Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Smiling Tribe of ISRAEL

by Iddo Karnaf

Do I need to introduce trance in Israel? Do I need to tell you that it is crazy, wicked, wild, storming, bizarre, varied and by all means a total chaos? Sure I should, especially if you’re not from here. Is the trance in Israel so different than the trance in the rest of the world – hell, yes, at least as far as I know it.

We shall start of course with the locations we have here. Israel is a small country, but with an amazing variety of weather and climates. We have it all, from snow to desert, beaches to woods. You can have an outdoor party in an empty field or on the beach; up on a mountain top or in a canyon, you name it. We have a long outdoors party period, from April to October, and when it gets too cold for us, we have less outdoors and more indoors parties in clubs. Some are regular venues and other are special events. We have clubs from the south (e.g. Baraka and Q in Beer Sheva) to the north (e.g. Ultrasound in Kibbutz Yagur, Luna in Haifa) and of course plenty in the center (e.g. Zamir, SO, Comfort13 in Tel Aviv).

Should I talk about Israeli music? Is there anybody out there who doesn’t know about Israeli trance music? Come on, what are you on???

I find it very sad though that most of the trance world is aware of mainly one section, one genre of Israeli trance. We have so many artists here, from psy to full-on to progressive to chill to dark to IDM to whatever. Just brushing through a list of releases from the past year gives you names like Infected Mushroom, BLT, Etic, Winter Demon, Vibe Tribe, Elec3, Double REL, Void, Sub6 and so many more.

But what about the DJ’s here? Are they as good as the artists we have? As talented? Unfortunately, I have to answer no to that one. It is sad, but many Israeli DJ’s are not too professional, not too fine tuned, not feeling the pulse of the trancers and of our trance world. We see however some changes and surprises here. We do have some amazing DJ’s with great manners, professionalism and respect to their work (e.g. DJ Zombi, Dr. Borris).

I think that in Israel trance music is more in the mainstream than anywhere else in the world, to the point that we have many venues and events every week, we have several sounds and DJing schools (e.g. BPM school) and a lot of weekly trance radio shows, some of which you can listen to online. Shows like Beatnik (IDF radio), Matantrance (Radio Darom), Hafirot (106FM) and Trance-on-air (99Esc).

This trend of becoming a mainstream hasn’t happened in a day, it took us a few years to get to where we are. We believe that trance parties started as early as 1990 when the first full-moon parties were held. Those were small parties, usually with less than 100 people in them and were very underground, known only to a limited few. Slowly it moved to a few clubs, such as the Penguin and the HaBeaya. There it flourished a little and started to form its drive and direction.

Unfortunately, it also attracted the authorities’ attention and so in 1992 we start seeing the first police raids on trance venues and parties. The police raids were violent and aggressive and caused the trance to return to its underground stage and to get out of the clubs back into nature for a few years.

The next significant milestone is the first trance festival held in Ganei Huga in 1997, with the support of the Israeli anti-drug society. This festival had over 15,000 trancers and was later referred to in the press as the biggest drug party held in Israel. The fact that there were no reports of violence, and that the police records showed only a few minor arrests for smoking marijuana, didn’t change the press’ attitude. This forced the trancers to hide again and turn deeper into the underground, and caused foreign DJ’s coming to play in Israel to be harassed at the airport and sometimes deported. Some people decided to fight it, and with the support of some major label companies, organized the Tnu Chance LaTrance demonstration (Give Trance a Chance), which was in July 1998. It turned into a huge event, well organized and supervised by the police, with over 30,000 participants in Rabin square, the main square of Tel Aviv. However, it was hardly mentioned in the press, practically ignored by the deciding authorities, and therefore, had almost no impact outside the trance community. Since then, the trance parties have moved from clubs to nature, back and forth, and changed from sporadic, spontaneous events to a more organized, commercial, business-like events.

So when you come to Israel and decide go to a party you want to go for the whole thing, right? You come for a total experience of sounds, colors and feel. Some of these things are lacking in Israel’s parties, and I will mention it just so you won’t be surprised.

Deco is something that is coming back to the trance parties, but too slowly and too little of it. There are some parties with good deco (e.g. Double Asi decos) but for example, I can think of only three parties in the past year where I’ve seen a VJ (e.g. 3rd Empire’s parties). Most of the parties I’ve been to lately had hardly any deco at all (and a single longie hanging from the chaishop is not deco in my book).

The sound quality is somewhat shameful and it looks like finding a good sound technician in a party is like finding a decent politician. Often impossible. There are of course exceptions, there are those with respect to the music, but they are a few.

But the feel and the people, if you get to the right parties, are amazing. The tribe is returning to the underground and is hugging the newcomers with parental pride and content. You find the free parties on your rough days, that are just to cover costs, you find that girl who smiles at you just to cheer you up. You see dolphin impersonators and energy driven trancers. People who will help you out if you get stuck with your car and smile to you all the way. All you need is to get to the right parties for that, that’s all. Go party!!!

Facts:

* Weather – outdoor party season is usually from April to October, we hardly have winter here

* Party size – a small party in Israel can have 50 people, whereas a large party is anything over 1000. We hardly have festivals here (e.g. Doof festival in April/May)

* Getting to the party – unfortunately, there’s no public transportation on weekends in Israel, except for taxis, which are quite expensive. Therefore, if you wish to go to an outdoor party, try and find Israelis who’d give you a ride through one of the forums or ask the organizers for help.

* Prices – entry to a party can be anything from nothing (what we call a hat-party where you give as much as you can) to 150 INS (about 30 USD).

* Safety – as much as it may sound funny, Israel is one of the safest places I know. As long as you avoid military zones you’re relatively safe. In any case, parties are never in dangerous zones and usually have security people on site.

Shops with trance music
* Krembo – Shenkin 18, Tel Aviv
* Monster Disc – Central bus station, Beer Sheva
* Pauza – Machanaim 4, Haifa
* All of Tower Records branches
* In most shops you can find flyers and party info as well as good music.

Iddo karnaf:
karnaf@isratrance.com
Trance affiliation: Party freak, music lover and one of the managers of IsraTrance
Save the rhinos!!!

Photos:
Ilia Zilberman (PoL), Efrat (COMpact)





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