Has Goa Trance Gone The way of the Dodo?

Over half the people that view this page will not know what Goa Trance is. In order to preface my writings here, I’ll start with a quote from wikipedia about what Goa trance is:

“The original goal of the music was to assist the dancers in experiencing a collective state of bodily transcendence, similar to that of ancient shamanic dancing rituals, through hypnotic, pulsing melodies and rhythms. As such, it has an energetic beat, often in a standard 4/4 dance rhythm. A typical track will generally build up to a much more energetic movement in the second half then taper off fairly quickly toward the end. The tempo typically lies in the 130–150 BPM range, although some tracks may have a tempo as low as 110 or as high as 160 BPM. Generally 8–12 minutes long, Goa Trance tracks tend to focus on steadily building energy throughout, using changes in percussion patterns and more intricate and layered synth parts as the music progresses in order to build a hypnotic and intense feel.”

Here’s how it began.

In the late 80’s and early 90’s people in the underground were jammin’ to Acid house and trance. there was an after-wave of hippies who all eventually ended up in Goa, India. Goa is a resort area – white sandy beaches, lounges, good music, good people. beach parties were not uncommon, and soon DJ’s were ending up there as well. No one had any vinyl, though, or record players, so people dubbed samples and created a new form of Acid trance. The DJ’s would switch tapes between song because they didn’t have the equipment for a real live set, and people eventually ended up naming this new style ‘Goa Trance”.

This became a popular underground genre of trance music, especially among the aging hippy crowd and new-age fans. Mystics, shamanism, spirituality, these are all common themes as well as space travel, aliens, and anything ‘trippy’. Soon began the rise of Goa Trance. Its peak was around 1996. Artists such as Man With No Name, Green Nuns of the Revolution, Etnica, Astral Projection, and Out of Our Depth (OOOD) rose to the top of this genre, creating masterpieces of energy and pulsating rythmic beats and patterns. The music focused not on bass or beat, but more on melody and its acidic trippy factor. It was structured just like any other trance genre, with build-ups and break-downs.

Here is a sample of one of my all-time favorite tracks, Man With No Name’s “Teleport”:

Now, here is the problem I have. There is a Neo-Goa movement on the rise within the psychedelic trance community (which absorbed the Classic Goa trance sound and eventually became its own Monster). Now, ordinarily I welcome artistic improvement upon old classics, and find it refreshing. I still love the old-school, though, and usually can equally enjoy both lines of thinking. But this Neo-Goa movement doesn’t make music that sounds like Goa. Its all repetitive, just acid sounds with a strong beat, relying heavily on bass now, driven by no melody over the top. Here is an example of one of today’s artists, Trinodia’s “Nashira”:

Do you notice the difference? No exciting build-ups and break-downs, no melody over the top of the acid lines, more bass and focus on beat, and very repetitive. Goa Trance used to be EXCITING, and you couldn’t wait for ‘that one part’ of the track. Now, it all sounds the same.

A favorite of the old-school:

Astral Projection – ‘Kabalah’

And now, Crossing Mind’s ‘Hydophobic visions’:

An obvious difference. Not bad just DIFFERENT. I can’t call this Goa. Neo-goa is a term people are using and it almost fits the bill, except ‘neo’ sounds like a resurrection term to me, not a completely different sound. Build upon, don’t strip away.

No offense to any of these new brilliant artists. I still listen to your music and appreciate your sounds. I just don’t think it sounds like the old Goa, and I miss the old Goa.

Oh well. there will always be the classics to jam out to.


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