Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Reach For the Lasers
January 16, 2008 7:42 PM   Subscribe

The bastard offspring of New Age, Techno, Industrial and Acid House, trance is one of the most popular and most maligned musical genres of the 21st century. Trance can be bombastic or delicate, psychedelic or rock and roll, spacey or deep, euphoric or dark, commercial or underground, lush or funky, melodic or monotone, hard or laid back. You can try making some yourself with this toy, or go in depth with this tutorial. You can find it online, but if you want to really experience it, you need to hear it at a club.
posted by empath (184 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite

 
sounds like robots fucking.
posted by jonmc at 7:46 PM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Cylons listen to psytrance. Just sayin'.
posted by geekhorde at 7:48 PM on January 16, 2008


jonmc, you say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by empath at 7:50 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


you want to really experience it, you need to hear it at a club ... rrrrrrrrrreally fucking high on drugs.
posted by anthill at 7:52 PM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, and this is a really cool documentary on psytrance. And a really great example of psytrance is Hallucinogen.
posted by geekhorde at 7:52 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, to my old man ears, it is. but you kids have fun, just do it on somebody else's lawn.
posted by jonmc at 7:52 PM on January 16, 2008


jonmc does not like electronic music, and likes to let us know of this fact at every opportunity. Who's repetitive now?

Me, I like trance in small doses. When the 1999 wave of hyper-melodic trance hit, I had a torrid, 6-month-long affair with it, but then I found myself moving back towards the second wave of the Harthouse-influenced material from labels like Superstition and artists like Oliver Lieb, whose different projects each had a unique sound in the same vein.

I've been listening to that techier end of house an awful lot lately thanks to Digweed's weekly show, but I do occasionally pop in some of those Xtravangaza recordings and have a little dance in the kitchen while cleaning up or cooking.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:55 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


And you've never experienced trance until you've danced to it in a field at 3 am with just you, a bunch of friends, and the stars. Much better than some musty club.
posted by geekhorde at 7:56 PM on January 16, 2008


I'm more of an epic trance person than a psytrance person, I dig it though. I probably should have posted some infected mushroom or astral projection, too.
posted by empath at 7:57 PM on January 16, 2008


jonmc does not like electronic music,

Some electronica's OK, but it's hardly the 'revolution' it's hyped as. Most of it sounds like video game music or background music for a chase scene in a bad movie. This is what supposed to save music?
posted by jonmc at 7:58 PM on January 16, 2008


Is this where we tell each other how much their microgenres of electronic music suck? If so, I'm with the ragga jungle krewe. Babylon shall fall!
posted by meehawl at 7:58 PM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Here's some classic Oliver Lieb LSG - Netherworld
posted by empath at 7:59 PM on January 16, 2008


meehawl: No, this is where you put together a Ragga Jungle FPP :)
posted by empath at 7:59 PM on January 16, 2008


But can a twelve year old play it on a piano?
posted by b1tr0t at 8:00 PM on January 16, 2008


I've been to many different kinds of live shows over the years, but the few live Oakenfold sets I've been to still rank at the top for me. Mass euphoria. Could just be the X I guess. Though I've never done it.
posted by ninjew at 8:01 PM on January 16, 2008


Some electronica's OK, but it's hardly the 'revolution' it's hyped as. Most of it sounds like video game music or background music for a chase scene in a bad movie. This is what supposed to save music?

I didn't see anything in empath's post about trance being "revolutionary" or "saving music." I saw a nicely balanced post by someone trying to share some examples of a genre they like.

Four minutes later, you piss on the post - which means that you didn't bother to read or listen to any of the links. How can you say that this music sounds like robots fucking when you didn't even take the time to listen to it. Then, when you were called out on your lame insult, you responded with this little bit of idiotic misdirection. You might as well have said that electronica simply isn't as "purple" as its claimed to be, and has miserably failed to find a cure for cancer.
posted by googly at 8:07 PM on January 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


Ah Oakenfold. I saw him on his Tranceport tour in the US right as he was becoming famous here. Complete insanity. This song absolutely destroyed me that night.

For Oakenfold at his very best, though, you need to listen to his classic essential mixes (especially the two Goa mixes) from the mid 90s (up till about 2001 or so, when he started going to shit, IMO). I don't have links, but search the torrent sites.
posted by empath at 8:09 PM on January 16, 2008


Some electronica's OK, but it's hardly the 'revolution' it's hyped as. Most of it sounds like video game music or background music for a chase scene in a bad movie. This is what supposed to save music?

The only people that ever seemed to say it was supposed to save music were the magazines that pushed grunge before and indie rock after. And, again, like anything, there's 90% dross, 10% quality. Upon seeing that there was one comment in this thread, I knew it would be you, again, decrying music you don't like.

I see things on Metafilter every day that I don't care about one bit. Things that fall outside of my range of interests. And you know what I do? I don't comment. I let the people who care about the fiscal responsibility of non-profit managers in Paraguay talk about that. I let the people who care deeply about Lego and automatic rubber-band guns have those threads. I don't see why so many people here seem to think it's their damn duty to tell everyone else how apathetic they are.

Sorry. It's not you, jonmc. It's the scene, man, the scene. It's got me down.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 8:09 PM on January 16, 2008 [11 favorites]


jonmc, just stay the fuck out of this thread, would you? We know how you feel.
posted by xmutex at 8:10 PM on January 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


This, btw is the Oakenfold Essential Mix that empath refers to. It's fantastic.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 8:11 PM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


nah. too tempting to deflate the hype.
posted by jonmc at 8:11 PM on January 16, 2008


(and when I've posted about things I like, someone has always shown up to tell me it sucks. fair's fair.)
posted by jonmc at 8:14 PM on January 16, 2008


This is what supposed to save music?

Well, it's what led up to dubstep. Dubstep is going to save music.

Trance is what people who don't listen to electronic music think electronic music sounds like anyway, which might lessen its ability to sway the undecided just a bit.
posted by First Post at 8:16 PM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


(and when I've posted about things I like, someone has always shown up to tell me it sucks. fair's fair.)

Yeah, the high road, it's just too fucking hard to take, isn't it?
posted by beaucoupkevin at 8:18 PM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is what supposed to save music?

I don't really care if you like it or not, but whether you do or not, lots of other people do. It fills clubs from Buenos Aires to Beijing every weekend, I've seen DJs playing trance pull bigger, more excited crowds than platinum selling rock bands.

But trance (and house, etc) isn't about sitting down with a beer and listening to somebody rock out about their pain/ex-girlfriends/whatever. It's just about losing your mind dancing to a repetitive beat and complicated melodies. It's more purely musical than most popular music, in that it it usually completely depends on melody and harmony, since it can't fall back on a vocalist to carry the song. It's also fairly communal. It's great as background music to work to, but in a crowd of 4,000 people listening to it at 140 db, it can be completely awe inspiring.

(It can also sound laughably overwrought if some random nobody dj tries to play it in bar on a weeknight, though.)
posted by empath at 8:19 PM on January 16, 2008


this is where you put together a Ragga Jungle FPP

Love to, but time is too short - this will have to do. Click to play. More info. Behind the label.
posted by meehawl at 8:19 PM on January 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


Dubstep is going to save music

As an experiment, i played some of my trance songs at half speed, to see if it would sound good mixed with dubstep. In fact, it sounds better than dubstep. I called it PLURstep. I was going to make a mix CD of it, but all the songs are 18 minutes long.
posted by empath at 8:22 PM on January 16, 2008 [10 favorites]


Ragga style is coming back. I keep hearing new things that sound a lot like old tracks from labels like Congo Natty and Greensleeves (or N2O, on the USA tip)
posted by First Post at 8:23 PM on January 16, 2008


Hey, I'm all about the trance, but I DJ'd jungle for a few years. So I feel ya.

Oh yeah. And of course electronic music isn't going to 'save the world' or whatever. It's just another form of music(s) that some people enjoy. I personally find most things produced on an electric guitar to be insipid and so beyond derivative that it makes my brain hurt, but that doesn't mean that all pop/rock music is shit, either subjectively or 'objectively' whatever that would be.
posted by geekhorde at 8:35 PM on January 16, 2008


Oh, to my old man ears, it is. but you kids have fun, just do it on somebody else's lawn.

Oh yeah? Well, what the fuck are you doing on our lawn again then, grandma?

Shit, am I defending trance? Ack. Ack. Ack.

Trance used to be something different, anyway. See "trance europe express volume 1, 2, 3". It's more like ambient with techno beats.

posted by loquacious at 8:35 PM on January 16, 2008


Bring back Apache MC!
posted by Artw at 8:36 PM on January 16, 2008


Me, I like trance in small doses.
I'm with you. I don't have much of a tolerance for it outside of clubs. Psytrance, however, is a different thing altogether (well, only Infected Mushroom and Shpongle.. most other psytrance is crap).
posted by spiderskull at 8:39 PM on January 16, 2008


Trance is to electronic music as hair bands are to rock 'n roll.
posted by xmutex at 8:41 PM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


The obligatory: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, AMIRITE???

(sorry)
posted by Cathedral at 8:45 PM on January 16, 2008


i love trance's ass off. and now that i've turned some on, i know i'm going to wake up four hours from now and have no idea what i've been doing. i will, though, remember having fun.

however, thirty minutes in to every trance session, i always feel like getting up and searching for the Mana Sword.
posted by mr_book at 8:47 PM on January 16, 2008


Trance used to be something different, anyway. See "trance europe express volume 1, 2, 3". It's more like ambient with techno beats.

Yeah, I was looking for more trance or almost-trance from before 1997 or so. It kind of solidified really quickly into an instantly recognizable genre from a lot of disparate influences in 1997 or 1998, there aren't a lot of 'transition' tracks to choose from.

There's Dream House stuff like Children. Stadium House stuff like What Time is Love or Insomnia.

EBM really influenced it a lot, but I'm not up enough on the genre to really know what the real touchstones where there. The influence flowed back through future-pop stuff like VNV Nation, though.

As with 'techno', though, 'trance' was probably a marketing term before it was a genre.
posted by empath at 8:48 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like trance in small doses

Oh man, trance doesn't even work the way it's supposed to until you've been dancing to it for an hour or more. Sasha sets don't even get good until 3 or 4 hours into a 6 hour set.
posted by empath at 8:50 PM on January 16, 2008


Needs more Tiesto. Or less, depending on your tastes.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:52 PM on January 16, 2008


I tried like hell to listen to some of that in small doses, and hated every little sped-up beat of it.

That's not music, it's a metronome.

Lawn. Off.
posted by yhbc at 8:55 PM on January 16, 2008


The influence flowed back through future-pop stuff like VNV Nation, though.

There's also terror EBM, or as some like to call it, "goblin trance," which is basically what it sounds like. Think black metal shrieking through a vocoder.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:55 PM on January 16, 2008


Industrial?. This, this, and this is industrial.

Or if you like it more accessible. (Ok, maybe the KMFDM and Art of Noise are a bit too nice to be proper industrial, but at least they aren't NIN.)
posted by oddman at 8:57 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I almost posted that one :) I'm not going to tell the whole story of me opening for Tiesto again, but I'll just leave it that playing for a crowd like that is both humbling and terrifying. I still don't understand how he got as popular as he is. He was never that great a DJ compared to Oakenfold and Paul van Dyk, or even the other two dutch superstar djs (Ferry and Armin), and he doesn't even produce most of his own tracks, as far as I know.

I think his agent is a genius, though, for coming up with that Tiesto in Concert thing.

I'm not trying to trash him or anything, because he was one of my big early influences when I started DJing, I just don't understand how he got from being a better-than-average DJ that nobody(at least in the US) had heard of to being a huge mainstream star.
posted by empath at 9:00 PM on January 16, 2008


thanks for the little window into these weird trance genres, empath! im always defending trance from all the haters but...listening to some of those terrible tracks I realised what people were hating on so bad. yeeesh.
posted by dydecker at 9:03 PM on January 16, 2008


Oh, those aren't subgenres, those are just adjectives.
posted by empath at 9:04 PM on January 16, 2008


well I'd hate to see what you'd link "shit" to then
posted by dydecker at 9:08 PM on January 16, 2008


Oh man, that's all good trance that I posted.

Here's some bad trance:
Cascada
Scooter
posted by empath at 9:12 PM on January 16, 2008


Oh, and Basshunter.

I really dislike hard German trance with that boom-woomp bassline. It's little kid music.
posted by empath at 9:14 PM on January 16, 2008


trancecrackers

Ok, I admit it, I enjoy trance. I know I'll probably be kicked out of the IDM and minimal clubs for saying that, but it's so gosh darn likable.
posted by formless at 9:18 PM on January 16, 2008


There is bad trance. And then there is good trance. Clean out thy ears!
posted by dydecker at 9:27 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


1990 called, they want their post back.
posted by iamck at 9:30 PM on January 16, 2008


empath, I am a huge closet KLF fan. Their stunt with Extreme Noise Terror, the Manual, etc. AND they make great music.
posted by Cathedral at 9:31 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would really love to hear about you opening for Tiesto.

I think Tiesto is popular precisely because he isn't Oakenfold or van Dyk. Both of those guys draw heavily from rock. Tiesto's music is a little more "pure" electronic, and it sounds more positive, I think, and that makes for a newer, fresher sound than an electronic version of rock's now tired riffs.

oddman's links remind me of the first time I ever heard of KMFDM. I'm in college, in the computer lab at some atrocious hour of the night, and this girl sits down next to me. She has on white face makeup, black eyeliner, black lipstick and the straightest, bluest cobalt blue hair you've ever seen. With streaks of purple. And this was a time when no one did this. She's wearing black ripped jeans, safety pins up and down the legs of her pants and a white t-shirt with the sleeves and collar torn off. The shirt read "KMFDM" in gigantic letters. The only other shirt I'd seen with letters that huge were the Frankie Goes to Hollywood shirts emblazoned with "RELAX". This is the contextual framework I was operating in when this girl walked into my life. And this girl was pretty fucking far from Hollywood.

She sits next to me, and I become acutely aware of my very pedestrian haircut. I feel like the biggest square in the universe. So she notices me looking at her, and I have to say something, otherwise I'll look like a creep, so I blurt out, "What does KMFDM mean?"

She smiles conspiratorially. "Kill motherfucking Depeche Mode". She said it conspiratorially, like she was making plans.
"That's the greatest thing I've ever heard," I replied. We got on famously, and became good friends. She gave me a KMFDM mixtape a few days later.

Meeting her was walking into a parallel universe.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:38 PM on January 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


There's also terror EBM, or as some like to call it, "goblin trance," which is basically what it sounds like. Think black metal shrieking through a vocoder.

Yes please! I am now accepting links to this.

And jonmc, this stuff is not new. To share way too much, my abiding fondness for The Orb/Orbital has a lot to do with my first post-high school girlfriend's fondness for playing them in the background during sex, and while I remember it as though it were yesterday...dude, that SO was not yesterday. That was, like...oh god. 1991. Yeah, the main topic under discussion is work considerably newer than that, but still. Plenty of people who listen to this stuff are more than qualified to tell the kids to get off their damn lawns. I know you're into the Ramones and all, which is cool, but for God's sake: when you're talking about a genre this old as being altogether too newfangled for your liking, you make it sound you're waxing nostalgic for...I dunno, like Benny Goodman and shit.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:39 PM on January 16, 2008 [12 favorites]


Love to, but time is too short - this will have to do. Click to play. More info. Behind the label.

hmmm - i remember that "fade away" song from the rockers soundtrack - very interesting treatment

trance is ok (especially psy or goa trance, but the whole ragga/jungle/d&b thing is more my taste)

---

I personally find most things produced on an electric guitar to be insipid and so beyond derivative that it makes my brain hurt,

me too - and i PLAY electric guitar
posted by pyramid termite at 9:45 PM on January 16, 2008


This stuff belongs back in the late 90s when the glowstick-on-string twirlers and pretentious goatee-twirlers took over dance music.

It was schlock then and its schlock now, the only difference being that its finally getting killed off thanks to Tiesto and a million frat douches and peroxide skanks graduating (if you could call it that) up to it from euro-club cheeze.

Sure the big room clubs still play it but its not vital, essential or relevant (if it ever was) anymore. The kids these days are at the indie parties (think Ed Banger, Soulwax, Girl Talk, etc) and that is where the vital new culture is. And its fun as hell. They play songs that things, ya know, happen during as opposed to interminable anthems where you could leave the floor and go get dinner and still be back before anything of consequence happened.

This version of the future is thankfully back in the past, with The Matrix and tribal tattoos.

As I'm sure Ive said a million times before, this is dance music for people that dont really dance.
And no, bouncing as you stare at the DJ isnt remotely the same thing.

In summation Fuck Trance, it cant die quick enough.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:45 PM on January 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


The problem with trance (especially epic trance) for a lot of people is that it's shamelessly eager to please --- whether it's ridiculously on-the-nose lyrics or ridiculously over-the-top melodies. It pretty much the opposite of cool.

It's hard to let go of the cynic inside and just be an innocent kid jumping up and down and singing about love and happiness.

But if you like dance music more serious, there's plenty of serious progressive trance:

Nick Warren
Sasha
Roland Klinkenberg

That's more 'progressive' trance, which I find it a bit dull, even though it's more 'sophisticated'.
posted by empath at 9:46 PM on January 16, 2008


More non-fruity trance: Hardfloor - Acperience 1
posted by dydecker at 9:47 PM on January 16, 2008


Here's Boys Noize at Creamfields: http://uploaded.to/?id=kx1joc

To wash out the taste.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:47 PM on January 16, 2008


Infected Mushroom however are exempt from my rant. They are rad as fuck.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:49 PM on January 16, 2008


Plenty of people who listen to this stuff are more than qualified to tell the kids to get off their damn lawns.

damn straight - i'm 50 and i listen to this stuff sometimes - i have orb, springheel jack, 808 state, chemical bros and trance europe express cds/tapes not to mention tons of dj mixes of various genres - and i'm old enough to remember the bands the ramones got their inspiration from

so just stop it jonmc - it's not too damn boring, you're too damn "old"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:50 PM on January 16, 2008


Young people find this shit boring too.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:52 PM on January 16, 2008


empath writes "I'm more of an epic trance person than a psytrance person, I dig it though. I probably should have posted some infected mushroom or astral projection , too."

Well, that previous post with the free Flying Rhino tracks is also a good example of psy and goa. I'm the opposite of you, though. I could never get into epic trance. Not quite psychedelic enough, although I can understand how people do get into it. Man, psy and goa hit me like a ton of bricks when I finally "got it." I like a lot of the other genres, breaks, acid house, d&b, and I've had plenty of evenings which were fun without any trance, but psy and goa takes me somewhere else. And, unlike epic trance, with psy and goa, you really need to hear it outside.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:57 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I find it boring these days, too, but only because i listened to almost nothing else for 5 or 6 years and the genre has been stagnant for a 3 or 4 years or more. The most recent innovation was incorporating 'electro' basslines. (Doesn't sound like much on laptop speakers, but believe me, at full volume, it's intense).

I've been DJing electro, house and baltimore club exclusively for a while now, I was just feeling a bit nostalgic for trance the other day.
posted by empath at 9:57 PM on January 16, 2008


and be on really good E. otherwise is sounds terrible
posted by dydecker at 9:58 PM on January 16, 2008


Oh I dont mean to have a go at you empath. I know you know your stuff.
It's just the genre these days feels like the last year of disco, when everything was just stale stale shit and it wouldnt go away (and I love disco)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:59 PM on January 16, 2008


Man, psy and goa hit me like a ton of bricks when I finally "got it."

Unlike house and hip-hop (which are 'body music'), trance is 'head music'. You have to listen to it loud, for a long time, and preferably played by a really good dj before the rhythm clicks. Bad trance DJs just play anthem, anthem, anthem; breakdown, build; breakdown, build, over and over and over again. Good trance DJs avoid breakdowns, play subtle, rhythmic tracks, find connections between songs, keep all the songs harmonically mixed. The point of trance is to put you into a trance. You need to lose your the plot trying to keep track of all the interlocking melodies. Once you let go of trying to find the 'narrative' of the song and just exist in the psycho-acoustic space, then you've got it. And once it clicks, you'll never hear it the other way again.

I've posted a lot of 'anthems' in the thread, because they're the memorable tracks. Those are the ones good DJs play after they've got the dancefloor already locked in. They wake you up and go holy, crap, where did this melody come from? Then they put you back under with another sick, minimal/percussive/acid track.

Christopher Lawrence is really good at this.
posted by empath at 10:08 PM on January 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


empath writes "The point of trance is to put you into a trance."

Oh, I know, and I can appreciate what's going on, but it never completely clicked with me. I just don't like the music enough and need a little bit more of something. I never got into a trance state at all until I went to a psy trance party (outside, on private land, over a three day weekend). Epic kinda bores me, but I know plenty of people who get psy trance who are bored by it. It's just little things about the music that makes one electronic genre, or any genre, work for someone and not another. A lot of house bores me, too, though I like deep house and acid house, but not all the time. I like hearing skilled DJs in almost any genre, but it helps if they're spinning stuff that just does it for me.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:16 PM on January 16, 2008


oh, i wasnt' disagreeing, just elaborating. I didn't get psy at all until I saw Infected Mushroom live, personally.
posted by empath at 10:20 PM on January 16, 2008


There's also terror EBM, or as some like to call it, "goblin trance," which is basically what it sounds like. Think black metal shrieking through a vocoder.

Yes please! I am now accepting links to this.


OK. I can probably oblige you!

Suicide Commando pretty much birthed the subgenre with "Hellraiser."

Grendel's "Soilbleed" is a pretty good example of the current European stuff coming out at the moment. So is Agonoize's "Gottlos." As you can see, militarism and Satanic horror are the major themes. Full Metal Jacket and Hellraiser samples are practically mandatory.

Unter Null is one of the few female producers working in the genre. "Sick Fuck" is a good example of her stuff.

Psyclon Nine are a lot of fun, and have some of the most overt black metal influences. "Rusted" is pretty typical terror EBM, but "The Feeding" busts out with straight-up black metal guitar work. The sound quality on this live clip of "INRI" is pretty terrible, but I'm linking it because I was at this show, rocking out at the front railing and hanging out with Davey Havok from AFI.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:22 PM on January 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Good trance DJs avoid breakdowns, play subtle, rhythmic tracks, find connections between songs, keep all the songs harmonically mixed. The point of trance is to put you into a trance, etc

The same can be said for all forms of electronic dance music. The truth is that the reason trance is popular is not because it's innovative at all, but because it is accessible. The formula is to take musical motifs from pop music (pop vocals, melodies, keyed notes, overt emotionalism, the grand gesture) and apply them to the forms invented by its big daddy (techno). Same goes for Ed Banger & Soulwax mentioned above. For trance, the more motifs from pop you apply, the closer you get to the Casada track linked to above. The downside is that means that trance is bound by its form, which is why a lot of people like it for a bit and then move on further into electronic music--you realise you can make music without those motifs and branch out into all sorts of ideas, rhythms and sounds which are not so much about bombast & manipulation. Same with any music really
posted by dydecker at 10:27 PM on January 16, 2008


I just watched the documentary on Theremin, spent a half-hour on the Tony-b machine, and then found this Gnarls Barkley piece on YouTube. Not a bad evening.
posted by cgk at 10:33 PM on January 16, 2008


There's 'darkside trance', too. It's what trance turns into if you are still taking E 5 years after you've burned out all your serotonin receptors.

Sensation Black 2

Qlimax, 2
posted by empath at 10:36 PM on January 16, 2008


The truth is that the reason trance is popular is not because it's innovative at all, but because it is accessible.

It's not any more accessible than any other kind of music. I think it's more popular than house because you don't need to know how to dance to 'dance' to it :) And of course because it pushes the E triggers like no other music.
posted by empath at 10:41 PM on January 16, 2008


There is electronic music that does justice to the notion of new and vibrant music.
posted by stenseng at 10:43 PM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Or to put it another way: one of the pleasures of music is about hearing new sounds, and trance in 2008 (or 1998 for that matter) had atrophied into a formula, the hacks had moved in, the musicians had moved on and it was left for industry types flush with cash from the dance boom of the 90s to sell it to the public in increasingly accessible forms. Meanwhile, the real EDM action had moved on.

Hell, even the trancers have moved on now, save for a few diehard hippies & gurners, and the genre has even begun taking on forms, the latest of which is "electro basslines", as if that was anything new. All this chasing the wheel is doomed to failure of course because the real action, in any genre of music, is people who make things fresh. All the rest is hackery or nostaglia
posted by dydecker at 10:43 PM on January 16, 2008


Sometimes it just makes you want to dance...
posted by stenseng at 10:44 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


dydecker - Not disagreeing that trance is running in place now at all. I haven't bought a trance single in over two years. But I'm not sure you get dance music at all. It's not about inventing new forms or being creative or being an artist. It's about reading a dance floor and making asses move. Trance still does it, and as long as it does, it'll still have an audience. Disco never died, either, it just became house music.

'Electro' and 'Minimal' are where are the action is anyway, in terms of commercial dance music. In terms of creativity, it's all french house, glitch house and baltimore club. Beating on trance for being 'over' is almost like kicking a puppy at this point.
posted by empath at 10:50 PM on January 16, 2008


empath writes "There's 'darkside trance', too"

There's also dark psy, which is what some of the more goth trancers are into.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:51 PM on January 16, 2008


Disco sucks.
posted by anazgnos at 10:53 PM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure you get dance music at all. It's not about inventing new forms or being creative or being an artist. It's about reading a dance floor and making asses move.

Of course it is about both. People on Harthouse and Eye-Q who invented trance back in 1991 were all about creativity and inventing new forms. And making asses move. That's a whole different ballgame to people who simply copy what other people have done and follow along. It's the difference between The Beatles and ELO. Now you might love ELO just fine, but there's a reason why people don't name airports after Jeff Lynne. And electronic dance music is just as valid an artistic form as any other music. If you can't see that then why are you DJing?
posted by dydecker at 11:01 PM on January 16, 2008


The guys at harthouse were ripping off other people, too. Dance music isn't generally a playground for geniuses. It's all about incremental change. Acsperience was just another acid track, 6 or 7 years after acid house was invented. Do you think they sat around thinking, hey, let's invent trance? No, they thought they were making acid house records. Geniuses don't make club music, they make obscure IDM tracks that nobody but the guys at pitchfork like.
posted by empath at 11:09 PM on January 16, 2008


empath writes "And of course because it pushes the E triggers like no other music."

Yeah, that's the other thing. People into psy and goa are more drawn to psychedelics than E (which is sort of a psychedelic, sort of not). It depends what your head is into.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:11 PM on January 16, 2008


Geniuses don't make club music, they make obscure IDM tracks that nobody but the guys at pitchfork like.

Empath nails it.
Tho I do believe there are true geniuses that have created dance music, I think youre using "genius" in a slightly different way.

Nothing wrong at all with obsessively knob twiddlers making their intricately obtuse laptop symphonies, just keep it away from people that want to have a good time and dance.
If you can do both, great, but if your music is math first and foremost, dont expect me to care about it beyond the theoretical.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:21 PM on January 16, 2008


I do think that in terms of the initial street-level creative burst that causes no genres to form is well over for trance, but that doesn't mean it's worthless today. People are still making 'classical' music hundreds of years after the forms were established. Jazz and Swing is still being written. Rock music hasn't run it's course yet, even though we're still working within the same established structures that we've been working in since the 50s.

It's not quite old-people music yet, but i'm sure it will be in 5-10 years. By then it'll have been adapted into something new by the next generation of 20 year olds.
posted by empath at 11:21 PM on January 16, 2008


I tried in vain, but couldn't find a decent recording of Breeder's Tyrantanic online. I have fond, fond memories of lost moments to that at Twilo during the early days of Sasha and Digweed's residencies.

Thanks for bringing back the memories.
posted by zap rowsdower at 11:32 PM on January 16, 2008


ps - and now i'm digging through my external hard drives to find my "northern exposure" cd's. you bastard!
posted by zap rowsdower at 11:33 PM on January 16, 2008


This stuff belongs back in the early 90s when the glowstick-on-string twirlers and pretentious goatee-twirlers took over dance music.

Fixed that for you.

Plenty of people who listen to this stuff are more than qualified to tell the kids to get off their damn lawns.

53 this year. Old enough to have made the weekly pilgrimage to Shelleys in Stoke, to catch Sasha's sets before he got famous.

Of course, his sets were primarily house back in those days, and he was playing other people's good stuff, rather than making his own awful stuff.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:36 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love BT!
posted by ELF Radio at 11:41 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I tried in vain, but couldn't find a decent recording of Breeder's Tyrantanic online

I failed to find any Breeder for the FPP either. (which is another reason why the fpp is full of mainstream trance. The serious underground stuff ain't on youtube, it's on vinyl on someone's shelf somewhere)
posted by empath at 11:41 PM on January 16, 2008


I find all the hair splitting over genre aggravating. I don't know one from another. I just like some and don't like others. Sometimes these genre labels strike me as being commercial, and that flirts heavily with being antithetical to the music itself, rather like non-conformist uniforms.

But in general, here's a 50-year-old who likes electronica, and I do like trance. Never heard it in a club, I don't like clubs. But playing in my earplugs while I walk down a snowy road, through the woods, it is fantastic. Energy increases without tension and without increased blood pressure. Good trick, that. Burns calories while stimulating pleasure centers (music is extremely psychoactive for me, to the point of hallucinations when it's at its best--w/o chemical aids).
posted by Goofyy at 11:44 PM on January 16, 2008


This sounds snobby, but there is also a geography to consider. There are centres of innovation in dance music, ie places where the music is respected as an artform and not just interchangable tubes of toothpaste, and it takes a long time for the music to get from these places out into more non-dance friendly places in the world. And this flow of information is a one way street. People who like Christopher Lawrence are simply mistaken if they think that there is an idea in his head. And that's forgivable because they never got exposed to what it was copying, but to turn around and say the entireity of dance music is devoid of artistry because you've been listening to a generic and inferior version of it is naive to say the least.
posted by dydecker at 11:44 PM on January 16, 2008


(which is another reason why the fpp is full of mainstream trance. The serious underground stuff ain't on youtube, it's on vinyl on someone's shelf somewhere)

It's sitting in a crate near my technics as is, but at the moment I'm not near them. MP3's will have to suffice for now. There's a remix of Tyrantanic on youtube, but I've always been a huge fan of the original.

; ]
posted by zap rowsdower at 11:45 PM on January 16, 2008


Geniuses don't make club music, they make obscure IDM tracks that nobody but the guys at pitchfork like.

Pitchfork doesn't even cover IDM. It covers Justice. Even your snarks are 10 years out of date, dude
posted by dydecker at 11:49 PM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I used to play orb in the lab where I worked. Occasionally I'd realize that the CD was over and I was listening to the vacuum pumps.

Still love the stuff, really. Need to rip my cds and trawl through everything people have posted here.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:49 PM on January 16, 2008


If your music is math first and foremost, dont expect me to care about it beyond the theoretical

Music is math.
posted by Pyry at 11:57 PM on January 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've actually met Christopher Lawrence. He's a nice guy, and very bright and he takes his production and DJing seriously.

If you seriously think Harthouse were groundbreakers, but guys like Paul van Dyk are just copycats, you're being silly.
posted by empath at 11:59 PM on January 16, 2008


(and when I've posted about things I like, someone has always shown up to tell me it sucks. fair's fair.)

bitter.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:17 AM on January 17, 2008


I never can quite relate to people people who find trance an endurable genre of music. The only genre I can think of offhand with a similar kind of cheese and affectedness is polka. Though I may be just be close-minded there too. Similarly to trance, you probably need to be on potato vodka to appreciate it.
posted by abcde at 12:25 AM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pitchfork doesn't even cover IDM

I think their Boards Of Canada, Apparat, u-Ziq, Isolee, Prefuse 73, Modeselektor, Aphex Twin, Jaga Jazzist, Plaid, Jackson And His Computer Band, Manitoba, Squarepusher, LFO, Strategy, &c, &c reviews suggest otherwise. They might not cover it exhaustively, but they do hit most of the good stuff. The reviews themselves seem less swayed by modishness than their indie rock reviews, too.

Still, if you've got any good suggestions for IDM review sites, let's hear 'em....
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:31 AM on January 17, 2008


Music to code to, and I'm not a coder. I'll take all the unwanted disco and get dancy with it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:33 AM on January 17, 2008


I love alot of IDM, EDM etc as well, and guys like Squarepusher and Scott Herren I think are really brilliant, but I will never understand all the BOC love.

Shit's like Enigma. Music for candle stores.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:37 AM on January 17, 2008


Wait, what's wrong with the Blue Oyster Cult?
posted by jtron at 12:43 AM on January 17, 2008


Wait, what's wrong with the Blue Oyster Cult?

Fuckers hit me in the eye with a laser back in 76.

Since then I've been having weird visions.

(cracks open fresh Ox45)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:48 AM on January 17, 2008


you need to hear it at a club.

I d i s a g r e e

fuck clubs, dance under the stars

god damn you empath; holy shit do I want to go fucking dance now
posted by flaterik at 12:51 AM on January 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well I came in here to say "trance used to be interesting, before someone (PvD?) figured out the formula and the whole genre homogenized", even citing the Trance Europe Express series as an example, but Loquacious beat me to it.

I think one of the reasons trance hasn't progressed much lately is that it has such a bad reputation (often criticiszed as formulaic and artless) that anyone doing anything even sort of different distances themselves from it, and calls it something different. For instance, Gui Boratto.
posted by aubilenon at 1:06 AM on January 17, 2008


My Oakenfold experience seems to be very different from everyone else. I guess that's because he wasn't playing in a top tier market (the Area 1 show in Minneapolis) and completely half-assed his set. It began with a roadie starting the first track on his mix. Oakenfold then appeared on stage and and posed "dramatically" for the next 3 minutes. As in, I shit you not, staring off into space wearing sunglasses and with his hand on his chin. Then he put the headphones to his ear, trainwrecked as he slammed the slider over to the next track, and struck a new dramatic pose. This went on for the ENTIRE DAMN HOUR...pose...SLAM...TRAINWRECK!!!

Luckily it finally ended and the superhero known as Carl Cox saved the day with some amazing Detroit Techno.
posted by TungstenChef at 2:06 AM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


my preferred combo:
psy, outside, in the tropical night or on a British mudfest (whicked festival btw!)..
Hardly ever hear it indoors anymore. But that's ok, there's enough funky electro around.
posted by borq at 2:18 AM on January 17, 2008


As someone who grew up in the mid-90s Detroit techno scene, I was indoctrinated with the "post-1994 trance sucks" belief that dominates the techno scene. Granted I've heard a few good trance tunes here and there, but I would have to take sides with loquacious and dydecker in the techno and/or pre-trance vs. trance debate.

I will admit you can draw more heads to a party with more accessible stuff like trance which makes for those crazy huge mega raves. But I'll gladly take a 500-1000 headcount party with more varied sounds. One of my favorite overlooked djs from Detroit is Anthony "Shake" Shakir - one of the few guys who can keep a dancefloor moving, but also play any assortment of stuff from Radiohead to Jeff Mills to Prince to old disco and electro - etc.. but without getting too wedding dj nostalgic about it - just knows how to change things up and knows a whole crapload of good dance music.
posted by p3t3 at 2:39 AM on January 17, 2008


Well, this thread obviously makes me feel my age a bit! Empath is right that Harthouse didn't set about creating trance, EyeQ were the go-to label for goa at the time and that was due to the fact that the tunes were actually being played in Goa, before being signed in some instances. The Trancemaster series are a good introduction to trance at the time. Trancemaster 6 is absolutely chock-a-block with tunes!

Naturally, DJs could create a trance sound by careful track selection and Djing techniques before the genre existed as a section in the record shop. That is how many dance music styles have been created, not to mention hip-hop, disco and house.

So, trance may well be over 20 years old as a genre, but it is still getting peoples' hearts racing and feet tapping, so more power to it!

Here's a Dutch one from 18 years ago, it's a bit commercial and indeed was in the charts having a video with Dali pulling his moustache amongst other magpie visuals. I remember the DJ played it at my school disco at the time, but that is another story. I recommend the 'Feel the Space' remix, should you 'get anything out of it' as they used to say to me at the record shop.
posted by asok at 3:06 AM on January 17, 2008


I just watched THAT episode of Spaced again last night and it dragged me right back to a time when going to "a party" meant waiting at a service station on the A303 with a hundred others until a guy in a battered white transit turned up and into the Pied Piper...

From thence I ran a couple of my own raves in Jarvis' proverbial "field in Wiltshire" before all that shit stopped being cool and started being corporate.

London clubs in the 90s were fun and focussed, and with me honing my DJing everywhere from Turnmills to The End and occasionally getting to spin the wheels at the MoS down the Elephant were the highlights of a decade of decadance.

Now I live a hydroplane buzz from Ibiza, close enough that an "ida viernes, vuelta domingo" gets me out of paying for a room and out of my head for another weekend.

Thanks empath. Great post and good times...
posted by benzo8 at 4:05 AM on January 17, 2008


Me, I love the music, so I'm just going to have a sidebar, or derail if you will, and give you The Trancecracker!.

Jack Chick + Trance + Raves + DJ Worship + DJ As Satan = The Trancecracker!

Just say No to DJ Worship!
posted by willmize at 4:30 AM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fantastic post, empath. Thank you!

You've given me my soundtrack for today.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:11 AM on January 17, 2008


thankyouthankyouthankyou! That first link is a song I have been trying to track down for a long time! (probably heard it at spin class or something.) Awesome!
posted by konolia at 6:19 AM on January 17, 2008


Ah, I love some trance. I've tried getting into other forms of electronic music, but I listen mostly at work and find trance the easiest to work to. My first love was some LA Style, blaring "James Brown is Dead." People just give you funny stares at stop lights.
I also learned a lot from Ishkur's Guide, though the link seems to be down at the moment.
posted by jmd82 at 6:34 AM on January 17, 2008


well, in germany they think minimal is going to save electronic music, you can hear it everywhere...

But I'm more into breakcore, "the bastard hate child of jungle, happy hardcore, gabba, ... Alle » speedcore, drum 'n' bass, techno, electronica, IDM, acid house, ragga, electro, dub, industrial, noise, grindcore, hardcore, metal and punk"; you should check out the doku Notes On Breakcore on google video if you haven't seen it yet.

Venetian Snares would be one of the most innovative DJs in that genre. I love this guys music!
posted by kolophon at 7:31 AM on January 17, 2008


Very very interesting post -- looking forward to the chance to listen to all of this.

While some of the music is a little mindless, a lot of it isn't. And it seems mostly free of the crassness that has infected a lot of other forms of music -- I'd much rather cheesy music than evil music.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:39 AM on January 17, 2008


Some electronica's OK, but it's hardly the 'revolution' it's hyped as. Most of it sounds like video game music or background music for a chase scene in a bad movie.

"Most" meaning "most of the stuff you hear that's heavily commercialized and meant for clubs and raves and video games and chase scenes."

Writing off "electronic" music in such a way is like writing off "guitar" music because of nu-metal. There are worlds of stuff out there.

Some of the electronic stuff on my Zune right now that is nothing like jonmc's description (nor trance):

.at-on, 100blumen, Accrual, Akira Rabelais, Alva Noto, Andrew Duke, Android Lust, Apparat, Architect, Ayria, C/A/T, Cenotype, Cepia, Cervello Elettronico, COH, Cordell Klier, D.Compose, Daedelus, Dead Violets, Deadbeat, DJ /Rupture, Drumcorps, Edit, Endif, ESA, Essen, Front Line Assembly, Full.System.Failure, Ginormous, Heimataerde, Hocico, Holon, Ivilion, Kill Memory Crash, Kim Cascone, Laplace, Manufactura, Marching Dynamics, Merzbow, Morgenstern, Necro Facility, Nettle, The Operative, Orphx, Oval, Pawel Grabowski, Pinkler-Reche, Prevert, Prometheus Burning, Roto Visage, Ryu, Samarah, Skinny Puppy, Sprog, Stromkern, This Morn' Omina, To Repel Ghosts, Tone Language, Twinkle, Venetian Snares, Vidna Obmana, The Wretch

"Electronic" doesn't have to sound like any particular thing, it's just that there's this huge rut that many are stuck in. Some people may think of it as a groove. I don't have any trance in my collection because I find it too dull. I'm not saying there aren't formulas in genres I do like, but at least they're interesting or fun formulas...
posted by Foosnark at 7:42 AM on January 17, 2008


Did I mention rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreally fucking high on drugs?

(Thanks for the 1994 Oakenfold - awesome)
posted by anthill at 7:42 AM on January 17, 2008


I was hoping for a genuine critique, pro and con in the popular and maligned links but unfortunately there was only a popular/not popular critique.But I think it's one that should be had.

Trance has it's name at least loosely because of inciting a trance state in the listener. This isn't a nominal characteristic. Is it a good idea to listen to music that shuts off your conscious cognitive processes? Should we be applauding the social engineering skill of DJs who rarely qualify as musicians but more as demagogues, analyzing the crowd response and spinning the knobs in just the precise way so as to maximize control of the audience and causing them to involuntarily dance...often with the aid of heavy social pressure to ingest dissociative drugs?
posted by kigpig at 8:13 AM on January 17, 2008


I'd watch out for reading too much into genre names: trance isn't about trances, house isn't about houses, drum n bass has other instruments in it, progressive is actually regressive, minimal is sometimes huge, jungle is made in the cities, Detroit can be made in Amsterdam, etc
posted by dydecker at 8:20 AM on January 17, 2008


Great post. Never loved trance, but I like the links/names that have shaken out. 'Specially the jungle stuff: thanks Meehawl! I feel old now, knowing that Drexciya and LTJ Bukem and Underworld is now "oldies".
posted by everichon at 8:40 AM on January 17, 2008


Well, it's not just trance that induces a trance state-- house and D&B can in the hands of the right DJ, too. It's just that trance is particularly fine tuned to producing a trance state.

There are other music traditions that seek to do the same though -- Shaker Hymns, Voudoun Rituals, Tarantalla, Whirling Dervishes.

And yes, shutting off your cognitive processes can be a GOOD thing, people have been doing it for centuries. Thought is overrated. The crowd is BEGGING for the DJ to control them. It's not like he's going around hypnotizing unsuspecting bystanders.

This is my church
This is where I heal my hurt
It's a natural grace
Of watching young life shape
It's in minor keys
Solutions and remedies
Enemies becoming friends
When bitterness ends
This is my church

This is my church
This is where I heal my hurt
It's in the world I become
Content in the hum
Between voice and drum
It's in change
The poetic justice of cause and effect
Respect, love, compassion
This is my church
This is where I heal my hurt
For tonight
God is a DJ
This is my church

posted by empath at 8:50 AM on January 17, 2008


trance isn't about trances, house isn't about houses, drum n bass has other instruments in it, progressive is actually regressive, minimal is sometimes huge, jungle is made in the cities, Detroit can be made in Amsterdam, etc

House was named because originally it was the in-house music particular to that club. Drum n bass features primarily the drum and bass as opposed to them being the background beat in most other styles. Progressive has had it's play with frauds using it to be pretentious, but the early proto-progressive space rock bands of 1960s England were in fact politically progressive and dedicated to music having a continual forward approach (right or wrong). Minimal is named because of a minimal use of notes and sounds. Jungle is designed to imitate tribal music through electronic means (which due to the decline in tribal life, we, at least in America have an imagery of tribes living in the jungle/rainforest). Detroit got it's name because of motown's influence which was located in Detroit.

As of now I'm under the impression that trance is called that expressly because of the hypnotic state it induces unless a better argument is given otherwise. At the very least, it does in fact do this regardless of where the name came from.

And yes, shutting off your cognitive processes can be a GOOD thing, people have been doing it for centuries. Thought is overrated. The crowd is BEGGING for the DJ to control them. It's not like he's going around hypnotizing unsuspecting bystanders.

Ah yes, people have been doing it for millennium. In fact the 4/4 beat of the military drum comes to mind. I don't think the whole crowd is down with this. Like any social trend, most just want to belong to something and if this is the sub-group they fall into they do what they can to fit into it. Most cults do not go around hypnotizing unsuspecting bystanders either (no I'm not trying to pull the ad hominem and say this is a cult, just that cults are also controlling a crowd that willingly joined).
posted by kigpig at 8:57 AM on January 17, 2008


I ♥ trance. That is all.
posted by Lynsey at 9:08 AM on January 17, 2008


At the Risk of Self Linking, here's a trance mix I did a year or so ago:

Bittersweet


Tracklist:
Shpongle - Exhalation
Terry Grant - I'll Kill You (Luke Chable mix)
Armin - Bounce Back
Guy Gerber - Stoppage Time (Max Graham Mix)
Eyewall - Bad Deal (Remy vs Klinkenberg Mix)
Goldie-Lox - Funktronika (Christian Hoff Mix)
Mojado - Naranja (Mr Sam remix)
Armin - Zocalo
Signal Runners - 3000 Miles (Probspot remix)
Jonas Steur - Silent Wave
Electrovoya - Days Like These
Orkidea - The Only Way

posted by empath at 9:28 AM on January 17, 2008


Like any social trend, most just want to belong to something and if this is the sub-group they fall into they do what they can to fit into it. Most cults do not go around hypnotizing unsuspecting bystanders either

There's absolutely no doubt that there is a cult-like aspect to it. It can be a near religious ecstasy to some people (it has been to me at times). People used to wear "PVD IS GOD" t-shirts to his shows. But religious/musical ecstasy and trance-states are part of human experience, and have been for a long time.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on January 17, 2008


As of now I'm under the impression that trance is called that expressly because of the hypnotic state it induces unless a better argument is given otherwise.

How does Cher's 'Believe' induce a hypnotic state? It is trance. Just because something is called trance, doesn't mean it has any trance-inducing qualities at all. Yes, minimal is named for a particular reason, but it doesn't mean that all tracks in the genre are minimal. I say this because it makes me laugh that cheesy epic trance with huge breakdowns and operatic vocals is being hailed as trance-inducing when it is nothing of the sort.

Progressive has had it's play with frauds using it to be pretentious, but the early proto-progressive space rock bands

wrong thread. wrong progressive

Detroit got it's name because of motown's influence which was located in Detroit.

Wrong thread. wrong Detroit.
posted by dydecker at 9:33 AM on January 17, 2008


Yeah, it would be hard to be more wrong about where the genre names came from:

House music came from a club in Chicago called The Warehouse. Garage came from a club in NY called Paradise Garage. 'Jungle' came from a sample that had the word "Jungle" in it, but I forget where it came from. Detroit no motown influence whatsoever (though Motown sounds did filter into EDM through the Northern Soul scene.)

She did get 'progressive' right though. It's from 'progressive rock'. The idea isn't that they were pushing dance music forward, but that the structure of the song progressed and changed over the length of the track, as opposed to techno, which just looped.

Trance at it's origin was about inducing a trance state. But it morphed into something different as the anthems and commercial tracks co-opted the sounds.

"Believe" isn't trance though, it' s just handbag house, with some trance synth patches.
posted by empath at 9:48 AM on January 17, 2008


er -- he rather...
posted by empath at 9:49 AM on January 17, 2008


But religious/musical ecstasy and trance-states are part of human experience, and have been for a long time.

Yes, I'm saying it 'might' just be one of the bad parts of human experience. I would probably think differently if what I'd seen of it in way back when was people consciously using this as an escape and exploratory mental experience. But of course, that's never the way it is...

How does Cher's 'Believe' induce a hypnotic state? It is trance. Just because something is called trance, doesn't mean it has any trance-inducing qualities at all. Yes, minimal is named for a particular reason, but it doesn't mean that all tracks in the genre are minimal. I say this because it makes me laugh that cheesy epic trance with huge breakdowns and operatic vocals is being hailed as trance-inducing when it is nothing of the sort.

I think you're delving into a much larger linguistic debate than I intended to cause. Trying to glance over why without inducing prolonged debate:
firstly, you say Cher's Believe is trance. I say no. In order to establish this we would need to define trance. Which we obviously disagree on. Which would lead to where does meaning come from...etc...(then again maybe Cher's believe induces trance in the same idiots it's meant to be marketed to). Further, Cher is quite clearly not genuinely a trance musician and intends her songs for a mass market. Maybe it is of a similar musical styling as trance but she's (or rather the musicians that write her stuff) are doing it wrong.

To rectify the claim: 'most' trance music is intended to induce a trance and it is highly likely that it is the reason it was first called as such. Is this what you are actually disputing?

wrong thread. wrong progressive

You got me on this one, but after a bit of research the progressive used in trace is used in the sense of the songs progressing forward it seems. So the name was still not arbitrary as semiotics never are.
posted by kigpig at 9:55 AM on January 17, 2008


Like any social trend, most just want to belong to something and if this is the sub-group they fall into they do what they can to fit into it. Most cults do not go around hypnotizing unsuspecting bystanders either (no I'm not trying to pull the ad hominem and say this is a cult, just that cults are also controlling a crowd that willingly joined).

I don't care about trends, I don't need to belong to something, and I effing hate trance. But I can tell you that there are few things better than getting to a space where you don't care who's watching, and you don't care that you're in a tiny little basement with a half inch of water on the floor and about 90% humidity, and maybe you're the only one dancing, but you're dancing your ass off for who knows how long, just you and the music, when suddenly the song ends and the lights come up and people start coiling up cables. That's the kind of trance people talk about when they're talking about dancing. It has nothing to do with cults or zombies or control.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:56 AM on January 17, 2008


I would say that 'most' trance music is not meant to induce a trance, no. Most of it now is meant to trigger ecstasy rushes and induce euphoria. Which may or may not have anything to do with entering a trance state. Good trance does, though.
posted by empath at 9:59 AM on January 17, 2008


Not a big fan, really, but it can be the right music in the right environment--under the stars, surrounded by fire spinners and lights and people of all hues, watching that hippie hula-hoop dancer gyrate for hours on end.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:11 AM on January 17, 2008


@Foosnark.

"... Android Lust... Ayria, C/A/T, Cenotype... Cervello Elettronico... Endif... Front Line Assembly... Heimataerde, Hocico... Manufactura, Marching Dynamics, Merzbow... The Operative... Skinny Puppy ... Stromkern, This Morn' Omina... Venetian Snares..."

You just described half of my playlists most Friday nights.
I'll add Terrorfakt, Angerfist, Accessory, Forme Tadre, KMFDM, Amon Tobin, Klute, Grendel, Combichrist, Ministry and a shit ton of modern EBM bands to that mix and you've got Fridays in Las Vegas for me. I also close all my nights with Toxygene (7"/Single) by The Orb, mostly because it just fucks with the promoter for the afterhours.

Yet somehow people want to listen to goth music....
posted by daq at 10:12 AM on January 17, 2008


Well, the real question is trance better than inducing hypnotic states on the dancefloor than other forms of dance music? I say no way. But in the end this is a question of taste- i say this listening to 'Sous L’Arbe' by Guillame & the Coutu Dumonts right now and it's putting me in a trance-state, no tricks & no drugs required.
posted by dydecker at 10:13 AM on January 17, 2008


Oh, and you completely left out DarkCore Trance. Bands like Angerfist and Killpig out of the Netherlands are really fun to take that nice happy "peace and love" vibe and turn it on it's ear. I'm sorry, I'm human, and I can't be happy all the time. Sometimes I just want to flail around and mosh to 160 BPM electronic mayhem. With trance breaks.
posted by daq at 10:14 AM on January 17, 2008


kigpig writes "Trance has it's name at least loosely because of inciting a trance state in the listener. This isn't a nominal characteristic. Is it a good idea to listen to music that shuts off your conscious cognitive processes?"

Have you ever heard of meditation?

Ah yes, people have been doing it for millennium. In fact the 4/4 beat of the military drum comes to mind. I don't think the whole crowd is down with this. Like any social trend, most just want to belong to something and if this is the sub-group they fall into they do what they can to fit into it. Most cults do not go around hypnotizing unsuspecting bystanders either (no I'm not trying to pull the ad hominem and say this is a cult, just that cults are also controlling a crowd that willingly joined).

Oh, come on. You wont get into a trance state unless you're willing to do it, and you're not unconscious or incapable of making decisions.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:19 AM on January 17, 2008


more random trance classics:
BBE - 7 Days and a Week
Belearic Bill - Destination Sunshine
Darude - Sandstorm (The song that everyone loves to hate)
Jam and Spoon - Stella
Love Stimulation
Blue Fear
posted by empath at 10:19 AM on January 17, 2008


It all sounds just like that "bluegrass" stuff to me.
posted by MaxVonCretin at 10:30 AM on January 17, 2008


I'll see your Jam and Spoon - Stella and raise you an Age of Love/Age of Love - Jam and Spoon Watch Out For Stella Mix. First encountered on a beach in Goa under a full moon, btw.
posted by carter at 10:35 AM on January 17, 2008


House music came from a club in Chicago called The Warehouse. Garage came from a club in NY called Paradise Garage. 'Jungle' came from a sample that had the word "Jungle" in it, but I forget where it came from. Detroit no motown influence whatsoever (though Motown sounds did filter into EDM through the Northern Soul scene.)

Both House and jungle say the etymology of the words are debated on their wikipage but either way it seems we agree that the words came from something involving their name and I guess I presumed the trance connection was the obvious one and not from some detached connection in its early years.

I would say that 'most' trance music is not meant to induce a trance, no. Most of it now is meant to trigger ecstasy rushes and induce euphoria. Which may or may not have anything to do with entering a trance state. Good trance does, though.

Well, okay, the ecstasy rushes and euphoria are the methods by which they intend to induce the trance? Not sure this is true as opposed to it being intended directly at the hypnosis. But either way, are these good things in the context of the culture that is drawn to it? And no not is it common, or part of the human experience, but does it cause a net positive or negative social impact? Examining music in this way shifts most styles from their pedestal of magic to a poison on humanity but I'm not sold either way on trance yet...what would these fans be doing otherwise if not in their closed environment? Are they all broken escapists who otherwise use this music in a prozaic way? Would they be leading otherwise productive lives if they hadn't stumbled upon a mind controlling cacophony? One part I think is clear is that fans of trance rarely just listen in the background while otherwise attending their daily routines, but live the lifestyle of their niche subculture and adapt to the codes of conduct as a result.
posted by kigpig at 10:38 AM on January 17, 2008


Are there lots of things you can do to be productive at 4am on a Friday night when you're 20 years old?
posted by empath at 10:40 AM on January 17, 2008


One part I think is clear is that fans of trance rarely just listen in the background while otherwise attending their daily routines

You'd be very wrong. Trance is ideal background music while working, especially while coding or doing anything creative. It engages that part of your brain that likes to wander while letting you focus on whatever is in front of you.
posted by empath at 10:42 AM on January 17, 2008


live the lifestyle of their niche subculture and adapt to the codes of conduct as a result.

Uh, what? What exactly do you think it is that people do? They go to clubs on the weekend, get wasted and jump and down and scream a bit and then go to work on monday. This isn't Fight Club.
posted by empath at 10:50 AM on January 17, 2008


kigpig writes "But either way, are these good things in the context of the culture that is drawn to it? And no not is it common, or part of the human experience, but does it cause a net positive or negative social impact? Examining music in this way shifts most styles from their pedestal of magic to a poison on humanity but I'm not sold either way on trance yet...what would these fans be doing otherwise if not in their closed environment? Are they all broken escapists who otherwise use this music in a prozaic way? Would they be leading otherwise productive lives if they hadn't stumbled upon a mind controlling cacophony? One part I think is clear is that fans of trance rarely just listen in the background while otherwise attending their daily routines, but live the lifestyle of their niche subculture and adapt to the codes of conduct as a result."

It almost appears you consider trance to be dangerous. All your questions could be asked of many forms of popular music, especially those popular among young people.

I mean, look at this:

Would they be leading otherwise productive lives if they hadn't stumbled upon a mind controlling cacophony?

Who's to say they're not? Everyone I know who still listens to trance has jobs, responsibilities, etc.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:52 AM on January 17, 2008


kigpig writes "One part I think is clear is that fans of trance rarely just listen in the background while otherwise attending their daily routines, but live the lifestyle of their niche subculture and adapt to the codes of conduct as a result."

I listen to trance going to and from work, and when I'm doing support calls, in my car. Also, when I get home, in the background. (Yes, other genres of music, too.) I don't have too much time to just listen attentively to music, but I do that, too, although it's not the majority of the time. This has always been the case with music I like, trance or not.

What sort of thing do you think this is?

"And no not is it common, or part of the human experience, but does it cause a net positive or negative social impact? Examining music in this way shifts most styles from their pedestal of magic to a poison on humanity but I'm not sold either way on trance yet"

"Poison on humanity?" I get that you don't think most music is "good" for people. If so, we have a pretty big difference of opinion.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:58 AM on January 17, 2008


Have you ever heard of meditation?

So far as I know, no forms of meditation involve the meditators actively engaging in their environment during this period. Then again I despise meditation so maybe there is such a horrific form.

Oh, come on. You wont get into a trance state unless you're willing to do it, and you're not unconscious or incapable of making decisions.

Our historical record is littered with politicians who were happy to abuse this naivete.

Well, the real question is trance better than inducing hypnotic states on the dancefloor than other forms of dance music? I say no way.

All successful dance music, by successful I mean, makes people feel a need to dance rather than just people dance to it because it's playing, induces a hypnotic state. The sounds control the person to move in a way that they would otherwise not do being that it serves no purpose were the music not on. And I would say yes more so for trance and a few other styles...from when I was involved in it.

It almost appears you consider trance to be dangerous. All your questions could be asked of many forms of popular music, especially those popular among young people.


Yes and they should.

Painting a broad stroke here since the idea that we shouldn't be critiquing art/music for whether it's harmful or beneficial seems like a no brainer that shouldn't require this derail:
-later southern hip-hop (might be mis-classifying here a bit) is heavily encouraging of misogyny.
-pop dance music encourages narcissistic, vacuous sycophants.
-emo music encourages displaying emotions for the sake of the emotion themselves (sometimes fraudulently) while discouraging personal criticism of why they feel the way they do.

None of these has to do with whether or not I like the music, but that they are a style that should be openly chastised. I posed the question with trance since I'm unsure whether it falls in the net good or bad category.

*disappearing for a while*
posted by kigpig at 11:29 AM on January 17, 2008


kigpig writes "So far as I know, no forms of meditation involve the meditators actively engaging in their environment during this period. Then again I despise meditation so maybe there is such a horrific form."

Eh ... I can see we're not going to find much common ground. FWIW, meditation has been medically proven to improve mental and physical health, almost completely across the board.

"Oh, come on. You wont get into a trance state unless you're willing to do it, and you're not unconscious or incapable of making decisions.

"Our historical record is littered with politicians who were happy to abuse this naivete."

What? Our historical record is littered with politicians who induced a trance state and abused it? I'd like to hear some examples.

"All successful dance music, by successful I mean, makes people feel a need to dance rather than just people dance to it because it's playing, induces a hypnotic state. The sounds control the person to move in a way that they would otherwise not do being that it serves no purpose were the music not on. And I would say yes more so for trance and a few other styles...from when I was involved in it."

How much do you really think the music is controlling anyone? What proof do you have?

Wait ... are we suddenly back in the '50s, discussing whether Elvis is corrupting our youth?

"Painting a broad stroke here since the idea that we shouldn't be critiquing art/music for whether it's harmful or beneficial seems like a no brainer that shouldn't require this derail:
"-later southern hip-hop (might be mis-classifying here a bit) is heavily encouraging of misogyny.
"-pop dance music encourages narcissistic, vacuous sycophants.
"-emo music encourages displaying emotions for the sake of the emotion themselves (sometimes fraudulently) while discouraging personal criticism of why they feel the way they do.

"None of these has to do with whether or not I like the music, but that they are a style that should be openly chastised. I posed the question with trance since I'm unsure whether it falls in the net good or bad category."


So, you deny that these forms of music have positive effects? Since you don't understand them or like them, all you see is the negative.

Does art have to qualify itself, in your eyes?

*disappearing for a while*

Good luck fighting the encroachment of youth.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:50 AM on January 17, 2008


What a weird post and discussion, at least to me—the electronic dance music I grew up on and around was almost exclusively made in Detroit and Windsor, with little detours to Chicago. While I remember being sent some Sasha and Digweed promos, I didn't realize they were "trance," and always mentally collapsed Armin Van Buren into Armen Van Helden.

Were Drexciya trance? I saw them a couple of times, including at the DEMF, and they seemed like a weird techno/live music hybrid (they had a cello on stage with them). I liked Drexciya a lot.

I guess the fundamental problem I always have with the broader "trance," (or, again, what I've heard and now found out is trance) is that it's further away from the disco and hip hop that I like to ground my dance music experience. Music for candleshops, indeed.
posted by klangklangston at 12:15 PM on January 17, 2008


Yeah, that's a really, really bizarre way of looking at music.

Even Bach attempted to induce trance with his songs. They're called 'fugues' for a reason. Music off all kinds is intended to produce ecstatic states.
posted by empath at 12:16 PM on January 17, 2008


Armin Van Helden would cockslap you if you told him you thought he was trance :)
posted by empath at 12:24 PM on January 17, 2008


Haha, no, I kept trying to think of Van Buren tracks and could only come up with Van Helden ones, and I kept thinking "That's not trance, right?"
posted by klangklangston at 12:27 PM on January 17, 2008


I have two armin van buuren tracks on the mix cd i posted upthread.
posted by empath at 12:40 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


wow, this thread brought back some memories!
emapth, thanks for the links, thanks for the mixes, thanks for the observations.

i listen to trance something like 4 hours a day; head down, headphones on, cranking out code. it's great.

yup, lots of trance is terrible, but the good stuff can put me in a VERY fun and focused place.
posted by dolface at 1:09 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I knew this thread would be full of people who think other people are dumb because of the kind of music they listen to.

jonmc, I feel sorry for you, because the majority of the multitude of sounds you encounter in daily life must cause you great mental anguish. I am thankful that I have the ability to appreciate a wide range of music - and tolerate nearly all music - with your example (and others in this thread) making me more appreciative of it by the minute.

Also, where the hell is this "trance should die and go to hell" vibe coming from? Is it a sin to enjoy super-compressed, tight, dutch-fat-saws-in-your-face-all-the-time trance? Because they're still making a ton nowadays and I think it's just swell.

How did we all get so bigoted and closed-minded about music? Is this all part of the define-yourself-by-the-products-you-consume mindset that's everywhere right now?
posted by tehloki at 1:13 PM on January 17, 2008


just noticed my 1st link was wrong:
psy, outside, in the tropical night ..
posted by borq at 1:37 PM on January 17, 2008


great post! certainly brings backs some memories of my clubbing days.

to jonmc; i'm sorry for you. where you hear "robots fucking" i hear something completely different. perhaps if you emptied some of that knee-jerk disdain out of your head you might be able to listen better. true that peoples tastes can differ, but to slap such a response down in a thread without even listening to any of the tracks posted just seems sad.
posted by dazed_one at 2:00 PM on January 17, 2008


How did we all get so bigoted and closed-minded about music?

Large sections of music "appreciation" have always involved this. It's not new. Not by any stretch. It happens in pretty much all fields of human endeavor, but for some reason music seems to me to be especially vulnerable. Maybe it's the weird impulse toward classification that appears to be so common in fanatics.
posted by aramaic at 2:02 PM on January 17, 2008


Robots fucking - if we’re lucky.

Although the Shover Robot will protect you. (Do not trust the Pusher robot He is malfunctioning. Shoving is the answer) They are here to protect us from the terrible secret of space.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:10 PM on January 17, 2008


Nothing like trance doing about 160 mph on a bike on LSD. (Er, Lake Shore Drive) Although Motorhead is good too (Burner, Locomotive)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:19 PM on January 17, 2008


People on Harthouse and Eye-Q who invented trance back in 1991

I stopped hearing lots of stuff on trance that genuinely surprised me after Planet Dog went tits up, but after Vernon's Wonderland every "new" superstar trance DJ just sounded like they were covering Vernon. I wish it were otherwise - I like that sensation of hearing a genuinely new emusic sound that traggers your alpha adrenergic receptors making the hears on the back of your neck stand up. I've listened to a bunch of the tracks in the thread and honestly can't find much that excites me in a novel way. Psy/Shpongle thing honestly always sounded to me very like the German "hardcore techno" stuff that ZYX was churning out in the early-to-mid 90s - stuff like Terror Temple let you get "trance" and gabber on a single release. There was a huge ferment of lofi single-releases by crazed German teenagers armed only with Amigas, STs, and KLF samples that was like some sort of pre-Cambrian hard trance radiation that just as quickly died out. The intersection between those two now relatively widely diverged genres is where Psy found a space.

Diverting slightly from trance, Cylob's Cut the Midrange Drop the Bass is a nice take on retro emusic fads. Paradinas also nailed it with his cover of U Can't Touch This.

I asked a serious DJ friend of mine who's been doing this for a long time what he'd recently that sounded "new":
Currently listening to a Dj Spooky which is really good

lots of breakcore ala bong ra, the bass happy stuff from dj donna summer (jason forrest) and skymall, anything that cutting pink with knives is doing, anything on Holy Roar records....
posted by meehawl at 2:26 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I stlii don't buy the trance-inducing quality of trance; at least epic and progressive, maybe a little for psy and goa.. But most trance reminds me of trying to get hypnotized by a guy swinging a pocket watch back and forth wearing a big black cape and handlebar moustache and saying "you are getting sleeeeppy". While it might work if you're really into it (or on drugs), for most people it's practically a parody of inducing a trance - to the point that I would probably be too busy laughing to enter a trance state.

I think trance is less trance-inducing and more excitement-inducing. I think hypnotic minimal techno is a lot more trance-inducing. Artists like Surgeon, Mark Broom, Richie Hawtin, Rob Hood, Mika Vainio, Oliver Ho, Steve Rachmad, etc.
posted by p3t3 at 2:29 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Drexciya is Detroit techno. Lovely lovely Detroit techno.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 2:57 PM on January 17, 2008


Jungle was a result of collaboration between Jamaican dub artists and UK 'ardcore artists. It was named after a particularly rough area of Kingston where many of those guys were from. Period.

Drum 'n bass was never really a separate genre. Basically, people got snobby about being associated with the fun, jump-up style that jungle was taking, and they wanted to distinguish their music as being more highbrow, so they went with the name that would confuse outsiders forever ("What, so it's just a bass player and a drummer sitting there?") but set them apart from what they considered the mainstream. Then of course it fragmented into a million more styles and genre names (jazzstep, techstep, liquid funk, etc)

The UK dance scene (like all dance scenes) is forever schisming like that, though. Look at it now...DnB (and traditional 4 on the floor garage) beget 2-step garage, and now from that you have what they call "funky house" (but it's not like funky house from before, it's more garage-y), Niche or Northern bassline, and dubstep. It is always changing, and the change occurs more rapidly each time. That's why you shouldn't rely on Ishkur's site for more than historical reference.
posted by First Post at 3:15 PM on January 17, 2008


Yeah, but they were mentioned upthread as trance. And being from around Detroit, everything there was already "Detroit Techno," so I'm having trouble parsing out which folks I've seen (from Detroit) are really "trance" or what have you.
posted by klangklangston at 3:15 PM on January 17, 2008


(oh and grime. can't forget grime :)
posted by First Post at 3:25 PM on January 17, 2008


Some trance is really great for working out; those BPMs help kick my ass into gear when I'm at the gym when all I really want to do is curl up in the fetal position in front of Project Runway with pizza rolls and a Dr. Pepper.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:58 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


borq writes "psy, outside, in the tropical night .."

Yeah, there it is. Nice!
posted by krinklyfig at 4:45 PM on January 17, 2008


dydecker: "This sounds snobby, but there is also a geography to consider. There are centres of innovation in dance music, ie places where the music is respected as an artform and not just interchangable tubes of toothpaste, and it takes a long time for the music to get from these places out into more non-dance friendly places in the world. And this flow of information is a one way street"

Dance music isn't a one way street, it's a busy crossroads at rush hour with no traffic lights. And places with people in them are by definition dance-friendly places.

US R&B that no one wanted to dance to in the US found its way to the UK (Twisted Wheel, Torch, Mecca, Casino, Catacombs, &c. - all in absolute backwaters) ossified for a time until the Northern Soul types ran out of obscurities to unearth, at which point some of them borrowed a subset of disco from the US (causing a massive kerfuffle), combined the two at gay clubs (Heaven), and ended up exporting fully-formed Hi NRG back to New York clubs like The Saint, which were already playing proto-Hi NRG (boystown) that borrowed heavily from Eurodisco (there's a clue in the name). Seriously, listen to So Many Men So Little Time by Miquel Brown - you can hear that whole process in one record! Detroit and Fire Island and Cleethorpes under one vinyl roof!

Or how about the way popular US R&B records found their way to Jamaican soundsystems, leading directly to ska and its derivatives, only for Kool Herc re-imported the soundsystem back to the US to invent hip hop (using... popular US R&B records, essentially). Rapping began with American MCs copying Jamaican MCs copying American radio DJs. And now plenty of hip hop borrows directly from dancehall...

Techno: "George Clinton and Kraftwerk stuck in an elevator", as that twerp Derrick May put it.

PeterMcDermott: "53 this year. Old enough to have made the weekly pilgrimage to Shelleys in Stoke , to catch Sasha's sets before he got famous."

31 this year. Old enough to have seen Sasha before he got totally shit, and to be gutted when PeterMcDermott pops up to talk about nightclubs - I remember a past thread where you waxed nostalgic about the Twisted Wheel, now this! Please don't tell me you have fond memories of huffing poppers with Larry and Frankie at the Continental Baths after helping Francois pack up his drum kit at Galaxy, or I shall explode with jealousy.

Oh, and I really don't see the point of trance as it exists nowadays - if you want functional drug music, why not go the whole hog and dance to gabber (which, for the record, I love, non-ironically)?
posted by jack_mo at 5:25 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


More psy from around the world ...

Logic Bomb (from Sweden)

Parasense (from Russia - sadly, no longer around)

Cosmosis (from UK)

Hujaboy (from Israel)

Shift (from South Africa)

Space Tribe (from Australia)

Wizzy Noise (from Greece)

Rinkadink (from South Africa)

GMS and Wrecked Machines (from the Netherlands and from Brazil, respectively)

CPU (from Switzerland)

oCeLoT (from the US)

Man, I could do this all night ... but I better stop there for now.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:36 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


jack_mo writes "Oh, and I really don't see the point of trance as it exists nowadays - if you want functional drug music, why not go the whole hog and dance to gabber (which, for the record, I love, non-ironically)?"

Uh ... well, I just don't like gabber that much (nor happy hardcore, for that matter). But more power to ya ...
posted by krinklyfig at 5:37 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


p3t3 writes "I think hypnotic minimal techno is a lot more trance-inducing. Artists like Surgeon, Mark Broom, Richie Hawtin, Rob Hood, Mika Vainio, Oliver Ho, Steve Rachmad, etc."

I think the early goa through early psy, like '93-'02, you had a lot of artists who tried to work with a more continuous, flowing sound, who intentionally did try to make their music conducive to trance states, but now full-on is the big psy style (a backlash to the popularity of minimal psy in '99-'02), and it's pretty cut up with breakdowns. It's interesting and psychedelic, and there's a lot going on, but it suffers from too much intensity, too much of the time, all songs are around 142-145bpm, as well as loudness wars as far as mastering. There is a gradual shift back to melodic psy with a bit more breathing room, and even some goa (Suntrip is a new goa label, but with a new sound), and there is a strong interest in returning to music that is more conducive to a trace state. It's definitely there.

As far as the quality of the trance-state or what that even means, yeah, psychedelic drugs help, which is sort of the point. I guess you can't really get around that - it is supposed to be psychedelic music. But if you've been there before, you don't necessarily need them. I've gotten into the state of mind, sort of like mild meditative states you can bring on yourself if you practice meditation, or even more intense just by listening and dancing, completely sober. You're not hypnotized or anything, just producing delta waves in your brain. The psy and goa crowd tends to be older, and many of the partygoers are fairly sober. You can get to a trance-like state many different ways, but the assistance of good music makes it pretty fun.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:56 PM on January 17, 2008


jack_mo gabber's not so fun if you're not all amped up, and while i did get amped up on e, it wasn't the "boing around like 5-year-old on caffeine" kind.

37 this year. Didn't hit the scene until about '96 but did get to open for Christopher Lawrence once before he got famous.

Athletics and partying don't work so well together for someone my age, so now I just listen to the music and tell kids to get off my lawn.
posted by dolface at 6:01 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cool post. I favor ambient and drum and bass myself.
posted by wastelands at 6:41 PM on January 17, 2008


Have any of you nattering naybobs of negativism ever tried to actually, oh, I don't know, WRITE any trance music before?

I can tell you right now it's not nearly as easy as you think.
posted by geekhorde at 8:50 AM on January 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'd say it takes at least a year or more of dedicated effort before you're good enough to make anything worth releasing. But once you've got your sample banks and synth patches set up, you can make a track fit for a major release in just a few hours of work. I've seen it done.

I've actually been quite amazed watching some of my friends who produce trance at how simple it is to make such amazingly complex sounds. A really simple analog oscillator, a filter, a delay effect and some reverb and all of a sudden a couple of notes on the midi sequencer sounds massive.
posted by empath at 10:09 AM on January 18, 2008


When I dabbled with it, I spent about 10 hours making a really cheap-sounding, video game-y sounding trance track that I would never have played at a club, because I didn't know what I was doing. I sent it to a friend of mine who makes psy-trance, and he swapped out my drum samples, threw a delay, some filter sweeps and distortion on one of my synths and changed almost nothing else and all of a sudden it was a psy-trance monster that Astral Projection could have made. Literally took him 10 minutes. The problem is that it takes 2 years to learn how to do that.
posted by empath at 10:18 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tubes of toothpaste, etc
posted by dydecker at 11:25 AM on January 18, 2008



Wizzy Noise (from Greece)


omfg.. I remember (well, fuzzily...) seeing Wizzy Noise do a live PA at a party about 6-7 years ago. Blew my fucking mind.

But how could you forget Analog Pussy????
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:33 PM on January 18, 2008


dirtynumbangelboy writes "But how could you forget Analog Pussy????"

Ah, I didn't forget. I could have also included Hydraglyph, Loud, Penta, Fractal Gliders, Shakta, Vishnudata, Nam Shub of Enki, Process, Chromatone, O.O.O.D., Voice of Cod, Mr. Peculiar, Astroschnautzer, The Antidote, and on and on. If I had more time I'd try to search for videos, but you can find sound clips at saikosounds.com or psyshop.com ... As far as buying anything, for psy and goa, Saiko Sounds is reliable and quick in my experience. But a lot of people are already on Beatport, and I imagine that's how most dance and electronic tracks will eventually be distributed.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:41 PM on January 18, 2008


empath writes "When I dabbled with it, I spent about 10 hours making a really cheap-sounding, video game-y sounding trance track that I would never have played at a club, because I didn't know what I was doing. I sent it to a friend of mine who makes psy-trance, and he swapped out my drum samples, threw a delay, some filter sweeps and distortion on one of my synths and changed almost nothing else and all of a sudden it was a psy-trance monster that Astral Projection could have made. Literally took him 10 minutes. The problem is that it takes 2 years to learn how to do that."

Can't believe this thread is still going ...

Yeah, that's a trap a lot of producers fall into, because of the nature of the gear and the instant recall of all your VSTs, and so their tracks start to sound cookie-cutter and predictable after a couple CDs have been released and they are fully into the writing/touring cycle. But music is like that anyway, and inspiration isn't reliable. It's very easy to crank out a typical trance track after you've got all your filters and samples in place and tuned up, but if you do it in 10 minutes, it will sound like it. There's a difference in the sound when someone spends a lot of time getting a track to find its own voice. I know several psy producers who will spend many hours on just the kick for each track, even if they've been producing for a decade. It would be easy to reuse a sample and drop it in, but it will sound a bit careless, compared to finding just the right sound for the kick for that particular track, and making it sit right in the mix at the perfect place. It really does make a difference. I know some producers who insist on an all-hardware setup, mostly because they like the sound better, but also because it forces them to create from scratch more often, as recalling is not as easy as with VSTs and software. The producers who crank out tracks without inspiration or care will not be loved by too many goa or psy trancers, and they'll get slagged on the review boards (which actually makes a difference, for the small number of sales involved).
posted by krinklyfig at 5:54 PM on January 18, 2008


krinklyfig: "jack_mo writes "Oh, and I really don't see the point of trance as it exists nowadays - if you want functional drug music, why not go the whole hog and dance to gabber (which, for the record, I love, non-ironically)?"

Uh ... well, I just don't like gabber that much (nor happy hardcore, for that matter). But more power to ya ...
"

And to you - didn't mean that to be as negative toward trance as it sounded: whatever floats your boat, I say. As someone who has spent a fair amount of time over the years passionately defending music deemed rubbish - Hi NRG, gabber, hardcore - by self-appointed dance music cognoscenti (when I wrote for Jockey Slut, it was the heyday of filter house, all that deep San Francisco stuff, etc. - you can imagine the reaction if I even mentioned gabber!), I have sympathy for trance heads, even if I don't like the music myself.

dolface: "jack_mo gabber's not so fun if you're not all amped up, and while i did get amped up on e, it wasn't the "boing around like 5-year-old on caffeine" kind."

I dunno, I've danced to gabber without chemical enhancements - it can be rather trance-inducing, in fact (or maybe that's an effect of jogging on the spot for hours!).
posted by jack_mo at 4:37 AM on January 19, 2008


dolface: "jack_mo gabber's not so fun if you're not all amped up, and while i did get amped up on e, it wasn't the "boing around like 5-year-old on caffeine" kind."

I always prefer gabber with a big bottle of red wine. Then again, I dated a gabber dj* for years, and just couldn't drop at every single party we went to. It's quite nice to just smoke up and carry a bottle of sake to parties now. I can dance all night that way.

* I met him through another guy who was the only jungle dj in SF at the time, who told me "me and my roommate both play the most hated music in San Francisco!". I've danced in many a closet or basement while the main room was playing house. I still like the most unpopular music in SF, only now it's breakcore and glitchcore and noisy stuff.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:27 AM on January 19, 2008


10-Minute mid-90s techno trance.
posted by meehawl at 10:45 AM on January 21, 2008


« Older In the early twentieth century, photographer Lewis...  |  In Praise Of Melancholy. We ar... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments