Psytrance music is a subgenre of trance music, which is music that is characterised by a tempo that falls between 125 and 150 BPM along with repeated melodic phrases. Both trance and psytrance are electronic music genres. Psytrance is said to be a subgenre of Trance because it is basically a form of Trance which is unique based on its emphasis on the use of melodies which tend to repeat themselves in a psychedelic manner. Put simply, psychedelic trance is a form of trance music that is right at the hardcore end of Trance music.
It is characterised by multiple synthetic arrangements coupled with melodies that have been layered and pieced together using riffs at high tempos.
Its sound is far more energetic than what other forms of trance have to offer, technically ranging between 135 and 150 BPM. Psytrance musical festivals also feature a cluster of psychedelic lights aimed at enhancing the décor of the stages.
Psytrance: Early Days
It is generally accepted that psychedelic trance was introduced during the early 90s. Trance music has been around for many years even though its subgenres only emerged several years later. Psytrance is understood to have developed out of Goa Trance, which is another subgenre of Trance music. This was after the Goa trance DJs developed various ways of mixing Goa trance tracks to come up with pieces that are unique in tempo, mood and style. Unlike Goa Trance, psychedelic trance is high tempo trance which is distinctive for its hardcore nature.
As early as the 1970s, some Goa trance bands had already started playing music which was characteristic of psychedelic trance. Rock bands such as The Doors, Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead had already started coming up with tracks which resembled psychedelic trance. But the genre had not officially been recognised.
By 1983, Goa trance DJs Fred Disko and Laurent began transforming the sound into psytrance through the mixing of Goa trance and some electro-industrial music pieces.
It is thus safe to say that Goa trance evolved into psytrance following the coming of digital media technologies. This also led to the springing up of other trance genres.
Since the psychedelic kind of trance music developed from Goa trance, the genre was developing under the shadow of Goa trance until the late 90s especially between 1995 and 1998. The terms Goa trance and psytrance were often used interchangeably. During this period, this kind of music enjoyed global attention and made a meaningful impact on communities around the world especially Western Europe, Israel, Australia, Japan, North America and South Africa among others. Many artists had also developed a keen interest in playing this kind of music and contributing to its development.
In 1993, the first Goa trance album was released and the Project 2 Trance album was both psytrance and Goa trance.
The Diversity Of Psychedelic Trance
When psytrance first hit the music scene, it was considered as a single unique genre and was thus easy to recognise. But, the genre evolved greatly over the years as more digital media technology equipment were developed. Today, many varieties of the genre are in existence. As a matter of fact, it offers more diversity in as far as mood, style and tempo are concerned compared to other subgenres of trance music. Major examples of the genre are progressive, Darkpsy and Full-On. Others worth mentioning are psycore, Suomi, psychill, psybreaks, Hi-Tech and Psybient, which are also among the most popular forms of the genre.