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The best trance ever was made before 2000...


Lemmiwinks
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(inspired by Pandemonium's comment in this topic)

 

 

Well Pandemonium put the finger on something that has been bugging me for years: it seems that no matter how much I'd appreciate a modern trance release I just can't get myself to put it in the "classics" category. I always find it's somehow lacking compared to the "gods" Pleidaians, Astral Projection, Prana, Transwave and such. Even new attempts to revive oldschool seem to fall short from the list, even though some newschool artists basically use the oldschool formulas. Now I've always wondered WHY? Is it that the music made back then REALLY was that exceptional or is it just that we tend to cling to that feeling we had when first discovering this kind of music?

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Well, the "new oldschool" has the problem that it's very derivative and formulaic, clinging to an idea of what goa should sound like (i.e. certain type of melodies, certain synths, etc etc). It's a copy of a copy of a copy. Although this seems the logical approach to take when you want recapture the feelings that an old track you love evokes, music just doesn't work like that. The resulting copy always seems to regress towards the mean, so the result is less memorable and distinctive than the original was.

 

The best and most memorable music imho comes when a more spontaneous approach is taken.

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Well, the "new oldschool" has the problem that it's very derivative and formulaic, clinging to an idea of what goa should sound like (i.e. certain type of melodies, certain synths, etc etc). It's a copy of a copy of a copy. Although this seems the logical approach to take when you want recapture the feelings that an old track you love evokes, music just doesn't work like that. The resulting copy always seems to regress towards the mean, so the result is less memorable and distinctive than the original was.

 

The best and most memorable music imho comes when a more spontaneous approach is taken.

 

I agree... but at the same time, I found that even the spontaneous approaches don't quite reach "classic" status, even if I enjoy them. I mean it's almost been a decade since the turn of the century, and many many different and original approaches to trance music have been tried (progressive, dark trance, techtrance, suomi, etc.), yet they all fall short IMO.

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well... many of the "gods" you mention are in fact originators who helped invent and define goatrance. Everything that came after that basically built on the theme/template with relatively minute variations - variations that may seem large to genre purists, but are actually negligible in a broader musical context.

 

This is then said to be a "new genre" - i.e. progressive psy or darkspy or what have you - but what's actually happening is that the artists in these genres paint themselves into smaller and smaller corners/niches, until they basically don't have any maneuvering space left at all in which they can be original or musically innovative. The result is a lot of boring music (with some exceptions of course).

 

The new generation of producers imho should try letting go of all genre conventions/limitations. Re-invent psy. Or invent something better!

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My thoughts:

 

1. Pre 2000 most artists used analog synths, now they use computer software and maybe a digital synth. You can't get the juno-106, tb-303 or sh-101 sound correctly emulated with digital software. The end product will be clean, precise and digital, as opposed to dirty, some what random and analog.

 

2. Since artists pre 2000 relied on physical hardware they had to spend a lot of money to be able to make music, so people that got into making music probably already knew they had some talent and were therefor prepared to spend money on equipment. Today you can be an "artist" if you own a decent computer.

 

3. To release an album back in the days must have been more expensive then it is today, I'm thinking that costs for mastering and manufacturing of cd's and lp's were higher. So labels had to release high quality music to cover their expenses. Today you can be an online label and release digitally created music, with no mastering and no manufacturing costs.

 

4. Pre 2000 the idea of what the psytrance sound is wasn't as clear as it is today. When artists today try to make psytrance they already have a clear vision: "I want to make music like Astral Projection". Back in the days I think (kind of nostalgic) that the aim was to make trippy music. Fewer rules tend to favor creativity.

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To be honest I think it is like you said in the first post Lemmi, the music we first listened to when we first discovered what real music we liked just cannot be beat because we can never recreate that time. You're a teenager, all you've heard is pop and some stuff that your dad listens to but you don't give the time of day to because it must be "so uncool" then comes along some real music, nothing like you have heard before. It feels like magic in your ears and it seeps into your brain! Nothing will ever beat this. This is why our parents said what we loved was nothing compared to their music and it has happened to us! We have turned into old farts harping on about how much better the old days were.

 

Kids getting into music these days have the same feeling about recent music as we did in the early 90's, come 2019 they'll be wondering why the music around then is not as good as the music being produced now. We will tell them they are both crap and it was the 90's that ruled! My sister will tell you the 80's my dad the 60's and I'm sure the old WW1 veterans still think the 1910's were the best time for music.

 

I think highlighting this point is the track Optimum Creakage which I first heard at a party in 1995/6 and absolutely loved, but I never followed it up with repeat listens at home and I never heard it again until I bought dragonfly classics in 2000 sumat. Now all the other tunes like Hallucinogen's LSD, Genetic - Trancemission, Total Eclipse - Aliens etc I had on CD at home, listened to time & time again with my mates smoking weed & just having fun. When I heard these on Dragonfly Classics all the same feeling of Euphoria (just watered down) came back as happens when we listen to classics but I was disappointed by Optimum Creakage. I didn't understand at the time but now I think it is just that although it is a great Old School classic it just wasn't in my head as one so it never quite feels right. Like discovering old goatrance that you have not heard before, when you have 100s of classics already the new (old) discoveries are never as good!

 

What we need is a mind eraser to wipe out ever having heard music so we could go through it all again :)

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Magik Universe and Earth Crossing are 2 of the best IMO and were 2000, 2002.

 

But it seems the hard goa psy sound got a little too popular and more and more crappy music was produced by people that shouldn't be producing music, and fewer good artists remained. Maybe it was somewhat exhausted....

 

There's been lots more innovation in ambient and downtempo trance music post 2000, but you can't say what the future will hold....

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I disagree with the claim. First of all, it's actually pleasing to hear such an improved production quality on new tracks. Secondly, it's rubbish to claim there wouldn't be artists out there these days with an original sound - there are, and they do their thing well.

 

Just a little list of modern goa that's up there with any older classics:

 

Filteria / Birds Lingua Franca

Bit-Head / Stressed Out

Agneton / Eyes Wide Open

Armageddance / Another Reality

Astrancer / Dzog Chen

Intriga / Stupify

New Born / Purity

 

...and if you dislike all of that, we prolly should go to different parties lol.

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Trolsk's post might explain the fact that why there is so little bad old goa-trance too (At least I have yet to encounter more than a few acts), hmmh.

 

Well I personally don't see it as the best was pre-2000, because there's been a ton of great post-2000 releases. But the quantity is definitely not the same.

 

I disagree with the claim. First of all, it's actually pleasing to hear such an improved production quality on new tracks. Secondly, it's rubbish to claim there wouldn't be artists out there these days with an original sound - there are, and they do their thing well.

 

Just a little list of modern goa that's up there with any older classics:

 

Filteria / Birds Lingua Franca

Bit-Head / Stressed Out

Agneton / Eyes Wide Open

Armageddance / Another Reality

Astrancer / Dzog Chen

Intriga / Stupify

New Born / Purity

 

...and if you dislike all of that, we prolly should go to different parties lol.

Nice list you have there. Birds Lingva Franca - the highlight of modern goa-trance imo :drama:

 

Bit-head was almost a shock though when I first heard it. Really different, great.

http://www.myspace.com/bithead1

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I won't rant. All I want to say is that years ago I fell in love with the tweaked out, acid drenched sound of likes such as G.N.O.T.R., the back then almighty Cosmosis, Prana, Ominus; or the full on psychedelic assault of Pleiadians, or just the wonderful melody work by either Total Eclipse and Transwave.

 

Now, since that sound is no more, I just cannot be bothered too much to dig trough the new stuff. I know what I like, and I know what I seek for and want to hear in my trance. Somehow, be it an accident or not, it turned out that the stuff I really feel was all produced before 2000. I never gave it any thought before looking at this thread.

 

I think trance music has loads of great releases today, but none captivate my attention as much as before because, well to be honest, none of these new releases have the ingredients which made me notice trance in the first place. Speaking for my own humble self, the sound I adored is no more around. So I did the only logical step and widened my horizons - way beyond the realms of trance. It does not imply I cannot smell talent and creativity, it is just that (for example) I have not sensed a climax like the one on Howling At The Moon and Maia for a full decade. Moments like those made this genre special in my ears. When I listen to trance today, time after time, absolute aural orgasms are rarely achieved, if I may sound obsoletely poetic. Not because I live in the past or anything, but because the stuff I really fancy was left behind, while we all moved on. And I am not nostalgic either. I play whatever I feel like, be it old school or avantgard.

The hardware/software talk is bollock, and please pardon my french. A good musician will make a good track on anything, any day of the week. A no brain egg head could not come up with a lead in Hans Zimmerman's studio.

 

One last instant of honesty: I do feel sad that nobody has yet successfully captured the essence of what I really like and gave it a modern treatment. It's all either time-capsule-neo-goa-trance or seriously well executed state of the present goa trance (see some of those Oopie's examples), but it lacks that something something. Otherwise, it's all great though, loads of distinctive and powerful modern tracks, such as Merr0w's Utopian Society, Ypsilon 5's Titanium, Filteria's Tiny Universe, Artha, New Born... Ace output!

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There is good stuff being produced today, but if you don't have the time to listen to a couple of albums a day, its too much to dig through it all.

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(inspired by Pandemonium's comment in this topic)

 

 

Well Pandemonium put the finger on something that has been bugging me for years: it seems that no matter how much I'd appreciate a modern trance release I just can't get myself to put it in the "classics" category. I always find it's somehow lacking compared to the "gods" Pleidaians, Astral Projection, Prana, Transwave and such. Even new attempts to revive oldschool seem to fall short from the list, even though some newschool artists basically use the oldschool formulas. Now I've always wondered WHY? Is it that the music made back then REALLY was that exceptional or is it just that we tend to cling to that feeling we had when first discovering this kind of music?

 

I'm really flattered that I stirred up the mood enough to have a a new topic opened because of a thread of mine in another topic.

I don't consider all of the releases that I mentioned to be modern. Since I started listening to psy 7 years ago a release from 2002-2005 is kind of old school to me since it was the beggining of a new genre for me personally. For modern day goa Suntrip is where I get my fix and thats all I need for the Goa side of things.

 

I also agree with what Abasio said about what ever time it is that you found the magic will be the best memory for the rest of your life. When you discover new music its magical and nothing can compare to the first parties of first abums that you listened to. Its the same for everyone whatever year it might be.

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I can't agree that it's wholly a nostalgia thing since I've only been listening to psy/goa for a couple of years and still I find that most of the older stuff blows the newer out of the water. It's not always the case of course and a lot is probably because I only have the money to buy the old releases that everyone raves about (and therefore must be great on some level). I'm sure that a lot of the other newer listeners who didn't or couldn't appreciate this music back in the day can relate.

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My thoughts:

 

1. Pre 2000 most artists used analog synths, now they use computer software and maybe a digital synth. You can't get the juno-106, tb-303 or sh-101 sound correctly emulated with digital software. The end product will be clean, precise and digital, as opposed to dirty, some what random and analog.

 

2. Since artists pre 2000 relied on physical hardware they had to spend a lot of money to be able to make music, so people that got into making music probably already knew they had some talent and were therefor prepared to spend money on equipment. Today you can be an "artist" if you own a decent computer.

 

3. To release an album back in the days must have been more expensive then it is today, I'm thinking that costs for mastering and manufacturing of cd's and lp's were higher. So labels had to release high quality music to cover their expenses. Today you can be an online label and release digitally created music, with no mastering and no manufacturing costs.

 

4. Pre 2000 the idea of what the psytrance sound is wasn't as clear as it is today. When artists today try to make psytrance they already have a clear vision: "I want to make music like Astral Projection". Back in the days I think (kind of nostalgic) that the aim was to make trippy music. Fewer rules tend to favor creativity.

Well said!

 

Although I don't agree that psy post 2000 hasn't any classic albums.

It has a lot.

 

edit: Great reply Abasio! I agree 100%

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Well, the "new oldschool" has the problem that it's very derivative and formulaic, clinging to an idea of what goa should sound like (i.e. certain type of melodies, certain synths, etc etc). It's a copy of a copy of a copy. Although this seems the logical approach to take when you want recapture the feelings that an old track you love evokes, music just doesn't work like that. The resulting copy always seems to regress towards the mean, so the result is less memorable and distinctive than the original was.

 

The best and most memorable music imho comes when a more spontaneous approach is taken.

This. :)

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I agree... but at the same time, I found that even the spontaneous approaches don't quite reach "classic" status, even if I enjoy them. I mean it's almost been a decade since the turn of the century, and many many different and original approaches to trance music have been tried (progressive, dark trance, techtrance, suomi, etc.), yet they all fall short IMO.

all those original approaches really originated over a decade ago. it was cool in the beginning but they're all getting old & stale.

oldskool goa didn't even outlive it's own decade yet these sub-styles just keep on going, losing more & more track of what matters for over 10 years now.

i honestly can't think of any surprisingly original twist or turn the music has taken over the last couple of years. it explains why old music sounds more impressive; people were still experimenting with it back then.

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I think novelty in music tends to go in waves. Trance is not a very old genre comparatively. Look at the evolution of rock from the 50's to today: there were undoubtedly classics created in each of the eras and styles that rock has gone through, but that doesn't mean there weren't lulls when most of the output was rehashed and uninspired. It takes a special artist to really take a genre in a new direction, and when that happens that artist becomes the new classic.

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I think novelty in music tends to go in waves. Trance is not a very old genre comparatively. Look at the evolution of rock from the 50's to today: there were undoubtedly classics created in each of the eras and styles that rock has gone through, but that doesn't mean there weren't lulls when most of the output was rehashed and uninspired. It takes a special artist to really take a genre in a new direction, and when that happens that artist becomes the new classic.

I used to think the same way, but when I considered it some more I realized that the rock/(psy)trance comparison is flawed. Rock as you use it is a much broader genre than (psy)trance, it contains everything from Elvis through Hendrix through Genesis through Sex Pistols through Van Halen, U2, Nirvana... well you get the picture. A better comparison would be rock vs electronic (dance) music. When you put it in that context, psytrance unfortunately becomes a tiny footnote compared to the "classics" (i.e. Kraftwerk, Giorgo Moroder, Eurithmics, Depeche Mode, Jeff Mills, Aphex Twin, Underworld, Leftfield, Massive Attack etc etc etc).

 

I also agree with fluffymushi, all the "new" approaches are already present in the first gen of psytrance (say 94-98), sometimes only as a handful of tracks or a single album, but it's all there. This isn't unique to psytrance though... same thing goes for drum&bass, dubstep is heading the same way, mnml techno too. The whole segregation of dance music into miniscule subgenres that do not cross-pollinate is just messed up.

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Psykovsky's Debut came after the year 2000, but it's a timeless piece of musical art so it doesn't really matter when it was released.

2005 was a fantastic year for psy. despite my seemingly negative rant alot of my favorite albums were released that year. :)
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you know, actually I'm happy to have discovered this music only in 2002 and not earlier ... otherwise I'd probably ramble on about the oldschool times on and on ever and ever again and join many of the others being an "old fart", as abasio put it ... I'm kinda used to the fact that there's a ton of crap released that I don't care about ... it always was like this for me in this scene and it'll never change. I'm picking my gems out of the sand practically since the beginning...

 

As for the reasons why the quality was better in the earlier times, I second the reasons Trolsk stated. Nowadays just about everybody can become a producer ... and while this is actually a cool thing, it's also part of the problem. The market is flooded with thousands of average tracks. And it has become easier to release the stuff aswell.

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2005 was a fantastic year for psy. despite my seemingly negative rant alot of my favorite albums were released that year. :)

I'm afraid that 2005 was the last good year of psychedelic trance, but I hope that 2010 will prove me wrong. :-)

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2005 was a fantastic year for psy. despite my seemingly negative rant alot of my favorite albums were released that year. :)

 

yep I totally agree! Somehow it seems that all these "post-2000 styles" matured in 2005 and have been continuously going downhill since (at least IMO). Still, even the best releases from 2005 aren't quite on par with the ones released 10 years before IMO.

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As for the reasons why the quality was better in the earlier times, I second the reasons Trolsk stated. Nowadays just about everybody can become a producer ... and while this is actually a cool thing, it's also part of the problem. The market is flooded with thousands of average tracks. And it has become easier to release the stuff aswell.

It's sort of a "democratization" of music making.

 

If close to anyone can become an artist the absolute amount of above average releases should increase because of the normal distribution of talent. The previous distribution curve of talent was biased towards high amounts of talent because of the need to invest in equipment etc (see my original post). When the threshold to make music is lowered the distribution curve of talent will get the shape of a typical normal distribution curve since talent is normal distributed. It means that the amount of good and bad releases should equal each other. Our experience is however that the amount of average and below averages releases has increased whereas the growth of above average releases has declined.

 

My theory is that psytrance is (more or less) dead and therefor the above average talents in general do not make psytrance. If you were to look at electronic music as a whole then you will find that the absolute amount of above average releases have increased. If you look at a particular genre of electronic music - like minimal techno - you will find that the amount of above average releases is higher than the amount of below average releases because this is the most inspiring sound at the moment, and that's where the talent is at the moment. The same could be said about IDM a few years back, and about psytrance pre 2000.

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