Laser F/X using a Spectronika laser at a party for 15,000 people
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 Technocratica & Paradiso present

Transplant 3
A Psychedelic Techno Trance Party

17.11.2000 - Novi Sad, Serbia (Yugoslavia)

 DJ Line-up:

  • DJ Greg (Greece)

  • DJ Sun (Beograd)

  • Live PA by Analogue Synthesis (Novi Sad)


Raving In Serbia

[This report was written in part aboard an ICE bullet train while speeding at 150+ Km/h from Frankfurt to Stuttgart]

In spite of the bombed buildings and broken bridges, the rave scene is alive and well in Serbia, the major part of the former Yugoslavia.  The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia now consists of Serbia and it's smaller, and independence minded partner state, Montenegro.  I was very fortunate while visiting the Spectronika factory in Sofia Bulgaria, the world's leading manufacturer of sealed copper vapor lasers, to be invited by Technocratica to perform at a party in Novi Sad.  After some phone calls, faxes and a couple of trips to the Yugoslav embassy in Sofia, where grim faced officials suspiciously wondered why a Canadian would want to visit their war ravaged country, I finally obtained my visa.
Technocrtaica is more than a rave promotion company, they are an arts and culture organization with a focus on Techno and Trance music.  Throughout the years of the repressive Melosivic regime, they have remained strictly politically neutral while focusing on the promotion of parties [as raves are called in this part of the word], electronika and youth culture.  In a country that has essentially been shunned by the world for the last decade, Technocratica has brought electronic music and DJs from Europe, the UK and the USA to Serbia to keep people abreast of the music and culture of the free world.

A common site in Serbia: A wall full of posters advertising upcoming raves.  Note the black poster with the Fist symbol on the right - a poster for "OTPUR" the student resistance movement that played a key part in the popular uprising.

Raving has an interesting history in Serbia.  In most parts of the world, raves are an underground phenomenon of youth culture regarded with suspicion and often vilified in the press.  In Serbia, quite the opposite is the case.  Raves were actually started by Technorcatica through their press, radio and TV programs!  Techno and Trance music is incredibly popular and it is not unusual to hear it blaring from local radio stations or the many record kiosks that dot the streets of Beograd [the correct spelling of what we in the west call Belgrade].

Left: Parliament building with spray-painted political slogans.  Right: Close up of the front doors which were trashed in the uprising.

I spent a few days in Belgrade where I stayed at a small hotel just across the park from the Parliament buildings.  Since I had arrive barely a week after the popular uprising that toppled the Melosevich regime, the smashed doors of the parliament buildings had still not been repaired and fire damage was still evident on the side of the building.  Just outside my window, was the balcony from which Mr. Kostunitisa gave his famous speech declaring himself the winner of the election and touching off the uprising.

Hotel room view: Presidential palace to the left and behind the Beograd City Parliament and it's famous balcony to the right and in the foreground

My host, Dusan, took me out to dinner at a restaurant in the old quarter of town.  We dined by candlelight.  Not to have a romantic dinner, but because power rationing was in effect.  Restaurants in that part of town were only permitted to use electricity for food preparation.  After dinner, we went to a small club [about 250 capacity] where we listened to local DJs playing hard trance music for the enjoyment of a packed dance floor.
 The following day, I wandered about and looked at the famous building.  I also took a walk through the area where many government and military buildings were bombed by NATO forces.  I as amazed to see the pinpoint accuracy with which Military installations had been destroyed without doing any damage to buildings just across the street.

Two views of the bombed out Ministry Of Defense building on one of Beograd's main streets in the Downtown area.

That night I was invited to take part in Dusan’s weekly all night rave radio show broadcast on Serbian national radio.  The staff of the radio station had ousted the management and was now in control of the programming.  Gone were the dull Serbian national folksongs, the slanted news and government approved propaganda.  The were replaced with more upbeat programming and news from international wire services.  The weekly Rave program had been running for some time but now with a new spirit and energy.  One rule still remained in effect; everything had to be translated into Serbian.  This mean that my interview went quite slowly as Dusan asked a question in Serbian, then translated it to English for my benefit.  I would then reply a paragraph at a time so that he could translate my reply into Serbian.  

Show host Dusan (left) and DJ Sun (right) at the controls of Radio Politika - Serbian National Radio

Dusan is also the host of a weekly TV program that covers the “party Scene” with interviews of visiting DJs and reports from Raves and clubs.  I had some demo CDs from Canadian DJs with me so we played some of those on the air.  The trance music scene in Serbia tends to lean more toward hard/dark trance.  My hosts found the Canadian offerings had more of a “commercial trance” sound.  

The author (left) being interviewed about the Canadian Rave scene on Serbian National Radio by Dusan Kalicanin (right).

The radio station had also been a victim of the uprising.  Outgoing staff had stolen CD players, tape recorders, microphones and other items to sell.  As a result, we had only one microphone in the studio, which we had to share.  After the radio show, I went back to the hotel and watched the late night “Art of Techno” TV show which plays 4 to 5 hours of trance and techno music while the screen is filled with the type of visulation effects one commonly sees at Raves.  


Transplant 3

On Friday, I set out with Dejan to Novi Sad which is about 95 Km from Beograd.  Novi Sad was one of the cities most heavily bombed by NATO.  It has strategic importance, as it is Serbia’s major port of entry on the Danube River and there is a very large oil refinery there.      After taking a look at the castle that overlooks the city, and inspecting some of the bombed out bridges, we headed to the club.

One of the bombed out bridges in Novi Sad dangling into the Danube River.

The party was held in a large club, Club Paridiso, which was housed in a sports complex with an arena and swimming pool next door.  Built in more prosperous times before the embargo, it featured an excellent sound system and plenty of moving lights.  Many of the moving lights did not work, as times are so hard that getting spare light bulbs had been very difficult and expensive with the embargo in place.  The decor was also very well done although becoming a bit frayed at the edges.  
The in-house tech crew, who spoke very good English, warmly welcomed me and gave me a tour of their equipment.  We had a great time sitting in the VIP lounge and discussing sound, lighting and laser technology.  They regaled me with stories of how that had set up lawn chairs on the roofs of apartment buildings and then sat there drinking beer and watching the NATO bombing.  They told me they would take bets on how many times the refinery and military bases would be hit.  
They also told me that there “favorite bomb” was the so-called soft bomb, which was dropped on electrical sub-stations.  It did not exploder destroying the installation but rather covered it in a cloud of graphite causing it to short out but still leaving the equipment repairable.  Apparently the blue/white flash of a shorting high voltage transformer station was quite a sight to see although I have some problem with the concept of having a “favorite bomb” as I am a pacifist.  
Just before the party started, I stood on the steps outside the Club Paridiso and watched the lights in the surrounding area go out – an eerie experience to see the lights wink out block by block.  Serbia is in the grip of a severe power shortage and blackouts for 3 to 5 hours are rotated around the country to help cut power consumption.  The club was not affected, as the downtown core is a “priority area” where the power remains on.


The party was packed.  This was a surprise to Technocratica as it was an “expensive party” with a door admission price equivalent to $ 4.00 US$.  Beer was only $1 US$ a bottle at the bar.  Times are so rough, and the country so poor, that most people can only afford a ticket and a couple of beers for their night on the town.   Many people were just drinking water which sold for $0.40 US$ per bottle!
As one so often sees in European clubs, people were dressed in their finest fashions for the party.  There were no “Phat pants” or “Kandy Kids” to be seen.  There was a live PA by a local hard-trance/techno group, Analogue Synthesis, as well as a lengthy set from DJ Sun [one of the most popular DJs in Serbia].  Psychedelic trance DJ Greg was imported from Greece for the occasion.  In Serbia, DJ sets are also much longer at 2-2.5 hours that I am used to hearing at western parties which gives the DJ more time to “tell a story with music” in the words of DJ Sun.
Despite years of communist oppression, a war, rolling power blackouts and high unemployment, the rave scene is very much alive, well and flourishing due to the dedication of local DJs and promoters such as Technocratica.

We took lots of pictures as usual! Below are links to pages with more photos - njoy! P.L.U.R.



General images of the party, the people, etc.. This page has 15 pics so could take a while to download...

Party Pix


Images of the people at the party... This page with 16 pics will take a while to download....

People Pix


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