Seasoned Exodus: The Exile Mosaic of Psyculture

  • Graham St John University of Queensland, Australia
Keywords: Goa trance, psytrance, exodus, cultural exile, counterculture, festival


Psychedelic trance music and culture (psyculture) is explored as a culture of exodus rooted in the seasonal dance party culture evolving in Goa, India, over the 1970s/1980s, and revealing a heterogeneous exile sensibility shaping Goa trance and psyculture from the 1990s/2000s. That is, diverse transgressive and transcendent expatriations would shape the music and aesthetics of Goa/psytrance. Thus, resisting circumscription under singular heuristic formulas, Goa trance and its progeny are shown to be internally diverse. This freak mosaic was seasoned by expatriates and bohemians in exile from many countries, experienced in world cosmopolitan conurbations, with the seasonal DJ-led trance dance culture of Goa absorbing innovations in EDM productions, performance and aesthetics throughout the 1980s before the Goa sound and subsequent festival culture emerged in the mid-1990s. Rooted in an experimental freak community host to the conscious realisation and ecstatic abandonment of the self, psyculture is heir to this diverse exile experience.

Author Biography

Graham St John, University of Queensland, Australia
Cultural anthropologist and researcher of electronic dance music cultures, festivals, and movements, my latest book, Global Tribe: Spirituality, Technology and Psytrance is forthcoming with Equinox in 2012. My previous book Technomad: Global Raving Countercultures was published with Equinox in 2009. I am editor of several collections: The Local Scenes and Global Culture of Psytrance (Routledge, 2010), Victor Turner and Contemporary Cultural Performance (Berghahn 2008), Rave Culture and Religion (Routledge, 2004), and FreeNRG: Notes From the Edge of the Dance Floor (Commonground, 2001). I am the Executive Editor of Dancecult.
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