ELECTRONIC MUSIC & RAVES On the phone, with flier in hand, you listen anxiously to the pre-recorded directions

on the Mission Control rave hotline. This valuable information can only be accessed on the day of the event, but now that this is out of the way, it’s time to prepare. People of all ages, but mostly between the ages of 17 and 26, madly attack appropriate stores to purchase their necessary “rave gear.” They buy glow-sticks, glitter, dark glasses, sealed water, vicks vapo-rub, other trinkets and outrageous, often striped clothing. True ravers would drive for hours or fly to attend these worldwide conventions, and all share the same drive. You finally arrive at your destination to find a warehouse located on the outskirts of its respective city, with a large mob of people desperately trying to get in. It’s about 12:00 midnight and all are mentally and physically prepared to party for the next 9 or 10 hours straight, to finally emerge from the doors to see daylight and nonravers half way through their day. The Webster dictionary defines “rave” and “techno” as… “.RAVE\u8217’ra-v : To move or advance violently: STORM: to utter in madness or frenzy : To talk with extreme enthusiasm : To declaim wildly : An extravagantly favorable criticism” “.TECH*NO-pop : pop music featuring extensive use of synthesizers In general practice, a “rave” usually refers to a party, usually all night long, open to the public, where loud “techno” music is played and many people partake in a number of different chemicals. The number of people at the event is unimportant; it can range from 50 to 25000 people. The cost varies, but is often 25 to 30 dollars and is usually held in a remote, and secluded part of town. The ages of those who attend are concentrated between 17 and 26 but truly range from 14 to 40 or 50 years old. It’s common to have several different rooms playing different types of techno simultaneously. “Techno” or electronic music can be distinguished by its often lack of vocals, creation by synthesizers or other electronic means and it’s unusually fast beat; ranging from 115-170 BPM (Beats Per Minute), while commercial “dance” music is usually a maximum of 70 or 80 BPM. The first substantial piece of music composed electronically was the Illiac Suite (1956) by the avant-garde composer Lejaren Hiller (1925–94). Each room is equipped with a Dj, a set of two or more turntables, walls of speakers located

offset from the corners and impressive visual effects: such as lasers and light shows. The people that attend are dressed ultra alternatively. This consists of comfortable yet creative attire. You would often see ravers wearing extremely baggy pants, glow in the dark body suits, and ultimately any visually entising clothing with similar accessories. Heads of hair are often dyed with unique colors and faces are covered strategically with glitter and an assortment of black make-up for a somewhat gothic look. All of these various forms of expression, visual effects, the barrage of audio only compliment the few chemicals used. Most members of the congregation use ecstasy in the form of tablet or capsule and/or acid. The light display and outrageous costumes are geared to act as a stimulus for the hallucinogen of the acid, but the music and overall environment is geared to the “mystifying” effects of ecstasy. Ecstasy, the tablet or capsule, is a man made drug derived from a plant which produces legal, herbal ecstasy in the form of a liquid or over the counter tablets. Ecstasy is a combination of concentrated herbal ecstasy and speed or heroin, cocaine, or crystal methane, but never containing a combination of the last three mentioned. This particular drug is said to have little visual effects, but more so physical effects. Your body starts to feel fluffy as the energy produced from the speed kicks in. You almost uncontrollably start to move to the beat of the music while the grinding of the teeth (from the speed) is more noticeable. The severity of this grinding on your teeth is lessened by the use of a baby pacifier. This allows you to grind on a soft rubber-like item perfectly suited for the mouth rather than the hard enamel of the teeth. Regardless, your jaw muscles will be sore. The more erotic effects of the drug come from the concentrated herb. In a sense, it drastically amplifies your sense of touch. Where a massage when sober feels like heaven, when on the drug a massage feels more like true ecstasy, as the name would suggest. Once Vicks vapo-rub is used, it offers a flurry of hot and cold flashes and lubrication to the massage. Several pairs of ravers can be seen giving massages while, more often than not, sitting at the base of either the surrounding walls or the walls of speakers. Similar to most types of music, techno has an appropriate method of dancing, but unlike most other forms of dancing, each individual dances alone. This allows you to perform independently, and being the main activity, this also allows you to demonstrate the extent of your talent. Dancers commonly use a pair of glow-sticks like the one enclosed to enhance their abilities. One is placed between the fingers of each hand. The most secure method would be under the index and pinky finger and over the ring and middle finger. The fingers are then curled downward. Normally the glow-stick glows brightly and comes in an assortment of colors, nevertheless, this method allows the most illumination to be seen. Now, these glow-sticks are carefully manipulated to create a deliberate, constant flow of intricate patterns and color, making sure to utilize all the space available about the body and maintaining rhythm with the beat of the pulsating

music. The Dj’s play an important role in the “Vibe” of the rave. They can almost be considered a shaman or a high priest of the congregation. They control the “psychic voyages” of the dancers through his choice of continuous, original music and their skill in manipulating it. I think the importance of the music at a rave is somewhat comparable to that of the music in an American Indian pow wow. In both cases the music helps one to fall into an alter state. Music is generally considered as pleasurable, but the music at a rave, and the ecstasy, help to form a sense of unity by sharing an emotion and a sense of freedom. Yet, at the same time you are revered for your individuality. For example, the more original and entising your dancing is congratulated by a slapping of one of each persons’ palms together, a pat on the back, verbal gratification or simply a smile or nod. The people are very friendly, because you seem to appreciate you for what you are rather than for what you are not. This differs from the typical club environment. The friendly, liberal attitudes of the ravers in conjunction with the dress, dancing and overall layout allow me to conclude that traditional values and behavior of society is rejected. Individuals can do almost anything in a rave as long as it does not affect someone else. For example, I could strip down to my boxer shorts and sit in the middle of the dance floor and even though it isn’t done often, I can garauntee that it will be accepted. If I were to do a similar thing in Crobar (a popular club in Miami), I would promptly be ridiculed, and then removed from the premises. In the ritual of clubbing in Miami would not accept this form of attitude. The ritual of raving seems to promote a more liberal view. A view based on total freedom of expression. This is apparent by my previous description. I have met a few ravers outside of the event and am able to conclude that most of them are somewhat typical citizens. They abide by the traditional values and behavior imposed by society, but use the rave to let go and express themselves in a more flamboyant manner. “Ritual is a patterned, repetitive, and symbolic enactment of a cultural belief or value; its primary purpose is alignment of the belief system of individuals with that of society.” With this in mind, we can now fathom the idea that raving is a ritual. Raves can therefore be seen from an anthropological view as a congregation of members of a sub-culture, sharing similar emotions, beliefs, dress and behavior, all governed by techno music and the Djs. They experience unity yet individuality, freedom of expression, and a liberal environment, all simultaneously.

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