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Melody Maker (UK); July 13, 1996
Even Furthur
Eagle Cave, Wisconsin USA

by Simon Reynolds
(page 37)



At the first Furthur rave, one of the promoters got so blissed he danced naked. Later, several organizers were arrested by the local sheriff. At this third annual "techno campout", there's no trouble from the law. But Even Furthur is a lawless zone. Despite being a paying, licensed event, the atmosphere is closer to the illegal, free parties of the pre-CJA early 1990's than a commercial rave.

In fact, Even Furthur reminds me most of Castlemorton. True, there's a similar chaotic sprawl of cars, trailers and tents, there's the tang of woodsmoke from countless bonfires, and there's the sheer abundance and diversity of hallucinogens available (E and acid, but also mescaline, ketamine, GHB and balloons of nitrous oxide). It's raining and chilly, which means dancing is challenging, since the second tent is a puddle-strewn marsh and the main floor is sloping and slippery. Such hassles quickly become part of the fun, however, and stunning sets from many of the 100-plus DJs make you forget your cold feet.

Daft Punk

In one of the small tents dotting the hillside, MIXMASTER MORRIS brings the Speed vibe to the wilds of Wisconsin, rollin' out some crisp'n'mellow drum and bass, plus what he calls "jungle" (the weirdo breakbeat of Squarepusher, featuring frilly, fretless-bass solos worthy of fusioneer Jaco Pastorious). Later in the big tent, PHANTOM 45 unleashes serious AWOL-style hardstep jungle, his ruff scratching inciting a booyacka frenzy amongst the crowd. WOODY MCBRIDE (an associate of hardcore label Drop Bass Network, who co-organized Furthur) and FRANKIE BONES both let rip the kind of militant acid-core that really fires the pleasure centers. Saturday's big hit, though is French unit DAFT PUNK and their sinuous, sine-wavey brand of industrial-tinged house. By 7 am, the DJs aren't chilling out the night's survivors but blasting 10 thousand volts of gabba. Gabbaphobe Mixmaster Morris retaliates with an impromptu ambient set which doesn't stop for six hours!

Sunday is better still. It's stopped raining at last, the mud is dried, and the slightly reduced crowd consists of the hardcore of party people who just don't wanna go home. DJ APOLLO detonates the night with Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean", its sublime bassline sounding mighty funk-ay through the monstrously low-end-intense sound-system, then launches a severe acidic onslaught. I notice one raver who's dancing with a folding deck chair strapped to his back, a sort of portable chill-out zone.

BOO WILLIAMS plays a set of voluptuous, curvaceous house (eg Gusto's "Disco Revenge"), then SCOTT HARDKISS pumps out feathery, floaty soft-core (including several Orbital classics and an eerie remix of Elton John's "Rocket Man"!), sending silvery rivulets of rapture rippling down every raver's flesh.

A few hours later, we stumble out to the eye-caressing sight of a pale, rosete dawn. Lightweights, we realize we can't stay awake for Mixmaster Morris' party-closing 8am set and then hope to handle the four hour drive back to Chicago. So sadly, we start the long trek up the treacherously moist slope out of Eagle Cave, then cruise through the lush, Wisconsin farmland, brains branded with the memory of one blinding party.

 

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