PsyTrance,what is it?
Psychedelic trance, often referred to as psytrance, is a form of electronic music that developed from Goa trance in the early 1990s when it first began hitting the mainstream. In some psychedelic trance circles and online communities, 'Psychedelic' is the preferred name for the genre as it provides an umbrella term for the many divergent styles including Goa, full on, dark, prog and suomi. Referring to it as "psychedelic" also distinguishes the style from the 'clubbier' type of trance music and reinforces the roots of Goa trance in the psychedelic community. Psychedelic trance generally has a fast tempo, in the range 135 to 150 BPM but has developed into numerous different styles within the genre all with their own range of tempos. The emphasis in psychedelic trance is placed strongly on purely synthesized timbres in terms of programming and lead melodies. The original Goa trance was often made with popular Modular synthesizers and hardware samplers, but the preference in Psychedelic trance has moved to sample manipulation and storage in VST and AU software sampler applications. The use of analog synthesizers for sound synthesis has given way to digital "virtual analog" instruments like the Nord Lead, Access Virus, Korg MS-2000, Roland JP-8000 and computer VST and AU plugins like Native Instruments Reaktor. These are usually controlled by MIDI sequencers within Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) applications.
Psychedelic trance is most popular in the UK, Israel, Portugal,
Mexico, Germany, Japan, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Belgium,
Serbia, Macedonia, Netherlands, the Nordic countries and India. The
genre is not as well known outside its scene as uplifting or
Psychedelic music is a musical style inspired by or attempting to replicate the mind-altering experience of drugs such as cannabis, psilocybin, mescaline, and especially LSD. Psychedelic music is a misnomer and should properly be called psychedelic rock music, but for the purposes of this article it is not rigorously defined, and is sometimes interpreted to include everything from Acid Rock and Flower Power music to Hard Rock. There are also other forms of psychedelic music that started from the same roots and diverged from the prevalent rock style into electronic music. However, an inner core of the psychedelic style of rock that came to public attention in 1967 can be recognized by characteristic features such as modal melodies; esoteric lyrics often describing dreams, visions, or hallucinations; longer songs and lengthy instrumental solos; and "trippy" electronic effects such as distortion, reverb, and reversed, delayed and/or phased sounds. The album that brought psychedelic rock into pop culture was The Beatles's Revolver.
While the first musicians to be influenced by psychedelic drugs were in the jazz and folk scenes, the first use of the term "psychedelic" in popular music was by the "acid-folk" group The Holy Modal Rounders in 1964. The first use of the word "psychedelic" in a rock music context is usually credited to the 13th Floor Elevators, and the earliest known appearance of this usage of the word in print is in the title of their 1966 album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. The psychedelic sound itself had been around at least a year earlier in the live music of the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd, and Donovan's hit Sunshine Superman.
Psychedelic trance is often played at outdoor festivals. The festivals often take place over a few days with music being played through the night and well into the next day. These big events usually offer a lot parallel activities, not just music. The Psy Trance scene is very concerned about ecology and nature, and hence it's very usual to find a lot of workshops with educational activities against racism, and promoting love and care for Our Mother Nature.
The big trance festivals often form a small independent city, where some 10,000 people from different places of the world meet to celebrate music and life. During winter many parties take place in clubs in modern suburbia or on the many beaches in foreign climes frequented by travellers.
Some people at these festivals frequently consume psychedelic drugs like LSD and psychedelic mushrooms. The smoking of Cannabis is widespread within the global psy-trance scene. Drugs such as Ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamine are also used to some extent. There is also a large portion of the psytrance community - including many successful artists, dj's, party organizers and party goers - who do not use drugs, or no longer use drugs. Many of these people believe experiencing the music in the intended spirit of the festivals is the high in and of itself.
While psychedelic trance music is a global phenomenon, it is particularly popular in Brazil, Japan, India, Israel, Germany, Mexico, Russia, the UK, South Africa and Australia.
Psychedelic trance developed out of the early 1990s Goa Trance scene through the influence of artists such as Timeshard and Eat Static, both on the Planet Dog record label.
The first pure Psychedelic trance label was Dragonfly Records, formed by the artist and trance producer Martin "Youth" Glover (a former bassist for the band Killing Joke) in Brixton, London. For this he took advantage of the organization and the studio of his already existing label, Butterfly Records. It quickly became the center of the London Psychedelic trance scene. Raja Ram and Graham Wood first produced here as The Infinity Project. Simon Posford, who worked as a sound engineer at Butterfly, later released his legendary album, Twisted as Hallucinogen on Dragonfly. This album featured the classic track "LSD" featuring a voice sample from acid guru Ken Kesey. The first compilation from Dragonfly was released as a trance sampler and was soon followed by another compilation titled Project II Trance in August of 1993. These included work from such well-known artists as the French project Total Eclipse and Mandra Gora. In 1994 it released singles from Man With No Name, Prana, Ayahuasca, Slinky Wizard and Doof. The signature Order Odonata compilation was released the same year.
At this point the scene was growing rapidly and many new labels were created. Return To The Source, a party collective first appeared. Raja Ram and Graham Wood went on to found their own label, called TIP Records (now TIP World). Tsuyoshi Suzuki worked with John Perloff to create the Matsuri Productions label. Flying Rhino Records was established by James Monro, Dominic Lamb and George Barker (Slinky Wizard), who hired Sally Welch as manager. Simon Berry founded Platipus Records, who among other things, released the first vinyl by Technossomy. It also out licensed the famous Robert Miles' "Children". Simon's own project, Union Jack released their morning trance album There will be no Armageddon in 1996, featuring well-known tracks such as "Red Herring", "Cactus" and "Two Full Moons and a Trout".
Around this time a new label emerged in UK. Some consider Blue Room Released to be of the most important, and unusual, labels in the Psychedelic trance genre. It was led by Simon Ghahary and had solid financial backing from a British loudspeaker company. Allegedly, Ghahary had free reign to spend the money as he saw fit, regardless of sales figures. This allowed Blue Room to move away from "classic" Goa trance into new, more experimental directions. Some of the most well-known artists today were signed and had their work distributed on the Blue Room Released label. Their first compilation was titled "Outside The Reactor" was released in April of 1995 and featured work from artists such as Total Eclipse, Har-El Prussky, and Voodoo People. Three of the most well known projects - Juno Reactor, Total Eclipse and The Infinity Project also released their debut albums that year. Soon the German project X-Dream started working with Blue Room as well, releasing their "The Frog" single and the highly influential Radio album. At its height, the label went on to release such works as Violent Relaxation by Total Eclipse, Juno Reactor's Bible of Dreams, Saafi Brothers' Mystic Cigarettes and Dragon Tales by Koxbox.
Despite being the center
of production for Psychedelic trance in the mid 1990s, England had a
very limited party scene. This mostly due to the Criminal Justice Bill
and requirements for early closing hours in nightclubs. On the other
had much more liberal laws, which in addition to the recent unification
contributed to the development of the scene there. The German label
Spirit Zone Records opened up in 1994, and ended up signing on many
foreign artists such as The Infinity Project (UK), K.U.R.O. (Japan),
Etnica (Italy), and Har-El Prussky (Israel). It was also the home label
of many German artists such as Electric Universe, Star Sounds Orchestra
and S.U.N. Project. France was also becoming an increasingly important
location, with not only Total Eclipse, but the now famous projects like
Talamasca and Transwave emerging.
Around 1997, the original Goa trance scene was undergoing hard times, especially in the UK. Sales dropped and many big labels such as Flying Rhino went bankrupt, while others had to reinvent themselves and emerge under a new name as did TIP World. The death of Goa trance was "officially" declared by Tsuyoshi Suzuki on his Let it RIP album, where the liner notes read "RIP: Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, William Burroughs, Goa trance."
The new sound of what would become the Psychedelic trance of today emerged at this time. It included elements of minimal and progressive trance, house, and techno, while focusing less on the original Goa melodies. Germany became the center of this movement in 1997 and 1998. Many Swedish artists also emerged playing a more progressive sound. The most successful and well known is Tomasz Balicki (Atmos). His track "Klein Aber Doctor" was the most successful release for Flying Rhino yet, which was in the process of restructuring. Even the Dragonfly label stated to switch to this new progressive sound, and Psychedelic trance was once again becoming popular. Debut releases from Atmos, Noma, S-Range and Son Kite only cemented this fact and made Sweden an important producer of psychedelic trance.
Soon Psychedelic trance
was expanding rapidly once again, and for
the first time differences became apparent in the music being produced
in different countries. Parallel scenes also developed in countries
like Israel, Germany, South Africa and Japan. There are also smaller,
but active scenes in India, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, The
Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Portugal, Finland, Russia,
Ukraine, Thailand, Denmark, Poland, Canada and even the United States.