Re:Generation: A paradigm of human experience
A conglomeration of 3,000 counter-culture mavens gathered for an artistic happening at the legendary Horning’s Hideout this past weekend. Musicians, painters, technicians, dancers, vendors, performers, and witnesses brought their all, coming together for a paradigm of human experience.
“Anytime someone thinks the electronic scene is getting stale, there are always new and innovative artists pushing the boundaries,” said Lotus bassist Jesse Miller. “I think what Re:Generation did very well was highlight artists that are exploring live elements and putting together a captivating show.”
“It seemed like a family affair, bringing together like-minded musicians in a beautiful location,” said Miller. “We felt very fortunate to be a part of it.”
Lotus members were not the only Re:Generation participants to feel blessed.
Descending upon the Peacock farm turned outdoor music venue came inches from an Alice In Wonderland fairy tale. The scope of the land, the sway of the trees, the pastoral beauty of the lake, and the intricate care that went into both stages–all were irreplaceable components of the festival experience.
The Glitch Mob could not have been more ideal for Thursday’s blast off.
Their stage set-up rivaled scenes from Star Trek. All three members brought the fire, sending dancers and hoopers to the moon with the pounding of their electronic drums. As DJ Edit, staged at the center, brought his hands to his chest, a wave of cosmic energy overcame the crowd.
Knots were formed in brains. Auditory sensations set the tone for what was to come. A tantric goddess descended from the ceiling, balancing herself between two elegant ribbons.
DJ Boreta closed their set with the weekend ethos that would quickly develop.
“Music can change the world,” he said.
Friday, things picked up.
A little Pink Floyd cover action from Pigs on the Wing got the crowd questioning, but the expected buzz from Big Gigantic went viral as soon as they took the stage. When Dominic Lalli mixed edits, live kinetic energy from his blaring saxophone, and backbeats from the band’s drummer, the crowd was reminded of the intensity that stems from live movement on stage.
“I think live music introduces an element of danger,” said Jesse Miller. “I think that’s something that’s not only fun for the performers, but also the audience.”
This was no laptop love-fest.
“Having the ability for things to fall apart and not really work can lead to something bigger and better in my mind,” he said. “I really appreciate electronic producers and what they do in crafting something that’s going to work and always be the same. But having the ability to shift and morph while we are performing in real-time and react to the crowd and the other musicians on stage is definitely a benefit.”
And the benefit continued into the evening.
STS9 brought the heat, kicking off their weekend vision with fans displaying signs such as “Huge Party” and tributes to lost festi-goers. They showed through their driving rhythms and melodic conglomerations that Murph’s cancer could not keep them down. A canceled tour only meant they would come back with a cosmic vengeance.
Alex B killed it with his rebranded Paper Diamond project, letting us know that music should be free and art should be interactive as he danced around the stage with his iPad.
But perhaps the biggest surprise for those who have been on the scene for years came at 10:15pm.
Oh hey Lorin Ashton, we missed you.
A Bassnectar set of epic proportions. Yes, he may have de-politicized his music over the past two years. Yes, his Sasquatch set may have had some problems. Yes, he may have cut himself off from others as he rose to national stardom.
But my god, was his experience one for the books.
It sent haters into outer space. Crowd members confronted insecurities and uncomfortable parts of their history. People invented freak-outs. And Lorin Ashton danced along to all of it, with that familiar smile of wisdom we have seen throughout his career.
He has the largest youth following of any artist on the scene.
Could not agree with you more, Tommy.
The psychedelic collisions continued on into the night, with live painting on geodesic domes from Eugene’s Renaissance Raven providing a soothing venue for those still in conflict. Individual musicians and DJs played until the sunrise, powered by generators in their respective campsites.
One Rasta dready at the Emerald spot played all through the night, right until the sun peaked over the horizon.
“Good morning, the earth is rising, the sun is shining,” he spoke.
Those of us who had experienced that “consciously awake but asleep” rest on the damp forest floor shivered into the beaming heat, regaining human form to soak in the magic of Saturday.
More untangling of mental knots, more artistic progression, and a deeper exploration of the human spirit defined Saturday’s events. After Lotus got the crowd “zen”-ed out and grooving, STS9 took the stage for the set of their careers. With the LED projector screens from Bassnectar, a decibel level that silenced the crowd, and a light show that was timed with Zack’s dynamic kick drum, they brought the crowd on a spiritual confrontation, confronting the humbling power of electronics.
It was the tipping point, the threshold, and the boiling point of the masses.
“These things go in waves,” said Jesse Miller. “They catch on and take off in a viral way. The process is more transparent because the production software is available to anyone at a cheap price. That wasn’t the case maybe 5 or 10 years ago, because it was more mysterious. Now the veil has been lifted somewhat. People can say, ‘it’s not a guitar, but I have an apprehension of what’s going on there.’”
Tribe took it higher, only for Beats Antique to close out the night with a late night set. David Satori, Tommy Cappel, and the ravishing Zoe Jakes belly danced us into an East-meets-West Indian desert trip, complete with animal masks. The crowd was beginning to burn out from no sleep and constant stimulation, but that didn’t stop the loud animal noises that burst in union from everyone’s imagination.
It continued into Sunday morning.
Festival-goers gathered at the lake for an intimate time with friends. Fish jumped from the glassy waters. The cool Oregon fog soaked everyone’s sleeping bags and tents, but it could not stop the power of body heat. We looked out to the East, with the sun shining, contemplating the world we had created for four days and three nights.
We may be the outcasts in society, avoiding the nine-to-five by whatever means necessary. Yet coming together for Re:Generation taught us that we have the power when we work together. Our culture is strong. It is vibrant. And it is growing.
STS9 started the morning with an acoustic version of “Circus” never before unveiled. Epiphanies raged in the minds of the freak resistance, a smile painted on every crowd member. The percussionist played a vibraphone. Zack calmed his drummer swag. Hunter and Phipps mellowed the mood. Murph was high on life.
“We have come together this weekend for a truly remarkable experience,” said Doug Appling, producer of Emancipator. “I hope my set unravels the knots and kinks that people are still working out.”
As the crowd made love through dance and migrated back to the main stage for STS9′s last set, the buzz centered on personal development achieved throughout the festival.
“We bent society’s rules and stretched faces to the beat of the music,” said Eugene promoter and light artist Michael Bowles, who goes by Renaissance Raven. “Every hug has made us stronger and smarter. Ambition has been kindled by Hideout happenings. Electronic is indefinable, evolving quicker than the NYC fashion scene.”
Other participants were triter.
“Re:Generation changed my life,” said Patrick Harris, who just returned from the Bounce and Sasquatch festivals, and has every weekend booked with music for the rest of the summer.
It was a spontaneous combustion of cosmic forces. An experiment with light, time, space, and color. It was freak culture at its finest in conjunction with technology. As artists and participants, we succumbed our ego and drama, if only for four days, to achieve a happening never before seen in Oregon. We showed that art and music are progressing, as a means of defining the human spirit. Bass music is evolving, changing the cerebral structure of human anatomy.
We saw the old school swept out with one outstanding promise from the new-age.
Electronics are the key, the future, and the medium for change.
Re:Generation was the renaissance that proved it possible.