ALL WORDS BY TOM MEEK:
Wow… where to start. Like most trance parties it started with a long drive out of Cape Town to the venue for this year’s instalment of Mandala project, an annual event hosted by one of the oldest productions in Cape Town “Groovy Troopers” which will be celebrating their 15th birthday in March 2014
After attending trance parties for the better part of ten years it becomes quite a challenge to write and describe (and remember) the music and vibe of the party, and this one was no different.
Arriving at the venue, after a long drive, along an empty dirt road at 7am, we finally arrived at the entrance gate where my car decided that it didn’t like the idea of having a working handbrake and it would much rather roll into the garbage disposal bakkie parked in front of me. Luckily this didn’t happen.
Finally having received our arm bands and car pass we headed to the parking feeling quite relieved that I hadn’t got too badly lost and I hadn’t crashed into any garbage trucks it was about time for a drink and to prepare myself for the next 36 hours of heavy drinking, heavy stomping and little to no sleep.
Arriving at the Hyperdrive floor, a litre of Vin Coco in my hand and the sounds of U-reckon and Ital amongst others, being blasted out of the colourfully decorated rig by PsyTekh who played a massive 3 hour set manipulating the consciousness of the early morning stompers. A big congrats to PsyTekh for that beast of a set with him ending on a track he co-produced with local producer Glitch appropriately called “manipulating the consciousness”.
What a sweet little dance floor it was, with a crisp sounding rig and décor covering every inch of the tent making the maddest psychedelic mess of colours and shapes.
I always have a lot of respect for the DJs that play on the small floors. The sets they put together are always extra special and this time it was no different. PsyTekh started his set with a night-time-style and ending with a daytime psychedelic sound.
Next up was Geometric Flux playing some of the latest beats from labels such as iboga Records (Denmark) and Solar Tech Records (Germany) with deep melodic synths and very fast mixes leading to some of the most insane drops and breaks the party heard. I know I went completely insane when he dropped “Timelock & Ace Ventura – Lunar Trip” and “S-Range & Major 7 – Shake” which was probably my favourite track of the party, making everyone bounce and shake in anticipation for the next mad drop this song had to offer.
“Shake shake shake shake shake, how do you feel about seeing monsters or believing you can fllyyyyyy”
Taking a walk around the venue and over hearing people talk of a dam, I knew I had to scope this out and have a well needed swim. After a walk through the main parking area I came across the dam and the barge that seemed to be the best place to be before the main stage started up at 4.
As the party progressed and the main dance floor took shape, more and more people crowded the area waiting patiently for Delphi to stop working and start playing.
Delphi put the key in the ignition so to speak by starting the party off with some “deep-house-electro-ambient-psy-dub” building a progression of electronic music since its original form.
Up next was Injest which is Jester’s “daytime” project, playing a lot of SpinTwist Records (who host the event “Love and Light”) and Bluetunes Records both German record labels. Playing a very funky set with tracks such as Capital Monkey – Jazz Woodbine (Berg Remix) which everybody really enjoyed stomping along to.
https://soundcloud.com/capitalmonkey/woodbineremix – Capital Monkey – Jazz Woodbine (Berg Remix
Sterealkey who started dj’ing for Groovy Troopers many years ago in Johannesburg followed Injest’s lead with some progressive to get the evening stompers ready for the next 24 hours of solid stomping and grooving he is now signed fulltime to Groovy Troopers as he has relocated to Cape Town where his music is adored by all the Cape Town Troopers.
By this time I think everybody had got into their “groove” and were now ready for the night time sets. First of the night was Sad Paradise which is the new “psytech-progressive” project of James Copeland. It was the first time I’ve heard Sad Paradise live and the first time he played a Dj set of progressive psy-tech.
Chabunk who is a resident Dj for Groovy Troopers and has dj’d at many international festivals played the 9:30 set playing his “psy-prog” style of psy trance even playing a remix of Headroom’s track “Artelligent”.
“Imagine a world 30 years in the future“– Headroom – Artelligent (Chabunk remix)
Headroom was next fitting in after Chabunk perfectly. Headroom is not one of the usual night time artists so it was quite refreshing to hear a set by him at night.
He played a high tech bouncy set through the last hour of Saturday. Headroom has always been known for his daytime sets but I can definitely say I’d like to see a lot more night sets from him in the future.
Parana played next playing faster high energy with artists such as Sun Project, Space Tribe and Talamasca, though most of the tracks he played have yet to be released.
Sunday Fun day had arrived and the hard hitting thumps from the bass bins were being lapped up by the frolicking crowd.
Hiyamyzo the infamous Disasterpeace duo busted out playing their “in-your-face” signature sound flipping people with some intimidating blends of their latest tracks. Watching Hiyamyzo play is quite a spectacle as they mix and mash up their tracks with cheeky precision.
Disco Volante the duo act of Risky Bussiness and Iron Lotus aka Critical Mass (amongst others) exploded on stage with a fast paced set playing one of my favourite new songs Dare2disco sadly not being able to play as a duo Daniel Honor still ripped it for the seething crowd as Alexander Inggs ( aka“Airtime”) has been travelling and gigging Europe.
Bruce slipped in next for his usual morning set making the crowd go quite wild. Bruce has become a fixed part of the early morning line ups playing artists such as Bliss, Mesmerizer and Earthspace with very high energy psychedelic sounds that we know and love so much.
As the crowd was now revved up by Bruce’s fast paced set Shockwave took to the decks with no time for the crowd to stop dancing, the well-known Cape Town act that have played at some of the biggest festivals world-wide and are a part of Solar Tech Records kept everyone jamming into the hot morning sun.
Now for anyone that listens to psy trance the name Mad Maxx should be pretty well-known.
From a young age “Maxx Peterson” has been experimenting with music production and specifically psychedelic sounds. Having been in psy trance longer than most of us have been listening to psytrance and having been in more acts than most other psytrance producers it was a great honour to see him play at such a special party for us.
Some of the acts he has played with are Sirius Isness who I still listen to quite often, Ion Exchange and Wild Monkeys. Playing a hypnotising deep psychedelic that is sure to keep any crowd transfixed on the hard pumping bass-lines.
Wild monkeys were on the decks now playing a funky disco tech infused crisp electro sound hailing from American and French psytrance genealogy. With such solid tunes being blasted out of such a solid rig it was almost impossible to leave the dance floor.
X.S.I a duo act I have always wanted to see live and finally I can say I have!
The two members Dj Bio aka Jean-Marc Segondy and Dj Spawn aka Barthélémy Bayona played a solid mix of their smooth French psytrance style which the crowd lapped up like a puppy to milk. Their sound is fast rolling bass driven high energy with French Caribbean funkiness.
Dave mac taking over from X.S.I played his amazing end of party set playing for almost 3 hours making sure the crowd got every last stomp they could need from this party.
Playing tracks like the Sideform remix of “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode which I think was probably the best way to end off the party getting everyone singing and grooving along to probably the most “prog knowledgeable” Dj of the party Dave Mac who is the editor and owner of local electronic music magazines BPM and Muse.
Having been to a Groovy Trooper’s before I thought writing this would slightly easier almost like having a head start, but it wasn’t that simple. This party was different in the way that I couldn’t really find anything wrong with it. Venue was easy enough to find, (if you are anyone but me), not super far out of Cape Town, a well organised gate crew; parking wasn’t a problem and a decently easy and short walk to the party.
Once nearer the party there were plenty stretch tents and shade, the toilets and facilities were good, stalls were epic and the food was first class. A big congratulations to Jacques Carstens, Delphi and the rest of the Groovy Troopers team who really put together an amazing party I think we will all be attending the next Groovy troopers which will be Groovy Troopers Vision Serpent happening at the end of March 2014.
Images by Ray Chill