Subject: ice-9 rave review: fusion, by transcendance feb 4 95
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 1995 19:53:13 GMT

[i won't review our party, "reach", which was on feb. 3 in waterloo, since i'm too biased to be accurate. but it might help you to know that i got hardly any sleep at all this weekend. :) ]

i suppose i should warn you in advance that this review contains hyperbole. quite a bit of it. it is true that in the heat of the moment i sometimes express my feelings more dramatically to convey a point. know then that in this case, no exaggeration was used or needed, no flights of mental fancy indulged. know this: fusion by transcendance was one of the best, if not *the* best rave experience i have ever had the humble honour to be a part of.

having found out from jason the sound & light guy from our "reach" party the night before that the venue was bar one / generations, i had a little trepidation about the "clubbiness". as it turned out, my fears were unfounded. transcendance had gone all out to convert the space. the majority of the space was wrapped in black plastic, which gave it a spacey-tunnel-2001-like feel. decorations in the chill-out space were especially nice, including big snowflakes and "little fluffy clouds" on the ceiling. a wall of tv screens played black and white movies by some controversial woman film director whose name i can't remember.

the main room was a little more sparse, but black plastic on the walls created a cave-like atmosphere. the low ceiling made it difficult to get that spectacular synchronized effect from the intellibeams overhead, but when they passed over you with star-shaped patterns it felt very nice. :)

after running into dj billy and returning his penlite, i spent at least an hour in the chill-out space, dancing mostly with emily and her friends jin, tanya, dave, kate and jeff. since the space was sort of L-shaped it was difficult to dance toward the dj's, which actually meant more of a community vibe. it felt really nice to be part of emily's "raving family", even if we're all old geezers in the 24-30 crowd. also running into jason & deb, who helped our with our party, gave me this warm feeling that all the scenes, waterloo, london, toronto, are all getting linked together.

on to the meat and potatoes: richie hawtin took the controls in the main room at (total guess) about 3? and the floor was packed, just a little short in the elbow room but not too bad. with his shaven head low to the mixer, he stared intently at each record as he timed his breaks, glancing at the crowd every so often and throwing the crossfader with a flourish. he would weave these beautiful multi-layered acid tracks together, occasionally hand-spinning a record slowly down until the next phat groove would hit. whit-t-t-t-t-t-t-wht-wht-whut-whut--whuut--BOOM. absolutely wicked. the crowd, meanwhile, was responding with cheers, hands, glowsticks waving, anything they could do to show the greatness of what richie was bringing to them. at one point he brought the volume so low i thought i was hearing the ambient room next door. then suddenly, *BAM* he brought it back so hard, i thought my heart was going to burst! the crowd erupted with an enormous, uplifting cheer so loud i think we surprised even ourselves.

at one point during the first hour or so of his set i wandered over to the smart bar and noticed a computer monitor there was showing the "timeless" and "mindwarp" demos. cool. on my way back i noticed that *everyone*, *everywhere* was dancing. along the railing, a group of sweaty ravers was totally jamming with beautiful smiles. i felt myself a man posessed and shouted out to them as i passed, "you're *all* *so* *beautiful*!" they cheered & one girl turned around and smiled wide-eyed with wonder and glad at being noticed. (at least, i hope that's what she thought; maybe she thought i was just nuts!)

after some more dancing, i decided i needed a break, so i wandered back to the chillout space. i expected it to be a let-down after the frenetic beauty of what i just witnessed, but when i got there i was awestruck. a sea of happy bodies lying down together, sitting crosslegged, smoking, giving backrubs or just talking, bathed in the bluey-green light of the projections (just oil on water, but had been moved so they were in the center of the room). the music had shifted to very tranquil ambient, being laid down by richie's brother matt hawtin (i think). witnessing this scene i quickly ran back to drag emily to the space. we sat down with jin & kate and talked. eventually i found steve too. he had been dancing for 3 or 4 hours straight in the cool breeze of the air rushing in the back door! what a guy. i gave kate & steve backrubs. emily & i talked for a while, sharing amazement at how great the party was, and then got into doing little follow-hand gestures (which are always amazing with emily). they also got the attention of a smiling raver. i smiled & waved, and she made one of the little wiggly-fingers gestures i had just made, smiling and showing that she enjoyed watching us too. emily had her hair up in little buns, raver-style, which combined with her spotted green mini & green suede gogo boots to make her look decidedly catlike. i felt so lucky to be with her, even though i was all sweaty (and i really need a haircut!) i chatted with deb the popsicle girl a bit, later on, and she remarked that even though it was nearing 7am, the chillout space was still a sea of bodies, and no-one was leaving. no-one wanted it to end!

i had talked a bit with kate earlier, describing some of my rave experiences, and heaven getting busted in new york city. she asked if they got busted often, and i said that the toronto scene seemed to be really lucky, with relatively few busts these days. i thought about it, and realized that we really were lucky: the cops could probably come into this place and nail at least a dozen people for trafficking, let alone posession. but they hadn't, and they didn't. why was that? usually the authorities have been so anal in preventing any fun at all, legal or not, from being had. perhaps they didn't know, or didn't think it would be worth the effort. whatever the reason, we have been allowed this one pocket of goodness, this one taste of heaven, and we are truly blessed.

as the evening wound down, i moved from enjoying some thumping progressive house in the main room and found myself greeting the morning with some *great* trip hop being spun by jarkko & scott (?) in the chill. at this point, i hereby renounce my former dissing of trip hop; it's not just a creation of the media but an amazingly great new sound, and i should have known better than to dismiss an entire genre out of hand. i've always loved the lower-bpm funky stuff, and boy did these guys deliver! the dancers at this point were really showing off, especially a smiling extrovert in red & blue adiddas, an amazingly flexible, grinning guy in a bowler hat with *fast* moves that i recognized from atlantis boxing day, and a hilarious and very talented guy named michael who would do a series of mind-blowing moves and then form his face into this sort of mock grimace. these guys really loved an audience! emily remarked to me that they were like wonderful, whimsical clowns. after some amazing pull-yourself-up-with-invisiblestrings moves, michael came over, and joked, "that's what too many drugs will do to you." i smiled and replied, "it's only 1% the drugs, and 99% who you are, man." he agreed.

when the music finally ended around 9:30 (the last song was orff's carmina burana, such an incredible work), i said my goodbyes to debbie and paul and gave some positive praise (okay, it was pretty hyperbolic too :) to bev, one of the organizers that i ran into. as i'd heard, they were really nice people too. i don't know where i got the energy, but after nine hours in there i was still full of energy, and if anyone else had wanted to do the afterparty at catch-22 i probably could have made it. transcendance's last party, acid house, had had great music and a great vibe, but fusion took that vibe to a whole new level.

transcendance is so aptly-named: we transcended our situation, rose above being just so many blissed-out kids in a warehouse to being something more, transcended the mundane, the sometimes horrible reality of our world to try to find a better way of relating and being with each other and ourselves. down with deafeatism, doubt and denial. generation x is dead. LONG LIVE THE RAVERS!

peace out.

-=- sfw

p.s. shouts to debbie, jason, graham and chris (who didn't get in :( ), billy, paul, bev and everyone else who made this party so special. --
stephen f. white
"language is a virus from outer space" -- w.s.b.