Goa trance can save the world.
No one can say exactly what is wrong with Goa trance. Amongst the curmudgeonly mumblings are usually: ‘too repetitive’, ‘fucking hippies’, ‘a bit naff’, etc. What they really mean is – it’s earnest. Return to the Source is Goa trance’s mecca.
It’s been 21 years since RTTS started and since then it’s ridden a glorious wave across some of the greatest beaches in the world, until finally as with all things, there came a time. All waves must crash, and while the trance wave crashed into corporate prog and became more relevant to moneymaking adventures than the wide-smiled ethos that spawned it, it’s fair to say that Goa trance bowed out of the limelight rather than waited to be pushed.
It’s been ages since Jon Snow spoke cautiously about this new youth phenomenon, not that you’d have known it on the night as gentle people came together well into daylight hours. And everyone swore that this was, if not the greatest rave ever, probably the best event they been to since 2001. Heavy beats, beautiful people, random humour, and the obligatory laser show. Even if Return to the Source hadn’t been originators back-in-the-day, they put on one hell of a serious party.
Freedom and escape, Goa trance makes its own rules, and once bitten, the goofy threads and proto-hippy trappings seem what they are – a fun way to costume oneself against the meanness of corporate life. Once divested of, such traps and trappings allow one to go on a rhythmic adventure through prog rock, early industrial, mind altering ambient and a melange of ethnic spices all underpinned by a rock solid syncopated mana-beat.
There’s a reason why the key acts of RTTS are called things like Medicine Drum, Man With No Name, Manmademan, and Shakti… because at the time these things make sense. Obviously the sanctity of a big night makes this true for a lot of experiences, however, it’s testament to Return to the Source, both as an entity and an eponymous reunion that despite the passing of days, years and decades, it’s remains a shining unification of ecstatic clarity in an other-wise world.
1 August, Electric Brixton, Town Hall Parade, London, United Kingdom
Editor, founder, fan.