Sunday, October 29, 2006

Welcome To Wonderland

I'm reviewing a new DVD called Welcome To Wonderland. Double disc, one a documentary, the other a CD. It really captures the true spirit of what outdoor parties are all about. I've never been to a Melbourne doof (Earthcore aside, but I don't really count that as a psytrance party) and yet it felt like watching a home movie. I recognised these people. I've smiled that smile, danced that dance. It totally nails it when it comes to what happens to you, if you're a certain kind of person, when you experience your first doof. There is no going back to the club scene because nothing will ever compare to dancing in the open air in the bush, pristine setting, pristine sound, awesome freaks.

For me, in hindsight, the club scene was a stepping stone. I wanted to be on the dancefloor and be lost to the music. I had friends who went to clubs to sit somewhere and talk, and occasionally that was good, but overall I wanted music that reached in and took hold of me. I wanted to be out there, surrounded but alone. Some nights worked, when the trance was dark and hard, or the house was dirty and tribal, but it was hit and miss. When it was hit, I didn't want to stop. Some people go to clubs for the sex or the drugs, others really are there for the music.

As I'm typing I'm listening to the audio CD. It's best described as organic, tribal trance. Again, it taps into something primal, drawing on a variety of traditional ethnic sounds - didgeridoo follows Middle Eastern vocals or American Indian chanting, for example - in a way that makes you want to get the fuck out of the city and be in a field somewhere, face turned to the sun giving thanks for music and dance.

Doofers who watch Welcome To Wonderland are going to recognise it. They're going to see themselves and people they know, even if they have never met them. But I also want my non-doofing friends to watch it. They're never going to take that two or 10 hour drive, get lost, look for the ribbons tied to trees in the middle of nowhere. They're never going to experience that slightly comical feeling of relief when a random convoy of cars forms and everyone assumes the one in front knows the way. They're never going to experience that pure sound quality, feel those hugs, drink in those smiles as you stomp on the dusty dancefloor, surrounded but alone with the thumping beat and twisted melody. They're never going to have these friends who don't base a person's worth on their age or the job they do but on how much they let the music take hold of them. They're just never going to experience any of this, and this is why I want them to see this documentary.

Do ya get the impression that I want to be at a doof?


Margarita Milongita said...

I am a non doofer but I have dipped my big toe into the world o' doof a few times so I kind of know what you're talking about. I never could fully embrace the music due to my love of songs you can sing along to, but I can see why people love it.
I think I only liked it for the drugs! Being in the bush with hectares of land to wander through was pretty lush too.

Quick said...

I know what you mean about the love of songs you can sing along to. That fucking Wicked Game is the most frustrating song EVA like that. You can't not sing along to it, but you can't fail to totally stuff it up either.

Yeah, you have to be into the music first. When people say they want to come along to a doof for the first time, I get them to listen to the music first. It all starts with the music. But then the music becomes only a part of something much bigger. Quite a paradox.

Sent an email to Philis' address. That longer one was better written but had fruity language, which is why your work gobbled it.

guyana-gyal said...

Silly me, all along I thought 'doof' was slang for party, but now I gather it's more.

Quick said...

You're kind of right, GG. People do use it to mean party and also dance music generally, but at least here it's specifically outdoor parties in the bush and they involve psytrance, psychedelic decoration, secret location that's often difficult to get to, and the people are often hippies, or at least creative alternative types. Mostly they're people who are into nature and celebrating nature and it's important that the site be left the way it was before the party.