Maker (UK); July 13, 1996
Eagle Cave, Wisconsin USA
by Simon Reynolds
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.