May 23, 2012 7:30 PM   Subscribe

Ektoplazm is now the world’s largest distributor of free (and legal) psytrance music specializing in high-quality Creative Commons-licensed content from netlabels and independent artists, all released in MP3 and lossless CD-quality FLAC and WAV formats.
posted by Trurl (46 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
For someone unfamiliar with the genre, what's a good starting point?
posted by Runes at 7:48 PM on May 23, 2012

posted by phrontist at 7:49 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

Once you've been Infected you're infected for a long time!

*still remembers with a great deal of fondness the 500 person capacity show they played at the Reverb/Big Bop in Toronto for their BP Empires tour when only we gravers really knew about them before they started playing at The Guv to the more dance mainstream crowd*
posted by Randwulf at 7:58 PM on May 23, 2012

Ah, okay. Infected Mushroom. That's a name I know. They did one of the more amazing remix albums I've ever found online. Here's a quick sample, Riders On The Storm. Of course, it was a completely illegal project, with no permissions or anything granted. Shame it's *wink wink* completely unavailable anywhere online.

Is that project typical of this genre? Because if it is, it's a form of this sort of music I really enjoy.
posted by hippybear at 7:58 PM on May 23, 2012

This is awesome. I haven't really listened to any of the various sorts of trance in years, but there is some awesome stuff on here. Thanks for sharing!
posted by asnider at 8:05 PM on May 23, 2012

Someone explain in technical terms, not by ambiguous feelings or artist examples, the differences between:

Full On
posted by melt away at 8:13 PM on May 23, 2012

melt away: the wikipedia page linked in the FPP explains quite a few of those terms.
posted by hippybear at 8:17 PM on May 23, 2012

For someone unfamiliar with the genre, what's a good starting point?

There's a mix of some older stuff here on the site.

The U.K. 'Dragonfly' label was influential back in the 90s. They had some compilation albums called 'Order Odonata.' A bit manic at times, but very good.

There's lots of different sub-genres, so there's probably a load of possible starting points.
posted by carter at 8:20 PM on May 23, 2012

Great site, btw, Trurl.
posted by carter at 8:23 PM on May 23, 2012

I'm usually annoyed by electronic music's plethora of bifurcating sub-genres, but in this case these are useful, because I know there's a certain type of trance I really like, and I'm on a constant search to try and find it. This site is helping me get a bit closer.

About 15 years ago, I had a compilation on a cassette tape I nicked off my sister, who was given it by a friend of a friend. I lost the tape. I know one of the songs on there - Dreams by Quench - but the rest was very sparse, melodic, downtempo stuff that I've rarely been able to find anything like. No ecstatic snare rolls. No driving acid synths. Just subtle repeating melodies with some spooky vocal samples. Some stuff I've found on this site is almost there.
posted by Jimbob at 8:32 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

At first I thought this was about those music tracks that supposedly cause hallucinogenic effects.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:35 PM on May 23, 2012

For someone unfamiliar with the genre, what's a good starting point?

I like Infected Mushroom too, but I can't believe nobody said
Shpongle!! or Simon Posford in general (Hallucinogen, Younger Brother, Celtic Cross) -- I also recommend Man with No Name.

Also, for endless streams, Digitally Imported has a Goa-Psy channel.

Thanks for the post; I look forward to digging into it!
posted by hypersloth at 9:26 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

oops, also meant to say: with Shpongle, it's worth getting the entire album. Each one is a great journey, and to me, each new album is better than the last, which I usually don't find to be true with most artists.
posted by hypersloth at 9:30 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Shpongle, too? Interesting. He was introduced to me as a furry artist, but I liked his music and am not overly fond of furries, so I've kind of kept my distance from him. Maybe I'll have to dig into the CDs I was given a bit more.
posted by hippybear at 9:32 PM on May 23, 2012

Also check out Astral Projection.
posted by MillMan at 9:39 PM on May 23, 2012

Love Ektoplazm and of course PSY :) oh the beats!
posted by Prudentia at 9:50 PM on May 23, 2012

Ha, I had no idea about the furry thing. I didn't even know it was a thing (furry artist that is, I've heard of a furry thing). Now I have to look into it.. wish me luck.
Also, oh yeah, Astral Projection!
posted by hypersloth at 9:53 PM on May 23, 2012

I... don't think Simon Posford is a furry. Well, he might personally be, but he's not known for it, and he was always pretty solidly part of psy-trance "scene", as it were. Hallucinogen goes way back.

Maybe a lot of furries like Shpongle?
posted by flaterik at 9:56 PM on May 23, 2012

I have such a love hate thing going for Infected Mushroom. Like, they're clearly talented, and they really do some amazing stuff. But watching them live, with the cock-rock guitar shit kinda turns me off. That said, it's not like I've ever BEEN to a show of theirs and so I'll just tune in with the headphones and not look at the visuals.

Of course, anything by Shpongle is amazingly awesome. (I saw a video once of Simon working on some tracks and all the little details he did for sound, it was great to watch).

I'm really fond of X-Dream, and I really love The First...

Now I can't wait to check out what's all available at the links! :)
posted by symbioid at 9:59 PM on May 23, 2012

Thanks for the link. Psychedelic trance floats my boat more consistently than just about anything else, and I've got the headphones on for several hours a day, so I'm delighted to hear about a new source.

hippybear: I have no idea what a furry artist is, and I don't really want to find out, but Simon Posford is a musical god and everything he touches turns to awesomeness. It's always deep and interesting and playful, and there's enough going on for many listens.

runes: while old-school Infected Mushroom is very good psytrance - they are in fact the group that first drew my attention away from the industrial scene - as a group they are more interested in following their musical muses than in fitting to a genre. Which is to say that the last couple of albums, while interesting, and well made, are spiralling off into a unique not-really-psytrance universe that seems to be inhabited by nobody but Infected Mushroom themselves.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:59 PM on May 23, 2012

I didn't even know it was a thing (furry artist that is, I've heard of a furry thing).

Yeah, if there's one thing the furry community is fierce about, it's their creative output. There are some fantastic musicians in the furry community; I was exposed to a lot of them when I was trying to be friends with a furry a while back. (Hard to be friends with someone who regards you as not part of his group -- kind of like conservative christians in that regard, furries are.)

Anyway, yeah. Sub Level 03 is probably the best of the strictly "we only play furcons" sort of band I've heard. I quite like their music, but know I'll likely never see them live. I know Shpongle isn't really that narrow, so he's earning a pass in my book and I'm investigating him further thanks to this post.
posted by hippybear at 10:10 PM on May 23, 2012

hypersloth: "Also, for endless streams, Digitally Imported has a Goa-Psy channel"

Cool, but no way to get more than 96kpbs MP3? That's... a little painful.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:21 PM on May 23, 2012

Wait, what? Trurl posting about psytrance? People reminiscing about Hallucinogen and (older) Infected Mushroom? I've died and gone back to high school!

My favorite pys mix is DJ Ellis Dee's "Acidfest" mix, which he posted on his site, with other mixes, for free, but they're 128 kbps MP3 encodings. This was one of the two cassettes I wore out while driving around my Buick Lesabre in high school. The other was Bjorks' "Post" album.

The new Infected Mushroom is kind of psy, but a lot of wub-wub dubstep. Not as bad as that cock rock guitar they used before, but not my favorite. But Hallucinogen ... oh, so good! In fact, I think it's the Hallucinogen remix of Zodiac Youth's "Fast Forward the Future" that opens "Acidfest," a proper mid-90s Dragonfly tune.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:35 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Joakim Ziegler, you have to pay for a premium account to get higher quality DI now-a-days. They used to have more selections for free, but their hosting got to cost them a LOT of money.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:37 PM on May 23, 2012

For people that would like more sets from psy-trance and people-that-usually-like-psy-trance DJs, the moontribe archive is not a bad place to look. There are some great sets there. I particularly like brad (though he's much more on the techno side than the psy trance), and treavor is a bit of a legend.
posted by flaterik at 11:23 PM on May 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

flaterik, your username alone earns you street cred in my book. Thanks for the additional archive link.
posted by hypersloth at 12:11 AM on May 24, 2012

I actually am kind of surprised that I recognize all the artists recommended here; when I was still into psy I got Lone Deranger on vinyl (item: I'm a house head, but there is great quality music happening in all genres; it's just about what energy moves you. I can think there is well produced psy that I don't want to listen to). I'm expecting to be hearing about a lot of producers/labels I didn't already know about just about.... now, heads.

I will say that, in the hunt for electronic music, knowing good labels is as useful as knowing good producers. Look at the label someone you like is on, and then go find more releases on that label.

(do that, build a library, learn how to beatmatch and phrase, and how to connect the energy in the room to a track you have, and you're a dj!)
posted by flaterik at 12:25 AM on May 24, 2012

(plus also please understand gain structure and appropriate situational volume.)
posted by flaterik at 12:29 AM on May 24, 2012

I'm really fond of X-Dream, and I really love The First ...

I'm sure Jan's wife is a very nice lady, but plastering her processed vocals all over every track on We Interface made the album unlistenable for me. I love me a good sample, but that doesn't mean I want to listen to pages of ingenuous word salad about how interesting computers are even if it's going through a vocoder. I still can't understand it, given their historical tendency towards fairly sparse minimalism.

Oh well. On the upside, everything else they've ever made is awesome, and you should check out their many side projects and collaborations as The Delta, Fools and Tools, Children of Paradise, Organic Noise, and Extrawelt. Jan's taste's veer towards the clinical and highly polished, Marcus's towards more dirty bass, and this is noticeable on their collaborations outside X-dream.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:38 AM on May 24, 2012

I still found Wikipedia inadequate in defining these sub-genres. Sometimes it falls back on BPM explanations but that doesn't always seem to define where a track might fit. Oh well.
posted by melt away at 4:27 AM on May 24, 2012

Thanks for the thread metafilter :) I love listening and dancing to psy-trance so I'm bookmarking this for a later listen.
posted by invisible_al at 6:21 AM on May 24, 2012

Juno Reactor was one of the first artists in this style and they're still one of the best.
posted by pashdown at 6:24 AM on May 24, 2012

Definitely seconding Juno Reactor. I got into them about the same time as Hallucinogen, and still find them in my rotation... and now I see I completely missed their 2011 release - woot, new Juno Reactor!
posted by hypersloth at 7:20 AM on May 24, 2012

Someone explain in technical terms, not by ambiguous feelings or artist examples, the differences between:

Full On

Mostly it's singing in the shower and humming around the house. Sometimes I whistle. Thanks for asking.
posted by DarkForest at 9:59 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been perusing Ektoplasm for a few years. Some of my favorites:

Cybernetika's Atropos is fantastic and is absolutely the best music I've found to listen to when I go running.

Perfect Blind's stuff is also great. Epic downtempo.

Afgin has some unabashedly fun, cheesy uplifting trance.

Up The Duff (cover mildly NSFW) is a nice collection of more glitchy (but very listenable) stuff.

No Breaks by FunCake is quite good also.
posted by ropeladder at 10:26 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

I heard Goa Gil at the How Weird festival in San Francisco about 5 or 6 years ago and fell in love instantly. And there's a great psytrance group called Tantra (if I recall correctly) that plays at a number of Bay Area festivals. That stuff just takes me away instantly -- pure bliss, exhilaration . . . I lose total track of time and how tired my feet are becoming.

The problem is, it's so hard to find this stuff live, and the pre-recorded stuff has just left me cold. It doesn't sell tickets at clubs (that I know of) and pretty much anyone who isn't instantly turned-on by it absolutely hates it and the dirty hippies they associate with it.

I'm hoping I can find some tracks here that have that same magic as it does live (though it seems like a difficult thing to reproduce -- that certain quality of bass seems like it would be nearly impossible to produce on standard consumer home equipment/headphones). Because it's been way too long since I had my last fix . . .

Thanks for the post!
posted by treepour at 10:31 AM on May 24, 2012

re: x-dream sampling his wife on "The First" -- I didn't know that. I'm not hugely into any specific artist, just a few of the goa/psy comps I've gotten and what I sometimes hear on Last.FM. The reason I like "the first" is the concept there of the whole "the first shall be last" but in a way that "We are the first of the next stage, but we are also the last of the old stage" and I never interpreted that statement to mean it in that way, so it was an interesting twist.

I just love it when the shit tweaks up really high pitch. It almost gives me that MDMA rush when I can just feel it piercing into my brain. (Ok, not really "almost", not even close, lol)...
posted by symbioid at 11:19 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cybernetika's Atropos is fantastic and is absolutely the best music I've found to listen to when I go running.

Thank you for this recommendation. I'm enjoying it. There's an emotional quality that I haven't encountered in this genre before.
posted by Trurl at 2:10 PM on May 24, 2012

I remember psytrance/goa trance. It was good coding music back in the 1990s. Also good for losing your driving licence for doing 140km/h down an empty motorway at midnight.
posted by acb at 2:15 PM on May 24, 2012

It was good coding music back in the 1990s

It's good coding music right this very minute in 2012... Divbyzero is my current stream source.
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:22 PM on May 24, 2012

it's really neat to see a lot of the old folks from 604 and SCR come out of the woodwork on this thread...

1. agreed that jan's wife shouldn't have been allowed to sing that nonsense technobabble on "we interface". it ruined that ep for me. i'm glad they branched out and started doing actual quality work on Extrawelt instead.

2. for the oldschoolers looking for something from the new psy kids, check out kindzadza, psykovsky, and battery leak. most of the stuff is too trauma-inducing for me, but those are three that keep it interesting. especially psykovsky.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 12:34 PM on May 27, 2012

btw anigbrowl is right, every side project by the x-dream guys is worth checking out. the delta, "send in send back" is truly my favorite album of all time. that's not to say it will be for others, it has special meaning to me of noises echoing across the mojave, but it should still pack a sci-fi punch for the new listener.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 12:37 PM on May 27, 2012

604 FTW! Thanks for the up to date recommendations. I went off the contemporary stuff for a while after Infected Mushroom blew up and underground scene switched to artists like xenomorph, whose music I didn't find fun.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:45 PM on May 27, 2012

Full On

I can explain, a couple of those. Full-on is more commercial, club-oriented psytrance like astral projection. It can be very close to epic trance, and there was a lot of crossover between the genres. Goa is an island off the coast of India, and it was where psytrance started in the early 90s, so Goa trance is the more traditional style like The Man With No Name.

Progressive is psytrance that's a bit slower and generally less trippy and meant to mix with techno and house.

Dark just means its more on the industrial side of things, more evil sounding.
posted by empath at 5:33 PM on May 27, 2012

Also, Shpongle is touring the us right now, and it's a great show, highly recommend it.
posted by empath at 5:34 PM on May 27, 2012

I just got back from lightning in a bottle, and checked out part of shpongle's show, but something was borked with the sound and it made me wander off to another stage. Too bad, I was looking forward to that blast from the past...
posted by flaterik at 5:11 PM on May 28, 2012

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