Goa, located at the west coast of India, has been a far reality and a close myth since 1960’s. The region was ruled by Hindus and Muslims and later dominated by Portuguese for 450 years, till 60’s.
These lands, where different civilizations blended their cultures for ages became a very interesting place in time. Cold and rainy months of north hemisphere coincides with dry and hot season after the monsoon in Goa. A variety of beautiful beaches, tolerant people, cheap life conditions, moreover legality of the marihuana began to attract Hippie Generations to go to Goa since 60’s.
The pioneering westerns Eight Finger Eddie and his friend’s stories got about for years. During 60’s Goa grew into the center of Hippie movement, rock and especially psychedelic rock culture.
Even the marihuana is banned in mid 70’s due to American pressure, the magical atmosphere evolved in mystic Goa, was equal to understanding of the heaven for youth from every generation who wants to disappear (or exist), for years.
Goa Gil was bored. As one of the initiators of Goatrance, Dh Fred Disco explains, in Goa, people were still listening to rock bands like The Doors, Neis Young, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd in the 80’s. Another initiator of Goa Dj, who also organized the first fullmoon parties, Goa Gil, had been hanging out in Goa since 70’s, but was bored of listening to same music all the time on. While the world and the music was changing, Goa was not keeping pace with it. In this period Dj Goa Gil brought some Electronic Body Music examples to Goa such as Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Frontline Assemby which had a vital role in the emergence of Goa Trance. In Goa where people from various countries come together, there was always musical exchange and interaction between travelers.
As the use of acid was high and most acid-inclined travelers naturally brought the most freaky and weird music with them. Goatrance has alsı bearing upon Trance, Hardcore and Acid House as well as EBM. German Techno, English Hardcore, ambiance; evolvement of labels such as MFS, Gaia, Fax, Trigger and discovery of these music by travelers and being brought to Goa were the other reasons of the genre’s development. When fusion of Techno and Trance with 70’s hippie and psychedelic culture; metaphors of Indian culture and the colors of the life in Goa took a hand, a Trance Sound involving Goa Mysticism came out.
Analog whizzes of 303 drum machines, pertaining to Acid House, was one of the characteristics of Goa. On the other hand, 4/4 beat is deeper in Goatrance than other genres. Endless 303 melodies varies and evolves between hexadecimal (16) and 32(triple croche). The goatrance track’s speeds are between 120 and 160 bpm and are generally around 135 bpm. The song lyrics, in which Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Kabala, Voodoo and similar effects are highly appreciable, includes mystic, spiritual and natural messages. Progressing in a multicultural line though, Goatrance is predominantly produced by middle-class white youth. Among Goatrance producers, some of the most known names are Prana, Hallucinogen, Astral Projection, Juno Reactor, Total Eclipse, Bass Chakra, Kode 4, Black Sun, Insectoid, Masaray, The Auranaut, Sirius 2, Arcana, Shaktra, Miranda, Ayahusca, Psychaos, Mandra Gora, Masa, Ree Kitajima, Har-el Prussky, Nordreform Sound System and X-tron.
Goatrance parties are collective meditations, pagan rituals, on which the youth on the coast of ocean and monsoon forests progress through a way opened by technologic whizzes. Party culture evolved around Goatrance is highly rich in visual means; In these parties organized by third generation tech-hippies, Hindu, Maori, Aborigin and Indian cultures come together with raver’s luminous and plastic objects.
With the oncoming of Rave Culture, the age of days-long parties started in Goa and the Goa sound became more clear-cut in 80’s. Dj’s as Ray Castle enterprised in remixing -for more aesthetic mixing of the Goatrance tracks. In spite of the other electronic dance music genres, Goatrance was never based on records as material.
The Travelers life was not suitable for carrying the heavy records, indurable for difficult conditions and using the dj records that were not easy to find. However successful in their fields, the djs like Swen Vath who came with their records to domineer Techno in Goa, mostly turned out to be unsuccessful.
Even with their rich record archives and developed techniques, they couldn’t catch the chemistry of Goa djs playing badly recorded cassettes. With technological developments in time, dat took place of the cassettes Goatrance djs were using in the first years. Nowadays though, they’ve replaced bu mini discs and mp3 players.
Different from other genres, relatively long tracks of 8-10 minutes have a certain story; with a composition of entrance, progressing and final parts. Therefore subsequently arranged and interlocking musical-stories integrally resembles a journey. This is what makes listening Goatrance itself an experience and puts a shamanic characteristics to genre’s djs. The genre, appeared and developed on the famous raves on the coasts of Goa, might be considered as music not to listen but to experience.
It may be appropriate to say that the night starting, days lasting parties constitute the content of the music. In spite of the other regions where electronic music develops, high preference of LSD instead of ecstasy, has leaded the music to another way and made a tool for psychedelic experience, collectively created in nature. People from other nations merge with the tribe spirit and becomes a part of common travel in Goa parties.
On the contrary of the commercial raves in other countries, the community mainly of travelers are not elegant and glamorous. Actually muddy, sloppy, but extremely colorful, as well.
Special thanks to MAJI MAG for this beautiful article.