A speaker wall, dented turntables and a truck (or a bus): nomadic sound systems are emblematic of the free party, the radical fringe of the techno scene. One of the most famous, Spiral Tribe, has just mobilized for Lebanon. The opportunity for an overview of these collectives which were very active in the 90s and seem to be reborn thanks to the closure of the clubs.
Catalyst of the free movement in the United Kingdom from the end of the 1980s, the Spiral Tribe went into exile in France in 1993 (the very first teknival in Allonnes, it is them) to escape the repression of the Conservative government and preach good electronic speech. More than thirty years after its beginnings, the collective, some members of which are now in their fifties, still beats the pavement of the underground. The “Spinnaker” spirit is still carried today by 69 DB, Crystal Distortion or even Ixindamix, to name only the best known of the collective. They are the inspirers of this famous “party” which never ceases to agitate the nights of our countryside, as we saw this summer in the Creuse or in Loire-Atlantique. But the activism of the SP23, the new name of the collective in recent years, knows no borders. As evidenced by the charity compilation Mission Lebanon available on Bandcamp, which they came up with to help victims of the Beirut port double blast in August.
In 1993, a whole crew of graffiti-skateboarders from Marseille, who were quite fond of hip-hop and ragga, converted to techno following a meeting with the Spiral Tribe. They take for pseudo an acronym meaning Original Quartier du Panier (a district of Marseille). This merry band led by the VJ Starsk and the DJ Xtech not only organize parties in the south of France but carry their bus and sound system all over Europe. The Marseillais are also the founders of the legendary Okupe label, a boiling hardtek cauldron whose productions are tinged with breakbeat and ragga influences. Less harsh than the usual free sound. In 1998, OQP joined forces with the English sound systems Facom Unit and Total Resistance to create Sound Conspiracy. A tribe that will go to preach the good word as far as India. The paradise of travellers all eras.
Alongside the Nomads, Psy4triX or Mas I Mas, the Impakt-Teknokrates sound system is part of the first generation of Spiral converts. Although not all from the region, they were particularly active in Brittany, blessed land of free, and deployed an unfailing inventiveness to “plant” sound clandestinely in places as unlikely as the underground car park of a supermarket in the center of Rennes. This did not prevent them from regretting, like many historical collectives, the standardization of the scene in the 2000s, a time when fatigues, hoodies and the big hardtek sound reign supreme. Is it because he got tired of this formatting that Antoine Caudron alias “Kraft” subsequently created the show production agency Miala, which is now part of the Fimalac group and represents artists like The Avener or Tez Cadey, who we don’t necessarily imagine performing at the traditional “tekos” of 1is May ?
The smartest, crazy and famous. There’s even a Wikipedia page detailing their exploits. Foremost among which is the Dantesque free party they organized in 2001 in the disused Molitor swimming pool in the heart of the XVIe district of Paris. Easily available on YouTube, the documentary We Had a Dream, produced in 2010, tells the incredible game of cat and mouse in which the twenty members, including DJs today renowned as Popof or Noisebuilder, engaged with the police, going so far as to impress the intelligence officer generals who testify in the film. But the Heretiks have also organized perfectly legal events at the Zénith in Paris or at the Olympia.
Should you store your speakers and truck in the garage when you are over 40? The answer is, of course, no! The proof with this collective founded in 2013 by former members of different sound systems in the Paris region. Their objective being to pose imposing facades of sound supported by a total visual show based on mapping or VJing. But these activists are not only die-hards of clearings and plowed fields (or not), since one of their most memorable evenings took place in December 2016 in a Vendée club, Complex 85.