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Jaspupper

A question about (oldschool) goatrance

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Jaspupper    3

So I really like goa, especially oldschool, while my friends prefer techno,

drum'n bass, hardbass and other pump. That leads to frequent discussions about

whether and why the typical "thumpy" goa kickdrum is "lame".

 

My friends always argue that the kick lacks bass, and that, if it were more heavy

on the bass, it would sound a lot better. Since I'm not a producer and don't really

know anyone who makes goa, I instinctively just argue that a very bass-heavy kick

would crowd out the track too much, overshadowing all the other stuff in the track.

 

So I wanted to ask someone who makes goa why the thumpy kick is so ubiquitous:

Is it just a stylistic choice or is there more to it?

 

 

P.S.: Why is goa so polarizing, with it being very unpopular, but people thatt like it being very into it?

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It's the hippie jam band to drum n bass and hardcore's punk.

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XoArK    54

So I really like goa, especially oldschool, while my friends prefer techno,

drum'n bass, hardbass and other pump. That leads to frequent discussions about

whether and why the typical "thumpy" goa kickdrum is "lame".

 

My friends always argue that the kick lacks bass, and that, if it were more heavy

on the bass, it would sound a lot better. Since I'm not a producer and don't really

know anyone who makes goa, I instinctively just argue that a very bass-heavy kick

would crowd out the track too much, overshadowing all the other stuff in the track.

 

So I wanted to ask someone who makes goa why the thumpy kick is so ubiquitous:

Is it just a stylistic choice or is there more to it?

 

 

P.S.: Why is goa so polarizing, with it being very unpopular, but people thatt like it being very into it?

About that P.S. you have, Goa Trance has a niche audience, so it isn't "popular" per-se, but people love it dearly.

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johnb820    155

Because Goa Trance is one of the most unique of the edm genres. The vast majority of dance music lacks melodies, goa trance has them in spades. Most genres focus more on either long trancey compositions or quick immediate dancefloor climaxes. Goa Trance is right in the middle. You take any Chi-AD track and there is a lengthy build up. It takes a while but then it explodes and delivers.

 

I like to think Goa Trance is in this strange middle ground where it's often dark, weird, twisted, but yet it takes you on this journey. It's catchy, there are hooks, there is songwriting that other genres don't care about.

 

The kick is the way it is primarily because it alludes to a heavier aesthetic. I am not sure where the lack of bass your friends claim is coming from. In the end, the bass must be even with the treble. It's just that the typical Goa kick has a longer decay, meaning that it literally takes longer to go from the higher frequencies to the lower frequencies. This often has the effect of making the kick stand out because your ears focus on where it hears the most impact. Depending on your bass line, it often creates a "sticky" effect where the bass notes "adhere" to the kick around the 100hz range. Have a listen to Nitzho for an example of taking this type of kick to the extreme.

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If the kick had more bass? You mean like hardstyle? But then goa wouldn't be goa, anymore, would it? :)

I have found lots of variety in dnb, early dubstep and different psy genres. I haven't found the same in hardstyle or techno, I have listened to HS, I get bored of it within a few days. Not the same with psytrance, especially goa.

 

Your friends seem to argue that quality is determined by popularity. I can't agree with that.

 

Ubiquity of the kick is just a calling card of the genre. I don't think any further than that. There no doubt is some history behind it.

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Paul Eye    441

P.S.: Why is goa so polarizing, with it being very unpopular, but people thatt like it being very into it?

Because it's a niche within a niche (that 2nd niche being psychedelic trance in general), so to say. The small ones tend to make more noise to be heard, usually annoying everyone else in the process :D

Look at the hitech crowd, I've noticed that they're even more fanatic than the goa crowd, but where they stand is the same as goa trance, the niche within a niche.

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antic604    497

I instinctively just argue that a very bass-heavy kick

would crowd out the track too much, overshadowing all the other stuff in the track.

It's exactly this - goa is very dense in terms of sonic content (layers and frequencies) therefore very heavy and long kick would steal of lot of space to other sounds. In the past a lot of Israeli goa featured quite heavy, boomy kicks (e.g. Oforia) but it had to compensate by using a bit weaker, more mid-range focused bass line.

 

Also, I'd argue if your friends even understand what they mean by 'more heavy'. Goa/Psy kicks are usually very bass-heavy, with just a very short click at the beginning and are extremely short (to make room for machine-gun bassline :P), so probably what they're refering to is length?

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Imba    298

Dimension 5 is old school but they still have heavy kicks, same with Man With No Name, Miranda, Shakta...

 

It's all about balance in mixdowns or depends of style you prefer. Keep in mind they didn't have modern tools back in days or it wasnt important to have clean mix. These days we clean all synths/leads/fx bellow 200-250hz and above 10khz so there is more room for bass, drums and percs. With proper cleaning same kick can sound much more powerful :)

 

 

So I really like goa, especially oldschool, while my friends prefer techno,
drum'n bass, hardbass and other pump. That leads to frequent discussions about
whether and why the typical "thumpy" goa kickdrum is "lame".

 

20 years ago was ok, today it's lame imo because most people just load old 909 kicks from their sample packs, put a bit extra bass on EQ, few minutes of job and thats it. That's what i find lame. Good kick takes days, same with bass and other elements.

 

 

My friends always argue that the kick lacks bass, and that, if it were more heavy
on the bass, it would sound a lot better. Since I'm not a producer and don't really
know anyone who makes goa, I instinctively just argue that a very bass-heavy kick
would crowd out the track too much, overshadowing all the other stuff in the track.

 

It won't overshadowing if you place it corectly in the mix. Kick is structure, main element, everything else is dancing around kick. Kick is actually victim here, layers are overshadowing kick if not mixed properly :)

When you finish your track and start with mix, you always put all channels down then set kick first, then bass and everything around it. Place everything in it's own stereo and frequency field, cut and mix everything properly and no problem!

 

 

So I wanted to ask someone who makes goa why the thumpy kick is so ubiquitous:
Is it just a stylistic choice or is there more to it?
 

 

It could be stylstic. I know much guys use thumpy kick because 'it is goa' and sharp and modern kicks are 'fullon kicks' and smiliar convictions. Which i found really stupid.

'Hey bro i like it dirty and bad sounding because it sounds like '96, so old school bro, pure goa bro!'  and smiliar stories... why goa has to sound like '96?

 

 

It's 2017 so you should make music for 2017, that's how i see it. There are no rules in music. But it's just my opinion :)

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Dolmot    145

What's "thumpy", exactly? I've heard plenty of different kick styles even in oldschool goa. Of course, one important historical aspect is that goa parties and music have their roots in 80s synth pop, where a basic drum machine kick was used as an electronic replacement for a common bass drum. It provided a steady, mechanical beat (or a rhythm) without totally dominating the track. Think Kraftwerk, for example. You can hear that kind of "beach beat" in a lot of early goa like Total Eclipse and such. Many composers were also simply limited by hardware. They didn't have everything and the kitchen sink to choose from. Then again, a lot of that applies to early techno, house and "normal trance" too.

 

But quite soon many totally different variants were introduced. In some "French style" goa the melodies totally dominate. For example, in many Underhead tracks I wonder whether someone accidentally left the bass gain completely down. Green Nuns was so acid-drenched that you probably couldn't fit a massive bass in there. Conversely, the Ominus family was stomping its way through your roof already in 1996. I've got a few "what the hell is happening" looks when Psychlopedia - The Gurningpoint comes in after more lightweight stuff on a big system. Dimension 5 had its characteristic long & low decay. Etnica / Crop Circles has fascinating tracks, where the kick peak itself is barely noticeable, but the decay blends into a solid bass wall. Some may find it weak, I find it extremely groovy. Meanwhile, a lot of techno becomes boring if it only has the "rope skipping" 4/4 kick with nothing else in the low end to support it. No amount of tweaking of the kick sound itself can help that.

 

Of course, the mix greatly affects how it comes out. If the majority of energy is at ~50 Hz, taking it or cutting it makes a world of difference. A lot of goa/psy was produced and mixed by one man shops with budget equipment and varying levels of professionalism so the final sound varies correspondingly. Obviously people also have their own preferences on whether the bass should be earth-shattering or just a supporting element, and production/mastering will reflect that.

 

I think the kick in general is overrated, and producers should listen to funk and write cool basslines instead. :)

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Themaniac    86

 

I think the kick in general is overrated, and producers should listen to funk and write cool basslines instead. :)

The entire argument boils down to this point. Excellently put!

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Padmapani    360

The entire argument boils down to this point. Excellently put!

i couldn't disagree more. the kick is the most important element; it is the heartbeat of the track. if you drown out the kick with some bassline, putting it more into the background, you immediately lose energy, dancability and take away what makes 4/4 electronic music so special. the unequivocal focus on the kick dominating the low end is what i love about techno (except modern minimal techno most of which doesn't do this) and would like to see more of in psytrance. right now every psy producer is so focused on basslines that many forget the imporance of the kick as driving element and they just take one "standard psy kick" or they leave the low end to the bass, making you feel just a constant wobbly hum of bass notes instead of the rhytmic pulsing of the kick when you stand on front of a big pa.

 

that is not to say that the bassline is not important. it is, and i can add much to the groove and general feel of the track, but the bassline should know its place and not overpower other more central elements of psychedelic trance music.

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Themaniac    86

i couldn't disagree more. the kick is the most important element; it is the heartbeat of the track. if you drown out the kick with some bassline, putting it more into the background, you immediately lose energy, dancability and take away what makes 4/4 electronic music so special. the unequivocal focus on the kick dominating the low end is what i love about techno (except modern minimal techno most of which doesn't do this) and would like to see more of in psytrance. right now every psy producer is so focused on basslines that many forget the imporance of the kick as driving element and they just take one "standard psy kick" or they leave the low end to the bass, making you feel just a constant wobbly hum of bass notes instead of the rhytmic pulsing of the kick when you stand on front of a big pa.

 

that is not to say that the bassline is not important. it is, and i can add much to the groove and general feel of the track, but the bassline should know its place and not overpower other more central elements of psychedelic trance music.

I didnt mean drowning out/overpowering the kick, that is nothing but poor mastering and plain stupid. OP was talking about the sound of the kick wrt other electronic genres(I believe).

The kick must be there.

And as long as it's clearly there I dont care if it sounds like 808, "oldschool", laser or directly from a Tama bassdrum.

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Padmapani    360

I didnt mean drowning out/overpowering the kick, that is nothing but poor mastering and plain stupid. OP was talking about the sound of the kick wrt other electronic genres(I believe).

The kick must be there.

And as long as it's clearly there I dont care if it sounds like 808, "oldschool", laser or directly from a Tama bassdrum.

sorry i may have worded my post confusingly. i didn't mean bad mastering but the mix decision to make the bassline the dominant element in the low frequency range.

a nice example (because it's an awesome track with good mastering) is this track by ra. it's completely fine for home listening, but at a party it only works because it has those great melodies we all know and love. otherwise it lacks drive and you definitely don't feel any pressure from the kick even if you stand right in front of the speaker.

on the other side we have tracks like vimana, where the kick completely and utterly dominates the low end. it was a revelation when i first heard it on a big system and i could dance to it even if you take away all the great melodies.

 

a non-goa example for the kick being drowned out by the bass (the mastering is fine. it also seems like an intentional mix decision; lots of darkpsy track of that time period were mixed like that) is this track by kindzadza. the low end is just a constant wobble that — because it is constant — completely lacks the impact of the kickdrum in vimana (or even silicon sunrise — to give an example of how to do it "right" for a kbbb pattern imho)

 

exactly this focus on the kick is something that (is normal for most techno and) i often miss in psytrance.

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Imba    298

exactly this focus on the kick is something that (is normal for most techno and) i often miss in psytrance.

 

Come to BGF this year, there will be plenty of kicks for everyone :D 

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Mantra604    20

So I really like goa, especially oldschool, while my friends prefer techno,

drum'n bass, hardbass and other pump.

 

P.S.: Why is goa so polarizing, with it being very unpopular,...

 

Just a different pov

I think, the "huge crowd" always looking for the "basic-instinct contents".. They want to feel the "destructive/ childish/ sexual energy - atmosphere"

because the nature rewards these with the greatest -easy- pleasures.  (+it doesn't require brain/knowledge)

example >

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am1192zt8_M

 

I've not felt this "intention" in goatrance (especially in oldschool).

Typical basic's was Philosophy, Astronomy, History, Psychology, Religion, Aliens, Science, LSD etc which requires a general "intelligence and interest" and "abstract thinking" to enjoy.

That's why it's never been popular as mainstream trance, techno, drum'nbass, .. (IMO)

 

just compare them >

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Void Mantra    82

I think, the "huge crowd" always looking for the "basic-instinct contents".. They want to feel the "destructive/ childish/ sexual energy - atmosphere"

because the nature rewards these with the greatest -easy- pleasures.  (+it doesn't require brain/knowledge)

example >

 

 

I've not felt this "intention" in goatrance (especially in oldschool).

Typical basic's was Philosophy, Astronomy, History, Psychology, Religion, Aliens, Science, LSD etc which requires a general "intelligence and interest" and "abstract thinking" to enjoy.

That's why it's never been popular as mainstream trance, techno, drum'nbass, .. (IMO)

Spot on.

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Aspartic    70

I think you are talking about the typical psytrance bom-badabom-badabom-badabom basskick instead.

Goa is the more melodic, spacey and fantasy variant without a specific kick.

 

Then this topic's subject becomes very different.

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Padmapani    360

Come to BGF this year, there will be plenty of kicks for everyone :D

i'm planning to do that :)

 

i don't think that where the artists put the emphasis on the low end differs between goa trance and the rest of psytrance. but there are plenty of reasons to go to bgf regardless ;)

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Colin OOOD    84

If we, or any other Goa Trance producer in the 1990s, could back then have produced kick and bass combos that sounded as strong, punchy, defined, clear and distinct as those we can make today, we would have jumped at the chance.  This whole fetishisation of amateur sound design and bad audio engineering is utterly ridiculous.

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Blair Thaumic    135

If we, or any other Goa Trance producer in the 1990s, could back then have produced kick and bass combos that sounded as strong, punchy, defined, clear and distinct as those we can make today, we would have jumped at the chance.  This whole fetishisation of amateur sound design and bad audio engineering is utterly ridiculous.

 

So is the fetishisation of specific kick and bass combos or production styles as "proper psytrance".

 

Not saying that all music with a modern kick and bass is bad, at all! But the insistence on standardization has a knock-on effect on what artists produce, what DJs play, and what dancers accept on the floor that ultimately, IMHO, leads to less interesting music. Look at what happened to Orion. There was so much power and soul in their music until Borelli went the way of psytrance kick/bass.

 

Also, I don't consider 1990s psytrance a good example of amateur sound design and bad audio engineering. Early nineties hardcore, maybe. 90s psytrance, compared to most rave music, received a great deal of criticism back then for being too clean and clinical. Again, not dissing you; you were there, maybe you can call BS on this. But I don't think something like what Blue Room Released was doing can be described as bad production by any standard.

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Colin OOOD    84
So is the fetishisation of specific kick and bass combos or production styles as "proper psytrance".

I agree.  My recollection is that a good part of the 'bad engineering' issue was due to the fact that many people, if not most, simply didn't know what was actually possible with kick and bass.  The release of X-Dream's 'Radio' reset the standard for many producers because for the first time we were able to hear and understand what was really possible in the low end of a trance track, and what this style of music really needed in order to reach its potential.  Prior to that, trance producers' ears simply weren't trained in that direction because examples that might have been used to reference a proper phat, punchy, defined kick and bass combo simply wasn't there for the most part, until the release of that album.  It took a good few years after its release until most producers gained access to production tools that would let them attain the same levels of quality, because equipment required to get that kind of sound in the analog world was financially out of most people's reach either to buy or to hire. It wasn't until DAWs started coming of age that it became possible for most people to eg. EQ the low end with the precision required.

 

90s psytrance, compared to most rave music, received a great deal of criticism back then for being too clean and clinical.

That's true, and this is a journey that goa/psytrance has always been on, as you can see from the fact that the criticism you mention did absolutely nothing to make producers end their quest for the ultimate production quality, particularly in the kick and bass.  Radio was a revelation in this respect, and the reason it had such a great effect on the scene as a whole was because it answered the question that I'm sure pretty much every single producer had been asking themselves since they started making trance, which was "how do I get this sounding as big and punchy and clear and powerful as possible?"

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psytones    81

i keep thinking that the way goa sounds (thin?) is because lsd makes one very sensitive 
 

'Radio' Radio 

 and then there was Zolod (?) -- insert a Organic Nose makes darkpsy forest

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