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Media Review by Wick
EarthDance Amsterdam 2001

Earthdance Amsterdam 2001

Review by Wick @ CNNN

Represented in about a hundred cities around the globe, the Earthdance organization has grown to become the biggest synchronized dance event on earth. All around the world people dance for peace and experience a moment of awareness at midnight London Daylight Savings Time, where all dance-floors sync up to play the Prayer for Peace.

This year the Netherlands was well represented, with two big parties and in total five live-acts, one party being in Emmen in the east of the Netherlands, with Rastaliens and Vibrasphere live, along with Matt BooM! DJ’ing amongst others. The other was situated in Amsterdam, with Hux Flux, Haldolium and Dutch bred FrequenSqueeze as live acts, and mister Flow Records himself, DJ Pena from Portugal. Both became a huge success, and put Holland back on the international trance map. Right where it ought to be.

Three weeks before the big night, the organizers in Amsterdam had huge plans, but still no location. Nor were any of the live-acts confirmed... with lots of stress and not so much patience, they finally came up with a warehouse near Sloterdijk Station, called the Loos!. The music was confirmed a few days later, and the flyers were printed and distributed across the country and beyond. Maybe it was gonna work out after all!

People were told to come early, as the event was supposed to kick off at eight, which is of course quite exceptional for psy-parties. The setup was complete about an hour later than planned, and people started streaming in right after the doors opened. The Elf’s very own Shakti Cat kicked off the party with a firm boost, which was just what the first visitors needed. She had switched from minidisc to cdj’s only three weeks before, and showed that she had practised a lot. She shifted from hard multi-layered stuff like Paps, to slower more melodic modern trance like goascene’s number one hit Subtle Thrust from Purple and Lunar. The former Elfies that were present went mad hearing her on the 16k sound system.

The place was huge for Dutch standards, holding a capacity of over 1000 people, and a chill-out for a few more hundred, separated from the dance-floor by a dual sound wall. In the corners of the main hall there were staircases leading to an surveying area which served as a chill-out with a panorama of the dance-floor. The main room controls for the lights. visuals and the live netcast were situated there as well, right behind the stage. Across the dance-floor there was a large bar, and a few Internet computers brought along by Dutch smartshop franchise Conscious Dreams.

As people continued to stream inside, looking around and getting a drink, FrequenSqueezers Kim & Jesse went on stage to start their live set. They caught everyone’s attention with their first track, beginning with luscious soundscapes, and a slow breakbeat. As they went on, miss Cosmic Girl got on the dance-floor on stilts. Wearing a tight yellow flouro suit, she elevated the ambience to a higher level... The track evolved nicely into a more aggressive tone, indicating the coming of something faster.

When the bass kicked in, some cheers were heard and people started grooving. This second track called Baardslaaf (translated into English that would be beard slave grooved like a sizzling steak, making use of a bass line and several layers of progress oriented sounds. Very nice. In total they played five tracks, all mostly in the same style, but varying well to keep the crowd interested. The music often kicked in a bit off-beat, but the groove kept the crowd inside the music. And it was all completely live... They showed that they have made a lot of progress since their last performance: their potential was made obvious to the 600 or so people that were present at the time. The massive cheers made that very clear... well done guys!
Next up was DJ Pena from Portugal. He didn’t manage to keep my attention, so I went for a chill session. Jare was playing at this point. Quite standard goachill, which was nice, but nothing too special. Suddenly a weird clothed bloke with a big old warrior mask came out from the door next to the Tibet Support Group stand, and supported by Tibetan music (with some strange looking instruments) he started doing some sort of ritual dance. Must be the Mongolian dancer then! Before anyone could really understand what he was doing, he whooshed away from the small amount of space he was dancing in, and went back to where he came from. Nice moves, but a bit short to my taste.

Back on the dance floor, Pena was still a bit dull, strong minimal psytrance, with just about the same bassline over and over again. Some tracks were quite humorous, but in general I expected more from this guy. Also concerning his mixing skills... At 1 am Dutch time, it was time to Pray for Peace. Last year in Groningen it was a very fluffy moment, when everyone concentrated on the fact that people were thinking about the same thing all over the world, but with over a thousand people present, people mostly went for a drink at the bar. Well that was that then!

Now that world peace was set into people’s minds, Haldolium could start their live set. They had three drum pads, and a pair of drumsticks to slap them with, which gave a good live feeling to it. Some tracks were groovy, as others got a bit repetitive. But all in all it was a good live set. Unfortunately I missed most of Saaf’s set in the chill out, but then again, we can’t have it all now. The few tracks that I did hear were great, as well as the mixing. Always a pleasure to hear him play...

Following up Haldolium was DJ Zen from Amsterdam. He put a lot of variety into his set, playing a lot of melodic stuff from the last few years, in a lot of different styles. The mixing was nice too. After that came what a lot of people had been waiting for: Hux Flux. At SolaLuna they played a great set, so I too was eager to this one. But unfortunately, they focused on the monitor speakers and not on the speakers from the sound system itself, resulting in a low grinding bass-pounding set with a lot of sounds failing to reach the crowd, sounding like just the bassline and a single bleep or twirp... The crowd was still having a blast though.

By this time there were well over 1200 people inside from all corners of the Dutch dance scene, sweating like hell. The condensation was dripping from the ceiling, and it was way too hot to stay inside for too long. More and more people started staring at the visuals that were projected onto two large screens. The decoration was of an exceptionally nice for Dutch, having one lengthy wall covered with German imported decos, with beautiful purple and pink psychedelic landscapes. The rest of the dance-floor was filled up by amongst others Gypsy Trance Mafia. All of the walls were covered with black cloths, which gave a spatial effect to the otherwise industrial building. Great work on the decoration!

With Hux Flux still playing, miss Cosmic Girl decorated the dance-floor very well with her trapeze act. She made the people look at her in amazement, as she moved graciously down onto the dance-floor Very nice! The last few hours of music were reserved for organizers Nilis and Tintal. They knew well how to keep the vibe alive, mostly playing contemporary psytrance. When Tintal put his set to an end, people were screaming for more. And so they got more. After this track, (mostly frothy) people screamed again, and so they had one more last track. Obviously a lot of people hadn’t had enough just yet, but there was an afterparty to satisfy those needs. This party however, was over...

Without a doubt, this was the biggest psytrance party in the Netherlands since a long time, and it was a big success. The organization was able to give a nice bit of money to the Tibet Support Group. There were, however, some problems with the sound, the temperature, the chill out, and the ticket sales, but every one there had had a great time. May this party open new doors for the Dutch scene.

Signed Wick



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