1996 NYC Psytrance: A New Beginning 2

Updated 1 year ago

Fall & Winter

Go to Spring & Summer

July 1996

1996 7 16 Susanne Bartsch

July 19

Red Moon was an early pioneer of playing Goa trance

August 1996

August 6, 1996 Trainspotting Premiere

August 24
Monkey Business (Roseland)

Burning Man 1996

August 26-September 2
Burning Man: The Inferno

August 31
Megga Buzz One (Oakland CA)
First encountered the brain machines, done by Aaron Cohick from Palo Alto while on business in San Francisco. I was on acid at the time and was able to, with the aid of the lights, see actual figures moving around my vision. I decided right then and there to take this to the East Coast.
That weekend I also met up with Wilson Leary, Timothy’s nephew in Pacific Heights:


I was primed to go further in.

September 1996

1996 9 1 Kri

September 1 Friday
A in Atlanta, Georgia
First DJ Set: Kri
“That was the first time I played goa. I found it in the record store that day and played it that night.”
By coincidence, I was wearing an Astroboy outfit around that time in NYC.

The Beginning

I had first heard of Goa Trance in the spring of 1996 in my office at Adweek Magazines on 1515 Broadway while watching a CD-ROM in the Electronic Music issue of Blender magazine, and it was exactly what I had been looking for:

Blender 2 6

“The tranciest trance of them all” were all the words I needed to dive in. The fact that it was “no longer the trend it once was” did not deter me, as music styles back then had a one-year life cycle.

Now, we have to go back a few years and go across the pond and see what was happening in Goa and Europe.

Chris Deckker organized a party in Amsterdam on New Year’s Eve 1992, which he called Return to the Source. Chris was a traveler, voyaging with Leyolah Antara from their native Australia where they’d spent time investigating shamen and the power of ritual. They would invite visiting shamen to lead rituals, which would culminate in trance-dance abandon. They moved to Amsterdam and started a techno group, Sushumna. “Sushumna is a Sanskrit word which means the merging of dualities,” explains Chris.
The Deckkers soon moved to London, drawn by its techno scene, and events quickened apace. A friend of Chris and Antara’s, Sara Sol, was languishing in jail in India, and the couple wanted to hold a party to raise money for her. George Saunders, best known as musician Solar Quest and a cool underground networker introduced Chris to Phil Ross and Janice Duncan, promoters at North London’s Dome venue, who agreed to stage the event. The Free Sol party was a success, and Chris, Phil, Janice, and DJ Mark Allen decided to run a regular club, called Return to the Source.
Other like-minded souls became involved. All were travelers, most had experienced the life-affirming qualities of Goa. DJs Mark Allen and Tsuyoshi Suzuki had been transformed by Goa. Jules and Jason, old college friends from Brighton had met by chance in Goa and decided to become painters/artists. All were linked into the New Age/Goa network and craving an outlet for their creative energies.
– Ian Gittens, “Deep Trance and Ritual Beats,” 1995

So Chris Deckker, Phil Ross, Janice Duncan, and Mark Allen organized the Return to the Source events in London and around the world, spreading its ethos, and they also released, along with Youth’s Dragonfly Records, many of the genre’s earliest, seminal records.

Matthew Wilson was a banker friend of John-Emmanuel Gartmann, who had met a handsome Israeli named Tomer who had gotten him into the scene. Matthew and John went to a trance party in England, and had some sort of “religious experience.”
Matthew introduced the Return to the Source crew to John-Emmanuel.

They all agreed to have Matthew and John-Emmanuel host them in America for a premier event, “Return to the Source,” at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey in 1996:

From Hyperreal: 

First Party: Andy Wenrich
, Imani Malik
Massive productions inc. presents:
Saturday  September 21 1996
Liberty Science Center
A night of deep trance and ritual beats
10 PM – 5 AM
Tickets $25 in advance $27 on the door
For the first time in the USA, Return To The Source live in NYC.
Europe’s premier psychedelic trance event:
London, Paris, Amsterdam, Athens, Zurich, Tokyo, Goa.

Psychedelic Spiritual Trance Masters
Tsyoshi (Prana/Matsuri Productions)
Mark Allen (Mindfield)
and presenting live performances from:
Hallucinogen – (Twisted Records))
Doof – (TIP Records)
Transwave – (Matsuri Productions)
The Green Nuns of the Revolution (Twisted Records)
Medicine Drum (Pyramid Records)
Andy Guthrie
Our world is permeated with rhythm – the cycles of night and day, the seasons, the movements of the tides, the phases of the moon. All are examples of the rhythms that make our world what it is. As humans we have our own rhythmical patterns that are completely interconnected with these cycles, eating, sleeping, working, resting etc. It is the rhythm of our bodies that keeps us going – the beating of our heart, the breathing of our lungs, the growth of cells. Everything is moving, everything is pulsing, everything is music. To be alive is to be rhythmical. Music is an extension of the rhythm of life and dance is the embodiment of music – throughout the
ages music and dance have played a vital role in society allowing for the celebration of life and the reaching of
ecstatic states of oneness, both individually and as a community. When we dance together we are as one
As we raise our arms with an ecstatic cheer we feel our connection to each other as one tribe united in spirit –
the power of the collective. This euphoric dance floor release is as ancient as human existence stretching back
through time to the original campfires.

From the US
Soul Slinger
Founder of the Liquid Sky Movement. Also a main driving force behind dance music in NY. This Brazilian native was born with a natural ability to open one’s mind and soul. If you let him in he’ll show you the way.

Tom Grinn
Founder of Grinning Records. One of the most talked about up-and-coming DJ’s on the East Coast. Electro Breaks are his specialty. His style is like no other.

Carlos (San Francisco House Collective (formerly CDC))
What can we say? A favorite amongst so many. Carlos is flying from West Coast to East bringing full flavored
trip hop, breaks and more. Get ready to move your body.

Tommy Tunes
This Brooklyn bred DJ will take you on to the next level. Spinning house and hard acid. His beats will penetrate your body. Prepare to let it all go.


Soul Slinger
DJ Wally

Return To The Source
Moving beyond the spirals of time
we return to the source of love divine
as we dance as one with the forces of creation
the sleeping serpents will be awakened
with these snakes of creation our souls will entwine
to dance this ritual buried deep
within our collective mind
opening our hearts we surrender to the dance
one tribe united
we journey into trance
in this temple of love we will dance as one
one body
one mind
one heart
let the journey start…

Infoline: (212) 439 8124
European Info: Matthew 44-171 245 6887
Internet: e-mail mat…@demon.co.uk
WWW: http://www.flash.demon.co.uk

Ticket Outlets

Liquid Sky D-Sign >  212-343-0532
Sonic Groove > 212-675-5284
Satallite > 212-724-7445
Allan & Suzi > 212-724-7445
BMT Lines > 718-748-6762 or 718-259-1402
Planet Soul > 718-747-7685
Long Island
Bugg/Back Door > 516-797-7916
611 Records > 215-413-9100
Music Now > 202-338-5638
Satellite Boston > 617-536-5482
Mama Jump > 201-251-0412

Liberty Science Center – a truly extraordinary venue set beneath an 11 ton geodesic dome and glass pyramid,
on four floors around an atrium; located on a 17 acre site in New Jersey’s Liberty State Park  10 minutes from
downtown Manhattan. Outside deck and meadow on the river with spectacular panoramic views of the Statue
of Liberty, Ellis Island, The World Trade Center and lower Manhattan. The LSC adds an extraordinary
dimension of entertainment, fascination and fun. Imax theater, Virtual reality basketball,  laser show, four
floors of fun and games. In addition  spectacular psychedelic visuals from Matsuki (Tokyo), sets by Organix (Tokyo), RTTS Uforic backdrops by Zag (London). African drumming. Fluoro ware by Space Tribe,
Indian clothing, Chai stall.

Liberty Science Center is easily accessible by car, ferry, PATH train and bus, and is located off Exit 14B of
the NJ. Turnpike in Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ.

Subway: from World Trade Center take PATH train to Exchange Place, Jersey City. All night bus shuttle from here to venue.

Cars: parking is available on site.

Promotional Support
The 5 Boroughs
Stuck on Earth > 212-780-4614
Solar Luv > 212-629-2078
Soundwave  > 718-670-3796
Basic > 212-946-5600
50/50 > 212-252-2199
Mixed Bag
RPG > 212-631-5846
E-Glyde > 212-396-9069
Liquid Sky > 212-226-0657
The Zoo > 212-726-8646
Digital Domain > 718-592-3676
Funk Fiends > 212-545-3746
Sweet Dreams > 212-560-4826
Guaranteed O-D > 212-229-7435
Marshmello > 516-357-4367
Lifesaver > 212-726-2368
Nowhere > 516-357-4378
Bugg > 516-797-7916
Get it Together > 516-247-5595
Kort & Greg > 718-390-6661
Satellite > 212-465-3299
Solution Network > 212-604-4139
Mello > 212-631-1023
Techno Network + > 212-946-1341
Pure Children > 212-330-8006
Joint Ventures > 212-631-1065
Amongst Friends > 718-289-3184
Park Rave 718-390-7176
Down Low 718-390-6618

Upstate NY
Translucent > 212-726-1039
Euphoric >
Eponymous > 914-633-3462
Hyperdrive > 914-431-6743
Abduction > 518-564-3127
Johnny U > 518-484-1692
Audio Underground > 518-426 1339

New Jersey
Akira > 201-442-3915
Subatomic 23 > 908-703-1603
Mama Jump > 201-251-0412
Atmosphere >

Kingsize > 203-586-1152
Chaos > 203-752-9543
Euphoria > 203-492-4618
Swing Kids > 203-921-1474
Grinn > 203-853-GRIN

Shaun &Teri > 202-466-1661

Pure Children > 215-552-8524
Special K > 215-552-8103
THC > 215-618-1582
Kit Kat > 215-552-8135
Double Dip Prod > 215-928-5096
Local 13 > 215-552-7950

Primary > 617-499-7744
Mission Control > 617-232-2030
Satellite >
Niche Basic >

Baltimore MD

Fluoro-ware and psychedelia available at Liquid Sky, New York from Monday September 16
Press & Media Information: JEG Communications: John-Emmanuel Gartmann (212) 343 8286
Visuals by Matsuki (Tokyo) – courtesy of Matsuri Productions
Backdrops and banners by Organix (Tokyo) – courtesy of Matsuri Productions
Additional backdrops and fluoro by Return To The Source

Raves started out with a lot of smart kids and weirdos, but it devolved by the time I started going. Though PLUR (peace, love, unity, respect) was given lip service, I found the atmosphere wasn’t really intellectual, cybernetic or cerebral, or science-fictiony enough, and way too thuggy. I didn’t want to be the smartest guy in a room of thousands. The way they did things like putting monkeys and graffiti font on the flyers and said “yo” and “dis” and “dat” frankly felt like a retarded celebration of stupidity.

I wanted light, evolution, and progression.

Even on the club kid side, it felt very egocentric – it was all about individuals who were trying to be cool. It felt like people were dancing as if everyone was watching. And the drugs going around were either fake, stupid, or dangerous. Basically, America felt too selfish and individualistic. Parochial.

I wanted fellowship and to be able to put my ego and analytical thinking into my pocket and lose myself in the music, and dissipate into the crowd, if only for a few hours.

And above all, I was an acid head. MDMA was too hedonistic, PCP was just brain dead, and coke heroin and meth were obviously out of the question.

The first parties in NYC were tiny with about six people, by Opher in the West Village, and by Gula and Miko at Save the Robots at 3:30am Thursdays in the East Village, with sand on the floor.

So when I first saw the Tsunami flyer for the massive, I was so excited to attend – I wanted to bring my set of ten light glasses and headphones connected to a mediation device just like I had seen set up Aaron Cohick at the Mega Buzz One Rave in Oakland. So I emailed the addresses on the flyer, trying to sound professional. Matthew (who had an email with demon.co.uk so I assumed he was a devil worshipper or something) wrote back, welcoming me, and signed his letters with “Bom” which I thought was incredibly hip.

On the afternoon of the event, I rollerbladed out there from the PATH train and knocked on the doors. Eventually, I was let inside and was led to the office of the manager. There, I saw Matthew and some guy called Gerald, (no. not the artist) Matthew was in tights, which I thought was fruity as all hell but figured, “Acid.” I showed them all the light sound devices, the manager put them on, and Gerald said, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen these… BRAIN MACHINES!”

Wig Jeff
Wigstock 97

So that was where I got the name for the light glasses , and the URL of the website brainmachines.com that I made very soon after – and eventually became the site you are reading right now.
I brought 10 lawn chairs and set them up with brain machines and headphones, and was dressed like Astroboy Elvis with silver hair and a hologram jacket from Japan.

Here is what I found on the Internet – I can’t believe the website from 1996 is still up:

RTTS Blows the Roof (and Expectations) offfa NYC House!
A special report by Significance Invocation Technician Mark Kelsey on Return To The Source
September 21, 1996 – Fall Equinox
Liberty Science Center, New Jersey
A single note, an idea, a smile, a handshake… these are (some of) the things that sparked man’s consciousness in the dim smoky past of our human awakenings, and the origins of the dance/party/rave movement in England in the 1980’s.

In England and elsewhere, techno has become hugely popular, almost mainstream, and people have moved on. Here in the States, the movement splintered way too quickly (it seems that some people who enjoy cliques and being ahead of everyone ­rather than part of them­ liked that). Some parts of the country are currently in the middle of a real underground movement (here in the Northeast, I think). While in other states, notably California, the tribe is kind of floundering, being driven first out into the desert and now persecuted there by the authorities.

Here in New York, it has been hampered by shady promoters and the strangling effect of house music driving other kinds of sounds and energies out. Return To The Source was brought to us by British people who clearly have fucking x-perience… It was a watershed that left a mark on the US scene.

What kind of mark? Write the date of Return To The Source in your calendar, it’s the day they blew the roof offa da house….

Goa is a spiritual spark, part of the Indian continent’s shore, a deliberate invocation of certain religious and spiritual ideas and powers that really worked for the mature (i.e.. post-high school) people who really danced on the main floor. People who have a clue used that energy to the full. As I witnessed, the club kids just bounced off of the main floor after about 2.5 seconds and huddled in packs upstairs to glower and posture and smoke cigarettes at each other, which is fine. I want to emphasize that we are all part of the tribe. What fire circle warms you and provides for your needs on the particular trip you’re on is up to you.

Using positive energies like this, being upfront and clear about them, is a rather new concept at events. That should be explored by future events.

The video on the main (lowest floor) goa/European floor by Matthew Hupert’s NeuroNautic Institute put the viewer right into goa land. It featured live and taped images using a video toaster and Panasonic video mixer, a lot of well-edited Indian religious images. The lighting by Excel Lighting was really powerful, by a group who’s done something like 200 events (including that one in the cave in upstate New York last month). Rick Ferrara and his lighting crew are great people. There was a problem with the overall light level, which was still too high, but that was dictated by the Liberty Science Center administration and maintenance people.

The four-level space with huge central atrium allowed the many people who like to wander and see and be seen to go through many spaces and still feel connected to the overall vibe.


Some of the many other good things that haven’t been commented on: The excellent and patient staff at the Liberty Science Center. It’s really a wonderful space, and the staff I talked to were really psyched to try this for the very first time. It’s quite a breakthrough and a credit to the RTTS organizers. I plan to send Liberty Science Center a thank you note — and I fervently urge many other people do too if you want to come back to this space! Although I will mention that I think only Chris Dekker and the RttS people have what it takes to put on an event in that space. It certainly brought a lot of kids in to explore the science of their heads!

The huge black light images by the Japanese group as well as their animations mixed in the video with the NeuroNautic video also set the main dance floor atmosphere apart.

But the most important single thing, for me, was: NO SMOKING INSIDE! YEAH! What an incredible fucking relief! Again, the LSC staff handled the majority of children really well, because that’s what they do during the day, too. Yeah, I think cigarette smoking is a curse by spirits of Native Americans to poison and kill off all stupid white people who don’t deserve to be on this wonderful land called turtle island. May I say that NO SMOKING and a real ventilation system was one of the main reasons it felt good and not toxic?

The European DJs and performers were so nice and giving. The lack of shady promoters and typical city types in charge also helped.

The American DJs on the top floor (in the middle of this weird space with these car parts) were great. The lighting was also incredible.

The chill room was actually quite an amazing sound that could put you into another head space faster than any of the other music (which is saying quite a lot!).

The guy in the Elvis outfit who brought his 10 station brainmachine to the chill room. He was there the whole night, let everyone try it, was patient and welcoming, and just a great guy.

A few problems, as well, to bear in mind:

It was a late start, because of the problems getting people into the space and the thorough but heavy security (which is quite understandable, as this is New York).

Another problem was all the people tripping their brains out being thrown into the night of Jersey City at 5 AM and waiting a long time for busses. Once you got to the PATH trains it was another long, painful wait, too.

I am told that over 3,000 people were turned away because of occupancy at LSC. Wow…. Hope you come early next time!

CONCLUSION OF LABORATORY OBSERVATION: I think it’s time to first of all realize that WE are all part of a vital, significant movement. We have a certain amount of spiritual and magickal core values we wish to grow and share. It is also a time to move forward, to bring in and welcome people over the ages of 13-21.

But, it was all good! Or, maybe it was all God(dess)!

* * *
(As an aside, ten years later, I ran into the projectionist from the party, Matthew of Neuronautics Institute, in World of Warcraft, where his girlfriend recognized my character name Machinelf. They were on my email list. Out of 10 million people across 250 realms – Small world. They joined my guild. We did weird shit. More on that here)

The evening was a huge success, with thousands not getting in. The Liberty Science Center is a huge museum for science. There were a lot of exhibits and structures, and aquariums – some of the ravers put MDMA in them to get the fishes rolling too, and all these expensive fish died. Although smoking was enforced, on a huge balcony with a view of downtown Manhattan, the place was trashed and the manager fired. Which was sad – he was mild-mannered and professional and gave us a chance to make a splash.
And we did.

As thousands of people walked out into the bright morning, I was still hallucinating. I turned around and looked up at the Libert Science Center’s massive tower and imagined the organizers up there, having an elegant morning tea, looking down across the masses. I thought, corporate life is so dead end. This – this means something. They are spreading the psychedelic spirit. This is What I Want to Do. I want to become as they are. Gods.

The seed had been planted

September 27
Unity at Vinyl

It was VERY hard to go back to raving after Return to the Source.

September 29
Nintendo 64 launched

September 30
Wipeout XL released

October 1996

John-Emmanuel and Matthew followed up with a very small party at the Cooler at 476 West 14th Street between 9th and 10th, where I brought John Draper AKA Cap’n Crunch of all people. Crunch complained about everyone smoking.

From this point on, over the next several years John-Emmanuel and Matthew pushed forward, with events at Metropolitan Pavilion, then many many other venues across Manhattan, all under the name Massive/Tsunami.
At some point, Matthew looked at the spreadsheets and ran financial projections on his computer, and realized that this wasn’t going to be a moneymaker, and bowed out and went back to England and decided to leave the trance business afterward. After some dispute, John-Emmanuel kept the name, “Tsunami”.

Around this time, small events sprouted up around NYC with with DATS and Sony MiniDiscs from travellers bringing back what they found from small parties in NY, LA, SF, and Montreal.


In NYC, APTP (Acid Physics) had been getting involved and a number of local DJs in NYC were spinning it since 1994-95. Gula and Miko spinning at 3:30am at Save the Robots, with sand on the floor, in the East Village, and small Israeli parties with around five people including Lisa Spudic in the West Village. Gula and Miko didn’t last long. After they went to Burning Man in August they disappeared.

October 13
Boo 3! (New York) hung out with Chris from Stuck on Earth

October 18

Red Moon was one of the first to spin Goa in the Northeast
The Nature Boyz invite you to come take a… PEEK Main Info: (203) 708-2084 * (914) 278-3114 New venue in NYC Do bring: good vibes, glow stix, hugs,, candy & smiles $20 to enter, All new venue, 100% legal 2 earth-shattering sound systems Favorites Dmitry (Deee-lite) * One-E (Deee-lite) * Reese (Liquid Sky) Micro (Sorted) * Frankie Bones (Sonic Groove) * Joe Jeep (Guaranteed OD) Red Moon (Columns) * Scotty Marz (King Size) * Jove (Phuture) James Christian (Strictly Rhythm) ….and quickly gainin’ respect Squelch * Kunjen * Bright * Seth * Rob Devz * Knowledge Fat Cat * Laporte * Skye * Ron Jeremy Sound by Kemp * Lites by Phuture * Lazers by: Atrophy * Special FX by Ron Open from 10 Pm till 10 AM Free after hours from 9 AM – ???

October 19
Energy V(Newark NJ) Good party. Michael Alig sighting, his last rave.

October 25
Tomb Raider released

October 31
Twisted Metal 2 released

October 31
Maskarave (New York) held at Mirage, now EXIT. The event featured a hybrid show that SCOTTO put together featuring MC KINKY (of BOY GEORGE fame) and 1.8.7. playing live together and MC JAMALSKI. also, Dj’s Scott Richmond, Mr. Kleen, Geoffe, Randall, house producer Cevin Fisher, Aldo Bender and others. 3500 attended.
The owner of Mirage is a sleaze who tried to confiscate my equipment ecause he wanted a “cut.” Seven people got shot there the night after, at Michael Alig’s last party “Honey Trap.”

November 1996

1996 11 8 House of God 1

November 8
Mind™ (Southampton)
House of God threw good ones, in the beautiful Hamptons There was a long line of ravers at the microwave waiting to cook their K. I found out later that Ed Heffernen, the organizer of the House of God, died of a heroin overdose.

Spiral Tribe

November Thanksgiving Weekend
Thank you Jason Spurgeon for your help getting K at Spiral Tribe, who were on a tour across America, on federal land in Galveston with Cap’n Crunch.

December 1996

December 12
Pseudo Programs – Coma™ (New York) Sponsored by Delta Point at Roseland.
The narrative of the original movie is destabilized through video infestion, new technologies, performance, installation art, music, and NYC dance culture within a 7,000 sq. ft. Inflatable polyethylene ecosystem. Roseland Ballroom, NYC

December 23
Spun (Houston TX) You gotta give these guys credit for throwing these parties in Houston, where cops can come in at will. But hey, the police tried the Brainmachines.
Naked people suspended in plastic molds suspended by cranes. This was Uzi’s big party..

Acid Physix did a few parties in the back room at Twilo that were full-on trance parties this had to be in ’96-98.. I don’t recall exactly when, but Matthew at Neuronautics Institute worked at 2 of them I believe…….

D. M. Turner (Joseph Vivian)

D. M. Turner (Joseph Vivian)

New - WikipediaOctober 5, 1962 - December 31, 1996 Author and Psychonaut. Writer, Essential Psychedelics Guide. "D.M. Turner (born Joseph ...


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