Psytrance, also known as psychedelic trance, is a style of electronic music that emerged in the mid-1990s as a distinct movement from Goa trance and reached its peak popularity between 1997 and 1999.

Origins and Characteristics of the Psytrance Music Style

The term “trance” first became widely known to the public in the summer of 1992. The genre was first described as a type of melodic electronic music that, unlike techno, did not beat the listener over the head with drum machines, but instead drew attention to itself.

The rhythm became noticeably lighter and the atmosphere generally more airy. Trance is like looking out of a window into blue, distant places, while the thick sound of techno can be compared to barbed wire that crushes with its massiveness. The genre of trance music has spread as an innovative form of pop music.

It was in 1993 and 1994 that the public began to become aware of techno music. Trance was at the height of its popularity. In a way, everyone who was intimately involved in the esid-boom of the late 80s ended up in the trance camp. This is very typical. Trance is nothing more than New Age music played at a slightly faster tempo.

The Manipulation of Sound

To create psychedelic qualities, sounds are manipulated in a variety of ways, much more so than in other types of electronic dance music.

They go through processes such as distortion, filtering, harmonic filtering, chaotic harmonic shifts, echo generation, reflection, various delay effects, and so on.

This list could go on for a very long time, especially considering how many specialized computer programs have been developed recently.

Typical Sounds of the Psychedelic Scene

TR 909 – Percussion Drum

Percussion is at the heart of this type of electronic dance music, as well as many others. In psychedelic trance, it has a significant influence. Most of the sounds used in this context are created on a Roland TR 909 drum machine.

The vast majority of trance artists use samples generated by the TR 909 or other vintage drum machines in their work, as these machines are quite difficult to obtain at this time.

TB 303 – King of Acid Sounds

The Roland TB 303 synthesizer has been used extensively in house and other subgenres of dance music over the years.

He was instrumental in the development of the signal noises, sirens, squelches, and screeches that are characteristic of psychedelic trance today.

Similar Genres

PsyChill This sub-genre sometimes known as Psybient. That’s a type of trance that appeals to those who like slower dance beats. Although the tune does not often average over 100 beats per minute, it still relies on a psychedelic trip effect that is subtle and ambient.

Shpongle, Solar Fields, and Carbon Based Lifeforms are three of the most notable projects that are well worth your time.

Goa-Trance This is a time-honored genre. The history of the psychedelic scene as a whole began with the development of this subgenre. The tempo averages between 135 and 140 beats per minute (BPM). The quality of a Goa Trance track has the ability to evoke the sensation of moving through a winding passageway.

I would not advise you to start your introduction to the psychedelic scene by listening to goa trance, because the sound of early goa trance is quite experimental and very meditative.

I would recommend starting with the album Trust in Trance by the cult Israeli group Astral Projection, who are the true masters of sound immersion.

Progressive Psytrance The efforts of artists from Serbia, Macedonia, and Israel in the late noughties gave birth to this subgenre. Described as an attempt to return to the genre’s origins while using innovative techniques to create electronic sounds.

This music is characterized by its complex and atmospheric sound, as well as by the clever integration of the most successful musical developments of the last decades into its compositions.

Dark Psytrance It’s a subgenre of psychedelic trance that emerged in Russia in the late 1990s and dramatically departs from the genre’s established musical canons.

Instead of focusing on concepts such as enlightenment and expansion of consciousness, the dark side of psytrance focused on unpleasant trips, nightmares, and mental illness.

This subgenre was also musically inspired by black metal and dark electro, among other similar musical styles. The style was first pioneered by a number of Russian groups, including Fungus Funk, Transdriver, KinDzaDza, and Psykovsky.

South America and the nations that were part of the former Yugoslavia are particularly big fans of the dark psytrance genre.