Refraction Reviewed: “Unadulterated Electronic Beats To Make One’s Heart Content”

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Whoomp, Whoomp, Whoomp.” Rhythmic bass lines cover the collective consciousness of the dancefloor. Psychedelically infused sounds reverberate within warehouse confines.  

The crowd is swaying, stepping, flowing, ebbing. No one is still. Fleet footwork. Languid limbs. Dozens of interpretations in response to the same mind-altering tunes. 

A light show illuminates the warehouse front. A collection of psychoactive art adjacent reflects the light, shimmering with inherent beauty. Situated near the front stage, it acts like a religious icon beside an altar, drawing the attention and focus of the crowd to the music.

The time is 3.45pm. Rainbird’s set is in full swing. The energy pulsating from the stage is phenomenal. Powerful electronic beats fill the soul, as refreshing as cold water on a hot summers’ day. 


Photo courtesy of Dan Martin Photography.

Numerous pundits are working themselves into a trance on the dancefloor. Sweat runs down their faces before it is cooled by gusts of air from industrial fans. Facial features are pictures of tranquility. Muscles relaxed. Eyes closed. Smiles wide.

The effect Rainbird’s music is producing on the crowd is clear for him to see. The intimate nature of the venue ensures this. It is no more than thirty metres in length and twenty metres in width. The musician and the audience are locked in a connection impossible to achieve in a larger, less intimate setting. 

Within the confines of this space, perched on his musical platform, Rainbird surveys his kingdom. What he sees must please him. His face is alight with joy. At this moment in time, he is equal parts musician and electronic god. 

A previous set by Jesse Kuch has primed the crowd for the scenes transpiring now. With craftily constructed baselines and sleek transitions, he was able to transform the d-floor from a sparsely populated habitat to a thriving dance community.

Rainbird’s set is followed by techno-inspired brilliance from Donny D. His performance is memorable for its high energy levels and attention to detail. The beat drops at exactly the right moment, every time. Transcendent build-ups have the whole crowd holding its breath. Layers upon layers of primal sounds forged together to create musical masterpieces. 

The dancing continues unabated. Close to four hours of mind-expanding, body-tingling goodness. The stuff dreams are made of. 

As the night progresses, the music switches from psychedelically inspired bush techno to psytrance. Faster paced beats wean down the number of people on the floor. Myself included. I have never been able to penetrate the psytrance realm. The intensity of the music has always been a bridge too far for me to cross. 


Photo courtesy of Dan Martin Photography.

This is not to say that psytrance is not loved by many. I tend to think of psytrance in the same way that I view heavy metal and classical music. I perceive that these musical styles bring great joy to their fans. Yet it is an enjoyment which I will most likely never experience for myself. Like watching a foreign movie without subtitles, I don’t fully comprehend what is being communicated.  

Nor is this to say that others are not immersing themselves in the music. Those that are in the sets are true believers. However, the psytrance sets are not as accessible as the earlier bush techno acts – the number of interpretations to the music are narrower. The speed of the music dictates that shuffling dominates the landscape. As a result, the numbers on the dancefloor dwindle. Many are content to watch from the back of the venue – unable or unwilling to plunge into the current of the music.

Before I slip out, I make a note of the artists who preceded – Rainbird, Jesse Kuch, and Donny D. To me, they are the pinnacle of the day. Together they’ve created a moment in time which will stay with those who saw it for many moons to come. To have had their sets back to back was a musical gift. Unadulterated electronic beats to make one’s heart content. 


This article was written by George Thompson, a former gadabout and current gentleman and scholar.

Photography is by Dan Martin photography, an excellent addition to any doof or party.

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One Comment

  1. Big love to George and the Dreamland crew for the wonderful mentions. Glad you enjoyed the tunes as much as I loved playing them.

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