Wednesday, December 2, 2009

History of Psytrance

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 hand, Germany 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.

By: All About Trance

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