Whilst still in Sydney, 
I once received an excited (albeit futile) phone call from a friend: 
"We're at this incredible party called Mutoid Waste.
It's what we've been waiting for all our lives!"

Five years later (and me even fussier)
I visited the same venue (Munster Place) and
thought exactly the same thing.

But this one was thrown by some lot calling themselves 
Chrisalis Productions and electronic artists from Clan Analogue.
Not an industrial orgy this time but definitely 
a love-child of Warhol's Factory.

Tall, white, spotlit silos rising above the docklands of
North Melbourne were our beacon as we descended into
the bunkers below. The full-moon moon was appropriate 
for the Lynchian wierdness that was ushered in.

We were not greeted with the usual fair of 
disco mirror balls, strobes, and zillion Watt lasers
(for $12/$9 admission we were not complaining!);
Instead there was eerie mood lighting illuminating a dance area 
nestled in a web of luminescent... well... intrigue.
Bizarre combinations of nature sounds were arranged in subtle loops.

Our fractally filled silhouettes appeared on a large screen, 
traversing a virtual landscape alive with psychedelic geometrical 
shapes floating by. 16mm celluloid illuminated the technologists.
The lighting morphed, theatrically.
I suspect the 60's were never this full-on.
It looked nice, it sounded nice, it even smelled nice,
but, behold, was it good?

The green pot plants were probably going off at this stage but were 
we humanoids supposed to dance to this?
Even if the music eventually changed, WHERE were we supposed to dance?
A Pentacle-based mandala was slowly, ritually,
being deposited on what SEEMED to be the dance-floor.

A spotlight revealled a masked fall'n' [sic] angel 
suspended from the ceiling.
The wings folded and unfolded to the uncertain ethereal rhythms of 
live tabla, vocals, synth and what looked like a... guitar!?
Techno-fetishism was ushered in with drum sticks beating rhythmic tones 
from submissive, boxed, silicon-based life-forms.
A white square stretch of fabric on the "dance" floor breathed, 
contorted, and pulsated. Something... Someone... under there was 
keen to join in the rhythms filling the air which soon also filled
with fine feathers... the air...

That's right, Air! The flyer said it was an exploration of the elements!
After air, a flow of EctoPlasm (appropriate act name) ushered in
the water theme with the most dextrous local solo techno show I've seen.

The sacred mandala was disturbed by a body rolling and slowly
tumbling across its diameter. Could have been a tripping hippie,
a brave individual, a looney... I dunno... I didn't care.
It looked great whatever it was. At this stage one could no longer tell 
who were the performers and who were the audience. I liked that.

The liquid just began to bubble when the PA simply died. Coitus Interuptus.
Man, I was itching to dance by now and so was everyone else.

But drums and didge and piccolos do not need amplification,
so in an impromptu performance (aren't they the best?)
the audience soon had the flourescent mandala dust flying under their feet.
Half an hour later the PA rose from the dead and a watery baptism
soon whipped up a storm. An analogue duo took over with synth 
"wobbly-tweaking" that hotted the night up. 

Next, three Clan Analogists took to their computer consoles
within what looked like a futuristic control centre. 
I almost forgot to mention: Never have I seen so many keyboards 
amassed in the one location. Not in a book, not even in my dreams.

Drum 'n' bass looped, fire sirens wailed,
and an emergency light spun to the strains of Jim Morrison's voice
chanting "fire". A fire-twirling performace drew
our attention from the dance-floor... temporarily.
We were invited back with flame-thrower lit sparklers handed out.
We all began to "set the night on fire" as Mr Mojo Rising's spirit 
egged us on with his sampled breaths.

Three insane dancers from the bowels of the earth
cleared the floor in a show of anarchic harmony.
The pulsations from the speakers stopped and our attention was
glued to three flouro clad femmes beating out urgent rhythms, a fourth
parading in a neo-tribal dancing ritual. Two clansters superimposed
crazed electronica and, eventually, housey rhythms
to pump us up for the morning haul, at the end of which...

At the end of which the sun had risen and the journey had reached its
destination, the QuintEssential moment, the fifth element: Spirit.
The Earth Goddess knelt, closed her eyes, lowered backwards,
eyes closed (but seeing) and caressed the ground with her hair,
her hands, her body... her entire being. 
She beckoned other "elemental spirits" into reunion.

The PA was turned off as us remaining "travellers" were assembled into 
a "Spontaneous Choir". 
Any performer-audience boundary that may have remained
was now completely removed as a bearded dude (ConFest's Peter Gleeson) 
led us through wierd vocal loops, improvisation and counter-rhythms 
and general silliness that would probably see us locked up 
if performed in an inappropriate public place.

I hope the Chrisalis crew made enough money to repeat the event 
with a QuintEssence II or something.
The ones I spoke to were too tired to contemplate the future.
Maybe they want to keep it underground.
Or maybe somebody else will be inspired to copy them... whatever...
a "rave" will seem like a straight King Street nightclub from now on.
Such are the dangers of transcendental experiences.


Mr Squiggle@prop.taz.net.au
An agent for the Undesirable Propagations Unit