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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TOP 10 PSYCHILL AND PSYTRANCE ALBUMS OF 2014!!!!!!

Wow! What a difficulty it was this year coming up with the top 10. Not for
the same reason as last year, where there were SO MANY good contenders
that I couldn’t decide… in fact, for the very opposite reason. 2014 was not
really the best year in psytrance or psychill, I am sad to say. Despite this,
there managed to be 10 (and a couple more) great ones that I have picked
to be on the top 10 this year. One more thing. WordPress is giving me hell here so I apologize if the layout is a little crazy and nonadhesive.

TOP 10 PSYRANCE OF 2014:

# 10 – Ovnimoon & Rigel – Omnipresent Technology – Ovnimoon (progressive)
(bio from last.fm with editing for grammar): Hector Stuardos, known as
Ovnimoon, is one of the frontrunners to precursors of Psy- and Progressive
Trance in Chile. Playing for more than 9 years Ovnimoon spun records on
most of the big events in his country, like Loveparade, Earthdance and
countless gigs nationwide. As producer Ovnimoon provides a wide range of
styles from Chillout to Psytrance and has released already on labels like
Spliff Music, Geomagnetic TV, YSE, Groove Control and even on Warner
Rec. (bio from last.fm): In his early teen years Rigel experimented with
electronic kits, constructing flip-flop circuits, lfos, etc. Once he got his
hands on fast tracker and his first soundcard, the avid juggler Rigel quickly
moved to juggling audio in the computer. Together, Ovnimoon and Rigel
collaborate on an amazing melodic but pulsating progressive album with an
overt nod to classic goa trance. It is very gripping and an exciting, fresh
sound, sure to please.

Ovnimoon and Rigel

#9 -Burn In Noise – Beyond Known Space – alchemy – (psytrance)

(bio from last.fm): Burn in Noise (Gustavo Manfroni Amaral de Souza) was
born in Brazil. He was brought up dedicating his time and interest
completely to music. He’s been playing the guitar since his early days. He
played in 2 rock bands, up to the day when, during a trip to London, got in
touch with the psychedelic trance music. The interest in electronic music
grew fast and, in the end of 1999, started buying softwares for producing
music. This album, Beyond Known Space, really shows off some heavy
pounding progressive with highly evolved goa aspects that leave the listener
tripping through time. Put this album on, lay back, close your eyes, and
float away.

burn in noise

#8 – Hypnoise – Dimensional Shifting – antu (psytrance)

Hypnoise is a psytrance project formed by Juan Fontoira and Jaime Camara.

(bio from Maharetta Records): Based in Spain ,they join forces to create a new hypnotic nature sound marked by thick bass lines and psychedelic synths to make a groovy atmosphere that makes dancefloors burn.

Dimensional shifting has a very progressive melodic sound with some goa
elements that really balance along the fine line between the goa sound and
the progressive sound that is currently popular these days. It does an
excellent job however, and really takes the listener on an expansive
journey.

hypnoise

# 7 – Moonweed – Voice of Jupiter – anjuna – (goa)
(bio from Anjuna Records): MoonWeed started making music back in 1991
after discovering the London Acid House party scene in 1988.
Loving the squelchy acid sound he soon discovered where that noise came
from and sourced a TB-303 and some other essential analogue gear. Voice
of Jupiter features 10 classic goa trance tracks that really bring the tried
and true sound back to the forefront. This is true goa trance. It sounds as
though it was picked up right from where 1996 left off. It has that really
intense acid sound that is highly regarded amongst us fans of the old-
school.

 

moonweed

 

# 6 – Ephedra – Journey Through My Head – goa madness (goa)

Ephedra is Goa trance producer Alexandre Cohen from Belgium. (bio from
Suntrip Records): Alex musical trip started around 15 years ago when he
discovered electronic music.
He began slowly to buy dj equipment and started to play progressive trance
for his own pleasure.
After some years training with the decks he got intrested in many others
electronic styles like techno, house, electro and began to play in small
student parties.
After some time he discovered Goa trance / psytrance while he was at a
festival in Belgium. He was so impressed that he directly felt in love with
that music.
Some times later he began to play in small oldskool goa parties and started
to produce his own music. Journey Through My Head brings the classic old-
school goa vibe, rather than the new neo-goa style that is popping up in
droves. This album is highly psychedelic, with melodic twists and turns that
leave you entranced.

 

 

 

ephedra

 

#5 – Ascent – Nature Creations – Ovnimoon (progressive)
Bojan Stojiljkovic, from Serbia, a super friendly and kind fellow, who came
from a family with musical roots. He dabbled in rock bands, and then
became a DJ spinning psytrance. He began producing progressive psytrance
and psychill music in 2010. He has released several albums and EP’s as well
as collaborations with other artists. This album does not display as much pounding forceful beats as his previous album from 2013, but is still very pulsating and with rythmic melodies to keep you engrossed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wa0wOs7ET5U                              ascent
#4  – Electric Universe- 20 (goa to neo-goa& fullon) – dacru

Electric Universe is Boris Blenn, goa & psychedelic trance producer from
Germany. The album “20” includes 20 tracks, spanning from 20 years of goa
music starting from 1994 and finally culminating in some psychedelic full-on.
The album flows liquidly into the styles, showing the slow development over
time into the modern shape of the psychedelic full-on genre.

Electric universe

 

 

#3 -Cold Project – Noctilucent -Occulta records (dark prog)

(bio from last.fm): Cold project is Ian Jukes AKA G.E.M_37 (1978) and Ivan
Steyn AKA Sense (1978). Both hail from completely different musical
backgrounds, but both have a common interest in dark electronic dance
music produced in early 2000’s from the likes of Son Kite, Tegma and Ticon
and many more of the forest trance Scandinavian producers. Cold Project
came to be in late 2005, with a will to create something dark and different
within the local South African scene, and a goal to create music which
bridges the ever growing gap between progressive and full on trance. With
Noctilucent they really bring the dark progressive genre to a mechanical and
mind bending deep atmosphere.

Cold project

 

#2 – Psysex – Mind Penetration – Hadra (progressive)

Psysex is an Israeli psychedelic trance project.
Formed by Udi Sternberg (a.k.a Dj Goblin) and Yoni Oshrat. Two close
friends started working together in 1998 under the name Children of the
Doc, a few months later Psysex was created. In 2006, Yoni left the project
and started to write his own music under the names Ace Ventura and
Schatsi. Udi is still making music by the name Psysex. The album Mind
Penetration is slightly zenonesque progressive, with highly addictive
psychedelic undertones that envelopes the listener in a world of enjoyment.

psysex

 

 

#1 – Pulsar and Thaihanu – Uplifting Minds – goarecords (progressive) 2013*
Though this album was actually released in December of 2013, I didn’t get
my hands on a copy until January, so I am counting this as 2014, because
lets face it, most people listen to December’s music in the next year to
come. For this reason I had to include it. Aside from that, this was an album
I simply could not ‘put down’ so to speak. Pulsating beats, rhythmic and stylish. I do not usually like samples or talking in my music (which, unfortunately, is common in psychedelic electronic music), however the samples were so very well executed and worked into the tracks that they actually accented them instead of took away from them. This album showcased a very different vibe and ingenuity that you don’t normally see in the progressive scene these days. Very awesome album. As a result, It is #1 and I am pleased to present it to you.

pulsar and thaihanu

There were a few more exceptional albums that didn’t quite make the cut but were very impressive and I urge you to check them out as well:

Liquid Sound & Pulsar – Liquid Pulses – power house –
(psytrance)

Labyr1nth – Nirvana Network – ovnimoon (progressive)

That Does it for the psytrance of the year (and one from late 2013 that I included as my #1)

 

TOP 10 PSYCHILL ALBUMS OF 2014

# 10 -Androcell – Imbue – altar (psydub)

Androcell is Tyler Smith who releases his 4th album here on Altar records.
This centers on some dubby deep sounds, at times very psychedelic and
funky. Tyler likes to fully enrich and embody his music with a hint of mysticism, and it really is an impressive work of art.

androcell

# 9 – Psyrius – Sorry Pluto – uxmal (psychill)

Psyrius is a psychill producer born in 1988. His album Sorry Pluto climbed up
the Beatport charts this year, and its no wonder why. Slightly space ambient
building up to some mellow psychill with psychedelic twists really got heads
turning this year. This album is space ambient and then also mellow psychill with a slight
psychedelic twist in some songs.

psyrius

# 8 -Sattyananda – Mind Expansion

(bio from last.fm): SATTYANANDA a.k.a Nikhel Kumar Mahajan, born in
1979… was expressing his inner experiences through abstract art forms. At
the age of 16 Nikhel was introduced to the world of computers where he
found his thoughts and ideas coming to life. Nikhel is a student of graphic
design and a qualified Sound Engineer. This album is pretty upbeat and has
some very psychedelic and chunky ahrd-pounding beats, with bass to match.

sattyananda

 

# 7 – Asura – Radio Universe – ultimae (psybient/ambient)

This album seemed to take a long time in the making. I remember hearing about it in early 2013 and it wasn’t released until the 4th quarter of 2014. We were all beginning to wonder what Charles Farwell was up to. Well… he was up to making a very ambitious album – a departure, too, from his last few albums which centered on the 4/4 psychill-progressive (or deep trance as some call it). This instead starts out as space ambient with minimal IDM-style beats, and slowly wanders into a more textured territory, giving a large nod to a sort-of Solar Fields style of sound. This album is pretty flawless, and inspired.

asura

 

# 6 – Sundial Aeon – Analysis – impact (psychill)

(bio from last.fm): In 2005 Sundial was formed in Poland by the creative
ideas of Aural Planet artists Radoslaw Kochman (Raiden), Daniel Lulkowski
(hoyden space) and two other musicians, Jaroslaw Jacek (GiKu) and Patryk
Gegniewicz (revisq) from the electronic act Itoa. In the autumn of 2006
Vladislav Isaev (Scann-Tec) joined Sundial as a full time musician and band
DJ. Sundial Aeon music is already used in many projects like games,
multimedia presentations, websites, tv and radio jingles.

sundial aeon

 

 

# 5 – Psyfactor – Retroscientific – sentimony (psychill)

Psyfactor is Dmitri Korablin from Moscow, Russia. I chose this album to be
in the top 10 because it was very psychedelic and a very easy listen. That being said, I did have to give this album a few listens in order to cement its place in the top 5 of the best of the best this year. It might in some places sound like your typical relaxing psychill, but it doesn’t depart from the PSY aspect of the chill, in any way. Prepare to be surprised at the little twists and hints (zest?) in these tracks.

psyfactor

 

# 4 –  Cosmic Replicant – Mission Infinity – altar (psychill)

Paul Shirshin aka Cosmic Replicant returns with his 3rd release on Altar
Records. Another album was released in 2014, but I found this album to be
the strongest work that really pulled me in. Very chill, almost ambient at
times, but with really gripping melodies.

cosmic replicant

 

 

 

# 3 – Unusual Cosmic Process – Aquatic – uxmal (psychill)

(bio from last.fm): Runar Кristinsson began to produce his music in 2006. In
2000 year he started to work as a DJ in Night Club “JOS” in Mykolaiv city
under a nickname Armando Valencia. But soon he realized that composing
music brings him more pleasure that just being a DJ. He started doing this
in 2006. Aquatic is an album that really reaches for the outskirts of
psychedelic ethereal mystery, with its unique sounds that pull the listener
in. I found all of the tracks on this album to be strong, which is why it ended
up at #4#.

 

unusual cosmic process

# 2 – E-Mantra – Echoes From The Void – altar (psychill/goa)

(bio from last.fm): E-Mantra is a project started in 2000 by Emanuel from
Constanta, the city-port of The Black Sea, Romania.
He started during the highschool to play with PC music software. He was
influenced by acid, techno,trance but his representative style is goa-trance
,psybient, downtempo. After several releases on Altar records with both goa
and psychill styles, E-mantra within the past few months has released a
sort-of hybrid album, with both goa and psychill. I included it in the psychill
section because the amount of those types of tracks outweigh the amount
of goa. Goa heavily influences even the psychedelic chillout tracks though,
which make for an excellent trip out of your mind. Some of my favorite
tracks on this album are the ones that have heavy almost hip-hop chunky
beats. It manages to still keep its chill vibe but really make your head bob
as you listen.

e-mantra

 

# 1 – Astronaut Ape – Flight 420 – Microcosmos (deep trance/psychill)

Astronaut Ape is Oleg Belousoff from Russia. He began producing club music
in 2005 and later discovered the blissful art of psychill and ambient music.
He perfected his craft with the album ‘The Mirror’, from 2012. In 2013 he fostered the amazing (and probably my #1 favorite album of ALL TIME EVER) Ten Minutes Eternity, which was also #1 on my chart that year. I didn’t think an artist could do that again… go #1 twice. But Oleg is a master! This deeply entrancing and involving piece of work features a slightly more trancy sound all the while incorporating the chill aspect very nicely. With its flying/airplane theme, it all flows together quite nicely. This is definitely an album to be reckoned with, and as such, it is no doubt it landed as the top album in psychill of the year. Congratulations to Oleg!!

astronaut ape

 

That’s it for the top 10 Psytrance and Psychill of 2014. It really was a heck of a time trying to come up with enough albums to make it, but eventually I found them, and I think they are truly represented in the best placement on the list. I urge you to watch/listen to the Youtube videos I provided, and if you like what you hear and would like to purchase these albums, I have provided some links below to help get you started. These artists worked very hard.

http://psyshop.com

http://beatport.com

http://bandcamp.com

 

Thank you to all the artists for putting out some excellent work, and thank you to the listeners and readers! I do expect some feedback, please leave comments!

 

 

 

Remix

I decided to ‘put myself out there’ and do a remix for a contest.

http://www.bpmremixed.com/

Tell me what you think.

 

That was mine. Here is the original: