about: otherworldly beauty, bouncy fun and powerful darkness, all blended into one musical collage of psy-trance. As the beats rolled out, the crowd moved and grooved under the sun, dancing under the sprinklers, feeling the soft hay beneath their feet and admiring the picturesque rocky quarry that surrounded them.
The sun was beginning to set when we decided that it was time to head back to the real world, and we had a quick dip in the beautiful river before making the long, slow and shaky walk back to the car. As we passed people in varying states of physical decline, we were acknowledged with happy smiles and offers of watermelon and sun-cream. There was a feeling of togetherness and communalism at Celestial Being the likes of which one rarely finds at parties these days. Everybody was happy, smiling, friendly and down to earth (perhaps this is the wrong choice of words, but you get the idea). Even the security guards were joining in the fun, with the legendary Omo from Nigeria administering a dose of pap-sak to one of the members of our crew (an interesting contrast to the approach taken by other production companies – no names mentioned – who are seeking to abolish the pap-sak tradition by force).
Aside from the long distance between the car and the dance-floor, my only criticism of this event was the small number of toilets provided – there were often queues, a lack of toilet-paper, and a smell that was reminiscent of the end of the world. Overlooking such toxic issues, an amazing time was had by all. A massive thank-you to the Bear-trap crew for this amazing production, and for inviting MyCityByNight to join in the fun. We’re looking forward to the next one!
Keep it unreal.
All pictures by Nik Basting