Psychedelic trance

From Academic Kids


Psychedelic trance (often referred to as psy trance) is a form of trance music (a style of electronic music), developed in the early 1990s. Trance has a fast beat, in the range 125 to 150 beats per minute (bpm), compared to ambient music and other forms like house and techno. It has a strong bass sound that beats continuously without change and is overlaid by many other rhythms, often made with the famous Roland TB-303.

This type of trance is popular in the UK, but is a truly global phenomenon. Interestingly there is an underrepresentation of American artists. However, Israeli artists are well represented.

Despite the popularity of this genre, it is not as well known outside the scene as Dutch or UK trance.


Psychedelic trance vs Goa trance

Psychedelic trance as a term is used very ambigiously and almost synomously with the name Goa trance. There is no clear distinction or definition for these two terms. Some for example, began to use the term psychedelic trance to distinguish the newer material made by artists which were formerly known to have been Goa trance artists, but the new material by these artists was more minimalist, and less melodic. Others use the term Goa trance to simply distinguish those pieces which seem to incorporate more eastern, Indian, or "organic" melodies, to distinguish those which don't incorporate such elements which they would call psychedelic trance.


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Raja Ram has been experimenting with psychedelic trance as early as the 1980s. He has been part of numerous projects including the well-known ambient group Shpongle, The Infinity Project and 1200 Micrograms. He is also the owner of the TIP World record label.

Psychedelic trance developed out of the early 1990s Goa trance scene through the influence of artists such as Timeshard and Eat Static, both on the Planet Dog record Label.

The first pure psychedelic trance label was Dragonfly Records, formed by the artist and trance producer Martin "Youth" Glover (a former bassist for the band Killing Joke) in Brixton, London. For this he took advantage of the organization and the studio of his already existing label, Butterfly Records. It quickly became the center of the London psychedelic trance scene. Raja Ram and Graham Wood first produced here as The Infinity Project. Simon Posford, who worked as a sound engineer at Butterfly, later released his legendary album, Twisted as Hallucinogen on Dragonfly. The first compilation from Dragonfly was released as a trance sampler and was soon followed by another compilation titled Project II Trace in August of 1993. These included work from such well-known artists as the French project Total Eclipse and Mandra Gora. In 1994 it released singles from Man With No Name, Prana, Ayahuasca, Slinky Wizard and Doof. The signature Order Odonata compilation was released the same year.

At this point the scene was growing rapidly with and many new labels were created. Return To The Source, a party collective first appeared. Raja Ram and Graham Wood went on to found their own label, called TIP Records (now TIP World). Tsuyoshi Suzuki worked with John Perloff to create the Matsuri Productions label. Flying Rhino Records was established by James Monro, Dominic Lamb and George Barker (Slinky Wizard), who hired Sally Welch as manager. Simon Berry founded Platipus Records, who among other things, released the first vinyl by Technossomy. It also out licensed the famous Robert Miles' Children. Simon's own project, Union Jack released their morning trance album There will be no Armageddon in 1996, featuring well-known tracks such as "Red Herring", "Cactus" and "Two Full Moons and a Trout".

Around this time a new label emerged in UK. Some consider Blue Room Released to be of the most important, and unusual, labels in the psychedelic trance genre. It was led by Simon Ghahary and had solid financial backing from a British loudspeaker company. Allegedly, Ghahary had free reign to spend the money as he saw fit, regardless of sales figures. This allowed Blue Room to move away from "classic" Goa trance into new, more experimental directions. Some of the most well-known artists today were signed and had their work distributed on the Blue Room Released label. Their first compilation was titled Outside The Reactor was released in April of 1995 and featured work from artists such as Total Eclipse, Har-El Prussky, and Voodoo People. Three of the most well known projects - Juno Reactor, Total Eclipse and The Infinity Project also released their debut albums that year. Soon the German project X-Dream started working with Blue Room as well, releasing their "The Frog" single and the highly influencial Radio album. At its height, the label went on to release such works as Violent Relaxation by Total Eclipse, Juno Reactor's Bible of Dreams, Saafi Brothers' Mystic Cigarettes and Dragon Tales by Koxbox.

Despite being the center of production for pschedelic trance in the mid 1990s, England had a very limited party scene. This mostly due to the Criminal Justice Bill and requirements for early closing hours in nightclubs. On the other hand, Germany had much more liberal laws, which in addition to the recent unification contributed to the development of the scene there. The German label Spirit Zone Records opened up in 1994, and ended up signing on many foreign artists such as The Infinity Project (UK), K.U.R.O. (Japan), Etnica (Italy), and Har-El Prussky (Israel). It was also the home label of many German artists such as Electric Universe, Star Sounds Orchestra and S.U.N. Project. France was also becoming an increasingly important location, with not only Total Eclipse, but the now famous projects like Talamasca and Transwave emerging.

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Project II Trance, the first psychedelic trance compilation.

Around 1997, the original Goa trance scene was undergoing hard times, espcially in the UK. Sales dropped and many big labels such as Flying Rhino went bankrupt, while others had to reinvent themselves and emerge under a new name as did TIP World. The death of Goa trance was "officially" declared by Tsuyoshi Suzuki on his Let it RIP album, where the liner notes read "RIP: Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, William Buroughs, Goa trance."

The new sound of what would become the psychedelic trance of today emerged at this time. It included elements of minimalist and progressive trance, house, and techno, while focusing less on the original Goa melodies. Germany became the center of this movement in 1997 and 1998. Many Swedish artists also emerged playing a more progressive sound. The most successful and well known is Tomasz Balicki (Atmos). His track Klein Aber Doctor was the most successful release for Flying Rhino yet, which was in the process of restructuring. Even the Dragonfly label stated to switch to this new progressive sound, and psychdelic trance was once again becoming popular. Debut releases from Atmos, Noma, S-Range and Son Kite only cemented this fact and made Sweden an important producer of psychedelic trance.

Soon psychdelic trance was expanding rapidly once again, and for the first time differences became apparent in the music being produced in different countries. Parallel scenes also developed in coutries like Israel and Japan. There are also smaller, but active scenes in Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Portugal, Finland, Russia, and even the United States.

Development in Israel

In 1988 due to a change of laws and the political situation in Israel, many Israelis were allowed to get Indian travel visas for the first time. Many of them had just completed military service and were looking for a vacation. The beaches of Goa were a natural destination. Many of them returned from the trips bringing back recordings on the new style of music. Developing mostly separately from the scenes elsewhere, Israel DJ's emerged playing their own variations on the sound. Some of them were Avi Nissim and Lior Perlmutter (SFX and later Astral Projection) Har-El Prussky and Miko (California Sunshine), Guy Sebbag, Avi Algranati (Phreaky, Space Cat) and Ofer Dikovsky (Oforia). There were also Israeli labels formed, including Melodia Records, Trust In Trance, Phonokol and Krembo Records. With the emergence of new innovative artists such as Infected Mushroom, psychedelic trance became a big part of the culture in Israel, more so than in any other country in the world.

Commercial success

In recent years, sales of psychedelic trance have been falling. The decline was : -2,8% in 2001, and -8,8% in 2002. A typical album usually sells around 2,000 copies, and selling more than 5,000 copies would be considered a success. There are only a handful of artists who sold more than 20,000 copies, including Hallucinogen, Infected Mushroom, Transwave, and Astral Projection. Hallucinogen's Twisted has had the most commercial success to date, selling around 85,000 copies.

The reasons for this decline include overproduction, copyright infringement, lack of publicity and poor quality of music. In fact, the market has not grown much, however the number of new labels and artists has increased exponentially. Much of psychedelic trance is also channeled through illegal copying by sharing MP3s, particularly among students. Although this has opened up the market to newcomers, most of these fans do not have the ability to purchase music since it is not normally distributed in mainstream record stores. Finally, most labels put a lot of pressure on new artists to release albums, resulting in lower-quality work.

Psychedelic trance scene

The club and dance scenes world wide have been using psychedelic trance in performances along with Goa trance, ambient trance, progressive trance, and minimalist trance. The mixture of Goa and psychedelic trance music is the popular kind of trance performance to many trance listeners.

Psychedelic trance is often played at outdoor festivals. People at these festivals sometimes consume psychedelic drugs like LSD, ecstasy, and psychedelic mushrooms. The festivals often take place over a few days with music being played through the night and well into the next day.

Psychedelic trance artists and projects

Psychedelic trance is often produced in a collaboration between two or more artists, called a "project". Somewhat different from other genres of music is the fact that one artist could be part of as much as ten or more projects, often simulteneously. Each different combination of artists almost always has a unique name. For example X-Dream (Jan Muller and Marcus Maichel) and Planet B.E.N. (Ben Wierzoch) are two well known projects from Germany. The collaboration between Jan and Ben is called Organic Noise and the collaboration between Marcus and Ben is called Fools and Tools. This partly accounts for the large number of psychedelic trance projects.

As shown above the names of projects made up of the same artists can often be unrelated, although this is not always the case. For example, many projects involving Infected Mushroom are often prefixed with the word "Infected".

Making things even more confusing is the fact that the same exact artist or group of artists will sometimes go under different project names to showcase different variations of their music. An example is Michael Andersen from Sweden who uses the name 12 Moons for his dance project, Healer for his ambient project, and Neser DNA for his dark industrial trance project.

Very few psychedelic trance artists release albums under their own name (Tim Schuldt is one exception). Instead, the name of the project is sometimes chosen to describe the theme of the music being produced. Not surprisingly, Crop Circles and Pleiadians releases are focused on the topic of space travel.

See also

Popular psychedelic trance artists and albums

(in chronological order)













Record labels

External links

General information

  • 604 mailing list ( - a long running mailing list for Goa trance fans.
  • ( - a European Goatrance Resource
  • Isratrance ( - A huge archive with information about most of Israel's Psychadelic Trance/Goa Trance artists.
  • ( - a free Goa internet radio station.
  • Psychedelic Mind Expander ( - extensive database of Goa and psychedelic trance artists, labels and releases.
  • ( - a long running Goa/Psytrance community website. Includes reviews of most albums.
  • ( an "oldschool" Goa and psytrance scene website from Europe with streaming audio DJ mixes and various other information related to psychedelic music
  • ( - a web forum listing underground parties, legal events, music reviews and general discussion


  • A Decade of Psychedelic Trance ( - a synthesis on the history of Goa Trance.
  • A Psykotropic Trip Through Tribedelic Transcapes ( - an article that explores the phenomenon of Goa trance.
  • Goa Stories ( - An interesting collection of articles about Goa ranging from the history of the freak scene, the phenomena of Goa Trance and the corruption of the police
  • Liquid Crystal Vision ( - a documentary about GOA. Can be purchased or just watched online.
  • What is Goa? ( - a history of Goa trance from

Parties and festivals

  • ( - A social experiment, that has an emphasis on radical expression -- one of those expressions being psychedelic trance and electronic music at large. One of largest gatherings in the US.
  • ( - large database of Goa parties
  • ( - a database for parties and scene supporting activities
  • Visionquest Tokyo ( a documentry on the Japanese trance festival called The Gathering.
  • ( - the mother of Goa parties and scene in Europe, one of the biggest international open-air goa festivals

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