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When Raving Was Radical

When Raving Was Radical
Photo source: Envatoelements

Comment: During the 1990’s I experienced the power and bliss of submerging myself into “the black hole of a dissociative dance floor experience”. This article discusses a novel recently translated by German author Rainald Goetz’s  who describes some of these experiences.

This mid-rave feeling of being utterly present, devoid of any sense of time, place, or ego, is exceedingly difficult to capture in any sort of strictly representational art form, but German writer Rainald Goetz’s 1998 novel Rave manages to convey the black hole of a dissociative dance floor experience with clarity. Newly translated by Adrian Nathan West, Rave avoids the saccharine tropes that most writing about dance music succumbs to, whether it be the glorification of excess, the distorting effects of nostalgia, or ham-fisted descriptions of euphoria…

It wasn’t until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991 that these early techno raves migrated to a youth hall in the East under the name Tekknozid. With the reunification opening up vast swaths of vacant buildings in the West, techno had plenty of room to expand and mutate. As one early raver remembers, those Tekknozid parties evoked, “the sound of mines: down the shaft to hammer stones,” and Wolle DXP, the party’s promoter, says that drugs weren’t even necessary to find transcendence. “People were totally spaced out, beyond good and evil,” he says in Der Klang der Familie. “No one was accessible, but hardly anyone was on drugs. They were on the music and in the music. Some people had to be carried off the pedestals when we stopped around 6 a.m. They were totally gone, time and space forgotten. They’d danced themselves into oblivion.”

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