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A history of psytrance in Czech republic

Psychedelic trance came to the Czech republic relatively late but has evolved a great deal over the last 2 years. Generally, it has been house, acid techno, hard trance etc that have prevailed, mostly originating in the UK, Holland and Germany in the mid 90s. Similarly, the Czech republic has embraced the massive wave of commercial house and tech-house that is the mainstream of European dance music. Because of these two larger influences, the word "trance" has been regarded as "euro", IE progressive soft stuff.

Just in the year of 1995 Prague was visited by german DJs from Spirit Zone and Paradise production as DJ F.R.E.E., Dominic Sangeet Bentner and M23. They played at several Planet Alfa parties in prague’s club called Slunicko. But it was too early for some sort of czech goa-scene.

The earliest psytrance parties in the Czech Republic were organised in 1999 by djs Marthy & Rawe and their friends. They started organizing underground parties in Havirov near Ostrava and Fluorobotanics UV deco makers painted the first backdrops. Fluorobotanics have since become an essential part of every psytrance party in our country since then and have become internationally respected for their "lyserdelic" visual installations ( http://fluorobotanics.psy... ). Also significant in the development of our psytrance scene were the underground parties in Slovakia that introduced this unique style a year or so before it got going in the Czech republic. A community created by Cosmic Dance in the Slovak town of Piestany, not far from the Czech border, is a reminder of the close relationships that remain between the two countries that formally made up Czechoslovakia.

The first Czech psytrance DJ crew "Sonic Distortion" (http://sonicdistortion.ps...) was founded in the beginning of 1998 and has continued to this day, to work hard to promote the pure spirit of psytrance parties. However, their audience has tended to be limited, as people don’t seem to be interested in something new unless it is supported by large scale promotion. In 2000 a new promoter crew "Hedonix" entered the scene and organised two parties at the top Prague club, Roxy. They weren’t pure psytrance parties, but they provided an introduction to the idea for a lot of new people. Hedonix built on this beginning with a number of subsequent parties often featuring Russian Djs and artists from around the world. These parties have been supported by a more conventional level of promotion, that have managed attract a wider crown to the psytrance scene without giving in to the mainstream.

The birth of the current psytrance scene in the Czech Republic could be considered the Shakti open air party in the summer of 2000. This is probably where the core of the Czech psytrance community gathered together for the first time. Prior to this party there were really only a few people who knew this kind of music. Shakti was organized by Perplex of Hedonix, with support from Sonic Distortion, and was held right in the centre of Prague, by the river, without official authorisation. It was a leap of faith that paid off. A truly international crowd of more than 600 people danced until noon the next day, with passers-by enjoying the spectacle from the bridge.

2001 saw the real spread of psytrance in the Czech republic. A number of high quality indoor and outdoor parties were organized by a growing number of psytrance enthusiasts, in addition to those arranged by Sonic Distortion and Hedonix (by then divided into 2 separate promoters). A feature of even smaller events became the live psychedelic Vjing, often containing shots from earlier parties. Parasense, Matt Boom and Tromesa are among the many artists who performed in the Czech Republic during 2001.

The internet has played a significant role in Czech psytrance, with www.psytrance.cz providing a solid base for all involved. Although the site is mostly written in Czech, one may get a good idea of what is happening here, especially through the chat room, where language assistance is usually provided promptly. As we look ahead to the summer season of 2002, we see a scene that has diversified to offer a wide range of psychedelic sound. This also includes some original Czech projects that have started composing over the past year.

People at Czech psyparties are generally very openminded and communicative, with a wide range of age and professions. We even have regular visitors from remote regions or even other countries who will travel to Prague to attend a single psytrance event. Smaller parties can be 200 people, whereas the largest will have well over 600. Through a combination of its geographical location, the disposition of its people (and authorities!) and low overheads, the Czech republic seems to be a good place in which "West meets the East".

[thanx to Chris King]

30.03.2002 | Perplex & Cymoon | magazín