Although Toronto has not been left wanting for decent psy shows recently, there has been a distinct lack of full-on focused events. The folks over at Goantao aimed to deliver a night of unforgettable, full-power psychedelic tunes and their inaugural event did not disappoint! With not one, but two international acts making their Toronto debut at Sound Xchange the excitement for this premier event was palpable. Both headliners Bitkit and Digicult are signed to Dacru Records and are long time veterans of psy parties around the globe.
As expected from any proper psychedelic trance party the deco was on point. The club was awash with ultraviolet light, illuminating the myriad blacklight reactive tapestries and art, making for a surreal setting. When you combine that with the laser array and projected visuals on the ceiling the whole venue seemed to be dedicated to visual stimulation, so full marks for that.
Usually at any party you’d get an hour or two of tunes that fall on the more progressive side of the genre for an opening. A-fax seemed to eschew this opener school of thought in favor of high energy tracks and rolling basslines the whole way through his set, punctuated with brief interludes of vocal breakdown. Tracks such as Sonic Masala (Lifeforms Mix) by Zentura set a fair standard for the kind of sounds we’d be hearing for the night.
There was a lot to like about A-fax’s set, but once Bitkit came on there was an immediate and noticeable shift in the crowd. The energy picked up and straight out of the gate we were delighted by the melody-driven full-on sounds that seem to have inexplicably fallen from popularity. A lot of the Toronto psy scene seems to be more interested in the darker end of the spectrum, whether it be dark psy, forest, or even hi-tech. If this party proved anything it’s that full-on still holds some sway among the community.
Early in his set Bitkit made it clear that he wasn’t pulling any punches and the crowd loved it. One moment that stood out to me was when he played his track Eden. I looked around and nearly everybody was stomping hard making the floor warp and bounce.
Digicult’s set seemed to be a logical continuation of the all night full-on trend. It flowed well from the energy that Bitkit had built up and continued to drive revelers in their ecstatic dancing. A friend of mine was almost moved to tears when Digicult played his and U-Recken‘s collaborative remix of Mai Mai by Jaia. As with the previous set most people seemed to be compelled to stomp and gyrate with reckless abandon and nary a care about how they looked to outside observers. Full-on has always seemed to be a great equalizer of the dance floor. No matter who you are or what your problems are the only thing that matters when the rolling basslines kick in is how hard you can dance.
The closing DJ for the night was Buffalo native Psyslim. I was only capable of catching the first bit of this closing set as it had been a long night, following an even longer day which resulted in me nearly falling asleep at the club. Embarrassing, I know, but sometimes you have to take a disco nap to make it through the night. Psyslim’s sound was appreciably darker which I had expected a good deal sooner in the night. I understand why people enjoy that particular subsection of psy, but it doesn’t usually grab me for any great length of time. Though, from what I understand, the party continued for quite a while after I left.
As ever, with the good unfortunately also comes the bad. While I think Sound Xchange is a interesting venue with some awesome qualities, there are a few that fall short. For instance: the high end of the sound system seems excessively tinny at high volumes and is almost piercingly painful. A lot of that unpleasantness was mitigated with earplugs, which the venue sells from a gumball machine located near the restroom. Another grief I have is the pervasive odor of cigarettes. There have been a few times at this venue where people are rampantly and unapologetically smoking. It wasn’t quite that bad this time, but poor ventilation and airflow cause a good bit of fumes to make their way from the noxious miasma just outside the doors. These might seem like small issues but they’re sour notes in what would have otherwise been a near-perfect night.
Toward the end of the night I had a lengthy discussion with the Goantao team, the people responsible for putting on this amazing show. They assured me that this is just the first of many such parties and I am eagerly awaiting the next event announcement from them.
As usual, our Manager and resident photographer Adele was on hand to take pretty pictures of the event. Check out EDM TOR’s full photo album here.
Zentura – Sonic Masala (Lifeform mix)
Bitkit – Eden
Bitkit – Invocation
Bitkit – Drishti
Bitkit – The Pattern
Jaia – Mai Mai (DigiCult vs U-Recken Remix)
Digicult – Soul Samadhi
Astral Projection – Dancing Galaxy (DigiCult Remix)
Scott Copeland – EDM TOR