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Exclusive interview with Jonathan West: The inspiration is contagious

The first time I met Jonathan West was in March at Altered States. It was the grand premier of the Psychedelic Dream Temple. I’d never seen anything like it; a mobile art gallery showcasing the works of fifteen visionary artists including Aumega, Jacqui Van Staden, Liquid Faeries, Flowmotion, Sean Ravenhill, Rossi Toltech, Franny Erasmus, Brad Briscoe, Jake Grayham, Hakim Hasan, Raphael Araujo and Pixel Pusher.

After chatting to Jonathan for a short while, I began to understand that The Temple however was not just an art gallery but rather a platform to inspire and expose concealed creativity from the core.

Psyked in the City  Continue reading Exclusive interview with Jonathan West: The inspiration is contagious

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Review: Altered States ~ Lunar

As I arrived at my long-time favourite venue, the “Circle of Dreams,” I was struck by the beauty of Riversonderend once more. Home of Vortex Trance Adventures, this sacred clearing is nestled in a forest roughly 170km out of Cape Town. I was elated upon hearing that Altered States managed to secure this dream-space for LUNAR after a last-minute complication (or rather, a blessing in disguise).

Photo by: Athena Christoforakis
Photo by: Athena Christoforakis

I made my way to the dance-floor for the much-anticipated Sound Journey and was transfixed by the amalgamating rhythm. A few decorative details were strung from the branches of trees in the background, adding to the already vibrant display. Some milled about in conversion, others marvelled the gallery of artwork within the ‘The Psychedelic Dream Temple.’

decor altered states psychedelic sun beautiful forest music festival
Photo by: Kelly Turner

I managed to capture a brief snippet of the Sound Journey on video, although I’ll confess that I was too engrossed by the magic to fumble about with technology; Altered States has a contagious aura of tranquillity about it. I sensed that even before Earthtone got behind the decks, and the beats began.

This level of intimacy and mutual understanding was more than refreshing. Creativity radiated from every carefully-painted piece of décor and party-goers were mindful of the environment around them. This was a special gathering, indeed. And I was mystified by the time Prefix guided us into the evening.

Kineticz followed, and then Killawatt, who delivered a set unlike anything I have heard before. The vibrations of his high-energy beats pulsated through the forest floor and then up, through my being. I admired the openness of the star-filled sky above, as well as the spaciousness of an un-crowded dance-floor (something that’s become exceedingly rare).

altered states lights night time trance party
Photo by: Athena Christoforakis

The party was heaving when Compact got into the DJ box. I stood at the centre of the floor, experiencing the energy mounting around me. Happy faces floated to and fro but all that existed was the music. Out of nowhere, large illuminated creatures emerged from the floor reaching higher and higher towards the heavens as part of an epic performance by The Psychedelic Theatre and I decided to watch in awe from the warmth of the bonfire.

DJ Drifter was up next, in place of Talking Decks. I found myself asking when the music would stop being so amazing so that I could get some rest. After much contemplation, I managed to pull myself away from the dance-floor, (though I still enjoyed the sensation of the music from the comfort of my tent).

johan absynth music festival girl party
Photo by: LGeary

The next day, I was woken by a friend, beckoning me to the dance-floor. Flexture was wrapping things up and I grabbed a cup of Marley coffee along the way. The tunes of the talented Bruce (a.k.a Solar Axis) started up in the distance. A woman who had been curled up in the chill area, stretched out from the oversized bean-bag she’d been sleeping on to reveal a dog cozied up beside her (“I don’t even know whose dog this is,” she told me).

The feeling of love and unity was ever-strong; I found myself being magnetised by Bruce’s early-morning set, reeling me in deeper and deeper. I closed my eyes, floating through the dance-floor once more, a grin on my face. If there’s one thing I love about Sundays, it’s a morning set from Bruce.

Photo by: Johan Absynth
Photo by: LGeary

Feeling my enthusiasm build, I found my energy-levels replenish. Soon after, Absynth took the reins and the crowd began to fill out more and more.  His banging beats echoed through the trees for two hours straight.

I could hardly contain my excitement when I noticed Flooting Grooves a.k.a Pearce van der Merwe preparing for his set (read our exclusive interview with him here). Every expectation I had was exceeded as he teleported us on a journey of sound, aided by a majestic flute.

flooting grooves altered states music festival psytrance trance south africa psyked
Photo by: Kelly Turner

Bernz seized the floor sometime after that and the party gained new momentum. His psychedelic sounds, composed of hard-driving basslines and uplifting undertones, once again, had me fixed to the spot. Then the sprinklers turned the ground to mud and I sunk my feet into the coolness of the earth, colours swirling around me and bubbles drifting across the scope.

dancing happy pstrance music festical altered states absynth psyked
Photo by: LGeary

It was a sad moment when I rallied my troops, knowing that it was time to head home. Unfortunately we were not able to stay for Satori’s closing set but I’ve been informed that she finished things off on a high note with some seriously killer tunes.

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Photo by: Kelly Turner

If there’s one thing I gleaned at this party, it’s that the principles of P.L.U.R and the original vision of psytrance is still present. These like-minded individuals who come together to celebrate the spirit of African psy are not just our friends, they’re our family.

Thank you to the Altered States crew and everyone who attended, this was the first of many! Until then, stay psyked…


Photo credit: Kelly Turner, LGeary and Athena Christoforakis

Review: Origin Festival 2014 (Saturday – Sunday)

It’s 9.00 on Saturday morning and after much anticipation, we are on route to Origin Festival. It’s my first time so I can’t contain my excitement. I ask, “are we there yet?” about twenty times.  When we finally arrive at the beautiful Elandskloof in Helderstroom, I’m greeted by an awesome shaded camping spot, the lush forest and a little dam to enjoy later.

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Photo: Aumega Photography.
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We hurriedly pitch our tent, eager to hit the dancefloor. When we enter the jungle-like Beats Stage, Travisto is in the DJ box pumping his melodies. The vibe is infectious; Djs throw lilos into the crowd and everyone is smiling. Then the beat drops and I feel like I’ve finally come home.

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I’m chilling next to the dam with the other party-goers merrily soaking up the sun. Before I know it, the Spanish muso, Elrow‘s on stage for a special session featuring Toni Varga and De La Swing. I’m on the dance-floor jamming beneath the trees; and I’m in love with the festival already.

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Photo: Aumega Photography.

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We head for the Origin Floor, but I’m lured into the Chill Zone. I have a chance to admire Artescape‘s handywork. The décor is unbelievably beautiful (possibly the best I’ve seen all year) and the mountains are a magical backdrop.

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Photo: Aumega Photography.

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Psychedelic paradise calls out to me. I reach the dancefloor just as Bayawaka starts up the music, followed by Ryanosaurus and Renegade. Static Flow takes charge as the sun is setting and I’m in my happy place for sure. The Commercial Hippies ravage the dancefloor at 21.30, playing their killer Lark remix. The crowd’s sent into overdrive.

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Regan is up next. And although I’m loving the vibe, I decide to make a mission towards the Beats Stage again to watch Secret Cinema in action. I marvel at the LED light projections in the oak treas. The visuals are amazing. I bid a silent thank you to The ExtraDimensional Space Agency.

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Photo: Aumega Photography.

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Mid-night draws near and it’s time for Brazilian Digoa to rock the Origin Floor. He’s incredible in the Dj box and his killer set has people talking throughout the event.

All of a sudden, it’s two in the morning and things are getting quite dark. So I take a stroll to see what kind of storm Spekta is cooking up. Moments pass before Pete Bones gets behind the decks and elevates things to a whole new dimension. I’m blown away by his smooth techno style. The atmosphere is friendly and ecstatic, and stompers are responding well to his tracks. But I’m feeling tired, so I jam until my feet give in and decide it’s time for some shut-eye.

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aumega origin party at night
Photo: Aumega Photography.

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I awake the next morning as Dala is finishing up. I hear his majestic tunes in the distance and shun myself for not being on the dancefloor. I grab breakfast on the way, fresh and ready for a Sunday session with Groove Addict.

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It’s a great morning workout, stomping in the sunshine. I almost lose track of time. But when 10.30 eventually rolls around, the excitement is indescribable as LOUD gets onto stage. The dynamic duo is greeted by the cheers of their die-hard fans. LOUD blasts beat after beat. And I am compelled as they play their new Afrika 101 track. I’m certain that this is bliss.

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Soon it’s Headroom‘s turn and HOT DAYUM, his beats are banging! Broken Toy doesn’t disappoint either. He gets behind the decks. spinning his epic Commercial Hippies “Dr. Rocket” remix for the first time, causing chaos on the dancefloor. Just when I think it can’t get any better, LOUD returns to end the party off on the highest of notes.

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I’m enjoying the experience so much, I don’t want it to end. When I finally do head home on Sunday evening, one thought resonates in my mind: “Origin, you know how to party!” Huge thanks to the organisers and everyone who made it happen.
See you all on the other side…

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aumega stompers happy origin
Photo: Aumega Photography.

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Get psyked: Origin Festival 2014

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There is only one week to go until Origin Festival returns. So get yourself ready for a weekend full of psychedelic music, art and culture. Only 125 km from Cape Town, the lush green Elanskloof venue is home to fresh mountain streams and a magnificent forest open to explore. If a backdrop of towering mountains entices you, Origin is a journey you should embark upon.

 
aumega origin
Photo: Aumega Photography.

 
Party-goers can expect only the best selection of psychedelic music, incredible international acts and outstanding production. The ExtraDimensional Space Agency has come all the way from the UK to create an LED show unlike anything Cape Town has seen before. Origin admits that this is their biggest lighting installation yet. This is great news for the night-owls among us.

 
at night origin aumegaPhoto: Aumega Photography.

 
But the sunshine-loving stompers need not fret; Artescape will once again be bringing the festival to life in the Psychadelic Temple with top-class décor to aid an incredibly sensory experience on the dancefloor. And if the eye-candy Artescape created at Rezonance is any indication, we can expect nothing short of perfection.

 
jamming origin aumegaPhoto: Aumega Photography.

 
However important the visual elements are, the music remains the main attraction. Back-to-back acts from top-class Djs on not one, but two dancefloors ensures that there’s something for everyone, no matter what your taste is.

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On the Origin Floor, you can expect only the best psychedelic trance from groundbreaking international acts such as LOUD from Israel, Groove Addict from India, Ryanosaurus from Australia and DJ Digoa from Brazil. But let’s not forget our beloved locals Headroom, Broken Toy, The Commercial Hippies, Sad Paradise and Portal (to name a few) who will be bringing their beautiful beats into the mix.

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origin chillPhoto: Aumega Photography.

 
If you prefer something more laid-back, Origin’s Beats Stage is the place to be. Situated amongst the trees and right alongside the river and pool, it is there you can enjoy everything from funky techno to tech house to psybass and chillstep. Prepare your ears for the melodies of Secret Cinema from the Netherlands, and enjoy a special Origin session featuring Elrow from Spain in conjunction with Marc MayaToni Varga and De La Swing. One thing you can be sure of are the captivating tunes that will serenade the crowd all the way through.

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And to lure creative and contemplative souls, the Visionary Art Gallery will be open to marvel. Featuring acclaimed artists from South Africa and beyond, this is a fine opportunity to take a gander at authentic artistic talent, mid-party. The works of Aumega, Ed Babb, Oliver Barnett, Andriod Jones and Amanda Sage will be exhibited at the gallery.

There are only a few more days to go and quite frankly, we can’t wait.
Click here to buy your ticket online to avoid missing out.

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The DJ low-down.

Just to tantalise your taste-buds, here is the inside-scoop on one of the headlining acts for Origin 2014: LOUD.

Who are the brains behind such banging beats, you ask? Meet Israeli-born Kobi Toledano and Eitan Reiter. Together they’ve been producing original electronic music since 2006, blending old school elements with cutting-edge, new sounds. These guys don’t just adhere to formulas, they pave their musical way with originality and enthusiasm.

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Having collaborated with the likes of Union Jack, Hallucinogen, Son Kite, Astrix, Perfect Stranger, Shulman, Prometheus, Ace Ventura, Domestic and Shulman, LOUD has earned the respect of many lading musicians and producers.
When it comes to their beats, they share one simple philosophy: Play it LOUD!

Catch them live in the flesh at Origin this weekend. Find the lineup here.

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The following video is am 8-minute long documentary compiled by LOUD featuring a range of festivals they performed at during their summer tour in 2012, including Boom Festival and Ozora Festival.

 

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Listen to more on Soundcloud: LOUD.

 

See you at Origin!