Saturday, November 28, 2009

Types of Trance Music

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
Psychedelic Trance

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 progressive is.

The club and dance scenes worldwide have been using psychedelic trance in performances along with Goa trance, ambient trance, progressive trance, and minimalist trance. The mixture of Goa and psychedelic trance music is the popular kind of trance performance to many trance listeners. Psychedelic trance can be considered an offshoot of Goa trance. Popular artists that make psychedelic trance include Astral Projection, Space Tribe, Infected Mushroom, Atmos, Total Eclipse, Cosmosis and Simon Posford. Psychedelic trance is often played at outdoor festivals. People at these festivals sometimes consume psychedelic drugs like LSD, ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms. The festivals often take place over a few days with music being played 24 hours a day.

Ambient Trance:
The precursor to Progressive Trance, Ambient Trance is a dreamy, hypnotic and intelligent style of trance, mostly German, that utilizes atmospheric pads, epic melodic progressions and occasionally symphonic arrangements. It is not to be confused with commercial, mainstream trance from artists such as ATB or Darude. At times borrowing elements from the earlier acid movement, such as rezzy 303 leads and minimal percussion, but based more on the spiritual experience that Goa Trance has since trademarked, Ambient Trance is an often-forgotten but extremely influential style that took rave music to a higher and more profound level. Sometimes called Oldschool Trance because it has since been left behind for the harder styles popular today.

Ambient Trance is not as much a specific genre as it is a period in the history of dance music's most notorious style. When The Orb and other early dance pioneers were mixing ambient records with current club-oriented sounds, many producers and DJs in the UK and Germany began taking notice. As early as 1990, German musician Harald Bluechel (aka Cosmic Baby) was experimenting with classical piano and synthesizer melodies contrasted against techno rhythms, and in 1993 released one of the most popular trance songs of all time,Cafe del Mar (under the pseudonym Energy 52) which is still being remixed today.

Perhaps the most prolific figure in trance, then and now, is Oliver Lieb. Recording under the aliases Paragliders, The Ambush, Spicelab and LSG, Lieb remixed almost every trance producer of note during the 90's and continues to do so today. His albums spanned entire genres, from tribal, ethnic fusion to spacey trance to rough and tough techno. Considered by many to be one of the gods of trance alongside Paul van Dyk, Lieb was a huge reason why the style remained powerful and important in dance cultures around the world.

As with all styles, Ambient Trance eventually morphed into something different and by the mid 90's, it was almost entirely abandoned for harder and more progressive sounds. However, a few producers of that time still remain today producing intelligent trance, among them Humate, Salt Tank, Lieb and Paul van Dyk, albeit in a more modern setting. But most fans of dance music will fondly remember the early and mid-90's as the good old days of trance, with some of the most beautiful and profound tracks produced during this time.

Progressive Trance:
This trance is generally more laid back than Euro, it tends to be a lot deeper and has a less commercial edge. It is also usually slower (130 - 140 bpm) and has a wider variety of sounds - many progressive tunes use a lot of tribal techno and breakbeat sounds. The rifts in progressive music are much more subtle than that of Euro and never as uplifting. Progressive music relies more on subtle builds and drops guided by the DJ throughout the night, whereas Euro builds and drops in each individual tune. Recently much progressive trance has moved towards deep tribal sounds and breaks. This is often referred to as progressive house. Hard Trance

Hard Trance:
As the title suggests, blends traditional trance sounds and structure with harder elements more reminiscent of Acid and Techno. The tempo is generally increased to between 145 and 155 and the kick drum and bass is usually a focus for a clubbing audience.


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