Recap: Evolution at Jillian’s

On Friday, March 4, hundreds of people wandered out of winter hibernation with curiosity, a hunger for something different and a desire to dance.  Jillian’s, in recent months, has been changing its scene, being jolted back to life as a prevailing music venue in the Capital Region.

The full album is on Andrew’s flickr — go find the pictures of you and your friends! Thanks to Justin for reaching out and throwing a huge event!

For this evening’s event, Vúdoo Productions transformed the dance club into a mini electronic festival, with a commitment including displayed art, a deco installation, a down tempo artist’s lounge, on-the-spot massages from Dustin Campbell and Jessah Price of The Bear’s Massage, body painting, video projections by Drew Suto, Psydream and Psydrack, various fire performances, a Tree Shurt merch table and an eclectic mix of electronic musicians.  Evolution grew out of a series of parties held at Red Square, called Cosmic Wave, and is bringing something that is huge in other places but new to Albany.

Jillian’s was split into two areas of focus, dubbed “The Outer Limits” and “The Inner Sanctum” and each had its own special vibe.  NephilNine Deco returned once again to Albany, with Aaron Fractaltribe, and decked out both places with colorful spandex stretched in front of the DJ space and showcased collaborated paintings, projections and black lights scattered throughout.

NephilNine caters to decorating electronic events, specifically in the psytrance genre.  “I like making worlds for people to explore in,” said Sue Helfrich, owner and artist of NephilNine.  “I was truly inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and always wanted to go play there.  In the beginning, we’d be able to use paper mache to create large sculptures, such as forests or mushrooms, but now the nature of these events make it so we have to be able to pack it up and move it.”  NephilNine is a part of the New England based community Fractal Tribe, a crew of like-minded people, promoters, DJs and artists who work together on these events or “sub-cultural adventures” as Helfrich worded it.

The multi-faceted nature of this event helped to create a dynamic experience for all in attendance, filled with choices and layers of both visuals and the music itself.  The conceptual decorative art served as a proper backdrop and really aided to the transporting element to this night.

The headlining DJ Rikam of Neurobiotic Records hailed from Montreal, Canada and the night also featured past Cosmic Wave headliners Luis Campos and DJ KeN pairing up for a collaborative set.  Also on the line-up was ELECTRONICAnonymous, (Jules Jensson of HiGHER ORGANiX’s solo project), FOGES, RekOne vs. Brad Lee, Goatone, Anya, Just The Sauce, The Dark Flow and the Beatdown Collective.

This diverse range of electronic musicians provided a mix of psytrance, dubstep, tech-house, trip hop, funk and jazz.  Psytrance falls under the category of the electronic music genre and is characterized by extremely fast tempos, layering of beats with varying rhythmic patterns and draws from a variety of influences including funk, techno and trance.   The music was very high-energy, and every person in earshot was moving to the beats.  It was refreshing to experience something fresh and different, although at times a bit of a sensory overload.

The highlight for me for this event, besides tag teaming coverage with Andrew, was definitely chatting with Luis Campos and KeN, two of the main DJs on this event’s bill in the sick apartment above Jillian’s.

Minutes into our conversation it became quite evident that both these guys are incredibly aware of the community that forms in this musical subgenre and how they both approach events like this as serious work and judging by the events under their belts, their hard work pays off.  These guys know what’s up.  Luis has DJed for 200,000 people in Brazil at one electronic music fest and together Luis and KeN are resident DJs at the Sullivan Room in NYC.  My respect for these gentlemen is huge, big ups to anyone who is able to be dedicated, passionate and risk-taking in their field of interest, without robbing themselves of enjoying the work.

“When introducing a scene to a crowd, there is no predetermined result.  It is our job to adjust to the crowd and their reactions,” said KeN.  “It’s about producing the right type of music at the right time.”

“This right here is more my home than my house,” said Luis.  Our conversation revolved around how psytrance and music events such as this are flourishing underground in America, but the Top 40 culture here in America makes it difficult for it to expand past the close knit communities in which it thrives.

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