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has psy-trance hit a dead-end?


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There's many differences between psychedelic/goa trance of the 90's and of the 2010's.  One that really stands out after reading some user reviews here is our perception of time, and how quickly sound evolved in the 90's compared with how static it seems to be during the 2010's.  Not just within our scenes, but with electronic dance musik in general: in the 90's rave evolved to all the other edm-genres, which had their own subgenres which also evolved during the same decade.  In the 00's we could introduce new subgenres like darkpsy, forest, hi-tech, new-school etc.  In the 10's it seems there's nowhere left to go.

Check out these quotes for example, all of these are user-review quotes from the year 2000 about releases from 1997, a mere 3 years earlier:

VA - 3D

This was released in summer 1997 and that really seems like a long time ago now......

V/A - The Future Sound of America - Psychedelic Trance

Get this comp if you're looking for a 1997 exhibit in the psy-trance museum, but I wouldn't play much of this stuff today.

Asia 2001 - Psykadelia

This was considered as very psychedelic trance 3 years ago..now it sounds too

melodic and oldschool.  In 1997 it would have deserved 6.5/10...now...

V/A - Air-Born

This compil is very good to my mind. One of the best AFR compils...tho its old now.

Dimension 5 - Transdimensional

It's getting old.   6/10 because it's no longer in fashion.

Dimension 5 - Transdimensional

Yeah, it's a bit dated, but it was made in '97.

 

Now imagine us saying similar things about 2016 releases :lol:  sure, there's an element of the older we get the faster time flies, but we're not all old ravers here, the main observation is surely that psy-trance hasn't evolved much in the last decade.  A 2009 production will sound like a 2019 production pretty much.  Ok, not headline news...but still, here's hoping the 2020's surprise us with totally fresh sounding psychedelic subgenres!  They are out there waiting to be mined.  Lots of things you can do: pulse-phase psychedelia without kickdrums, classical-inspired epics, cyberpop, psyjazzy-breaks/DnB etc.

 

What yous reckon?  Has the concept of psychedelic trance-dance musik reached its potential already and we are just left to perfect it, or are there countless other directions it could go in, and be successful in?  What other directions would you have in mind?  Will the next decade continue with the tried-tested formula or will we see some evolution?

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I think psytrance has changed a lot over the last decade.  Most obivous if you compare the same artists

Outsiders 2010

Outsiders 2019

Astrix 2008

Astrix 2016

U-Recken 2006

U-Recken 2019

 

I intentionally give the  examples of the most manstream kinds of psy, they reflect what I think are the trends.

A lot has happened over the last 10 years or so, transition from hardware synths to 100% software production (very different sound overall, more possibilities for sonic manipulation, lesser significance of the individual character of the synth, in the 00's it was almost compulsory to use Access Virus and Nord Lead but there is no such thing as "the default psytrance synth" now), evolution from very melodic tracks (second half of the 00's) to minimal (first half of the 10's) to quite busy tracks with lots of synths and SFX but little melodic content (now), some subgenres died, some emerged.

Ofc the core concept stays the same - hypnotic bassline, trippy/sci-fi sounds and such but the details change a lot.

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agree big time

i often read the reviews here and always noticed people back in 2001 or 2002 would find many music too old school when they were released 5 or 6 years before

 

9 hours ago, dhollmusik said:

 

Asia 2001 - Psykadelia

This was considered as very psychedelic trance 3 years ago..now it sounds too

melodic and oldschool.  In 1997 it would have deserved 6.5/10...now...

 

i remember this one as i commented on the review page

interestingly this review was written by mars from suntrip who would later rerelease this album claiming it is an all time great

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1 hour ago, recursion loop said:

I think psytrance has changed a lot over the last decade.  Most obivous if you compare the same artists

Outsiders 2010

Outsiders 2019

Astrix 2008

Astrix 2016

U-Recken 2006

U-Recken 2019

 

I intentionally give the  examples of the most manstream kinds of psy, they reflect what I think are the trends.

A lot has happened over the last 10 years or so, transition from hardware synths to 100% software production (very different sound overall, more possibilities for sonic manipulation, lesser significance of the individual character of the synth, in the 00's it was almost compulsory to use Access Virus and Nord Lead but there is no such thing as "the default psytrance synth" now), evolution from very melodic tracks (second half of the 00's) to minimal (first half of the 10's) to quite busy tracks with lots of synths and SFX but little melodic content (now), some subgenres died, some emerged.

Ofc the core concept stays the same - hypnotic bassline, trippy/sci-fi sounds and such but the details change a lot.

Good post.  I agree from your examples those artists have evolved within themselves, tho' their newer sound doesn't feel distinct or radical like psytek did when compared to old-school, or darkpsy did when compared to full-on.  For example in 6:40 of the newer Astrix track he's employing the same VST-sounds we know from full-on and darkpsy.  The newer U-Recken piece could be any new-school from 2008 onwards.

The fresh Outsiders piece is the best example to support your argument: it is the sound which dominates the big festival night-time, featuring finely-tuned 3D-sound for the big PA's.  Tho' on closer inspection it's a tech-freshened AP-meets-full-on style.  It doesn't feel like a new fresh subgenre of psy-trance.

True that the 2010's have had some evolvement, yes...but not as radikal or distinct as the decades before.

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45 minutes ago, Celaripo said:

agree big time

i often read the reviews here and always noticed people back in 2001 or 2002 would find many music too old school when they were released 5 or 6 years before

 

i remember this one as i commented on the review page

interestingly this review was written by mars from suntrip who would later rerelease this album claiming it is an all time great

I think most people would agree old-school goa has aged like fine wine.  Its comeback in terms of re-releases is well-deserved.

I remember going to The Drome in London and at some point around 2000 they relegated old-school goa to the smaller second room.  It was the trend at the time to think it sounded old, and what was true is that it didn't sound great on bigger newer PA's, whereas the Psytek/Prog sound which was fresh at the time sounded nice and crisp.  And cool...people at the time were seduced by the cool-sound of prog/psytek, in contrast old-school sounded hectic and cheesy.

Not to me, I might add...I got bored after a while dancing to minimal stuff so spent most of my time in that second room B) 

but then again, I was also jumping about to hard-house around that time :blush: ...there's no accounting for taste haha

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32 minutes ago, dhollmusik said:

I think most people would agree old-school goa has aged like fine wine

Quite a big part of it actually didn't imo.

Overall, I can agree that an average psytrance track made in 2019 would probably have less differfences to a track made in 2009 than a 2009 track to a 1999 track  but I think the differences are still pretty apparent.

Anyways, the longer a genre exists the harder it is to invent something radically new. In early 00s you could add some metallic noises from your brand new Virus B and cut down the melodies a bit and whoah! you you have new sound, nobody did that before. In 2019 it feels like everything has been already done. Also you don't have really much motivation to innovate, you know that people who love psy expect certain sounds and grooves and they will be happy when you throw these sounds and grooves at them

 

Also psytrance, as a genre, very closely follows the development of music production tech. Trying out new sounds, new synths, new processing is basically what drives the development of psy. Todays synth market, especially software synths, feels  stagnant and oversaturated, basiclaly two main trends - digital replicas of 70-80's analogue synth classics and wavetable stuff with very clean digital sound aimed mostly at mainstream EDM production, mostly different variations of the same thing. The software synth devs seem to be focused mostly on workflow and GUI in oder to give people more covnenient and streamlined ways to make the same old sounds.

 

I have to admit that I'm too old myself to accept radically new sound though. When looking for new music I mostly enjoy new variations of things I always liked, like progressive, some full-on, some goa. Something really new may actually exist and I've probaly heard it but just didn't like because it sounded way too unfamiliar.

This is as far as I can deviate from my comfort zone

 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, recursion loop said:

Quite a big part of it actually didn't imo.

Overall, I can agree that an average psytrance track made in 2019 would probably have less differfences to a track made in 2009 than a 2009 track to a 1999 track  but I think the differences are still pretty apparent.

Anyways, the longer a genre exists the harder it is to invent something radically new. In early 00s you could add some metallic noises from your brand new Virus B and cut down the melodies a bit and whoah! you you have new sound, nobody did that before. In 2019 it feels like everything has been already done. Also you don't have really much motivation to innovate, you know that people who love psy expect certain sounds and grooves and they will be happy when you throw these sounds and grooves at them

 

Also psytrance, as a genre, very closely follows the development of music production tech. Trying out new sounds, new synths, new processing is basically what drives the development of psy. Todays synth market, especially software synths, feels  stagnant and oversaturated, basiclaly two main trends - digital replicas of 70-80's analogue synth classics and wavetable stuff with very clean digital sound aimed mostly at mainstream EDM production, mostly different variations of the same thing. The software synth devs seem to be focused mostly on workflow and GUI in oder to give people more covnenient and streamlined ways to make the same old sounds.

 

I have to admit that I'm too old myself to accept radically new sound though. When looking for new music I mostly enjoy new variations of things I always liked, like progressive, some full-on, some goa. Something really new may actually exist and I've probaly heard it but just didn't like because it sounded way too unfamiliar.

This is as far as I can deviate from my comfort zone

 

 

 

I also enjoy Kashyyk.  I disagree that in 2019 everything has been done.  I linked a few examples where psy-trance could radically go.  One of the links was the 16-minute avant-garde Stockhausen-esque psy of Glosolalia: this piece is from a comp which also houses a couple of Kashyyks...I think also with Sectio Aurea and of course Psykovsky there is some ambition there to create new types of psy-trance.

I do agree with you that most folk want the familiarity of tried-n-tested formula.  But that didn't stop 90's producers constantly innovating.

I would disagree that tech is the total driving force.  It definitely was at the beginning, but  electronic dance musik has had a few decades to settle so now the imagination is the limit.  Like how late-60's/70's prog-rock musicians showed us that there's no limit to what you can produce with guitars and drums (whereas in the 50's & 60's guitars-with-drums music was tightly defined within particular genres like jazz, rock-n-roll, blues etc).  The same is true of synths/sequencer, whether hard or soft.  They're instruments waiting to be used.  Maybe we're waiting for the EDM-equivalent of late-era Beatles or Pink Floyd to show the rest of the world electronic dance musik has no limits to what can be done, and this ambition can infiltrate the relative mainstream, creating many radical new subgenres of edm, including the psychedelic kind.

...there's maybe an element of old man shouting at the moon here, but as a musik-lover i would like to see some radical genre-bending developments in the psy-trance world these next few years.  There's definitely enough room, just maybe there's not enough will.

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12 hours ago, dhollmusik said:

Maybe we're waiting for the EDM-equivalent of late-era Beatles or Pink Floyd to show the rest of the world electronic dance musik has no limits to what can be done

imho we've already been there. pleiadians - ifo or hallucinogen is to early techno (take something like interactive - dildo or chimo bayo - asi me gusta mi) as pink floyd is to rocknroll.

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Psytrance!

Just think about the word for a while... there's a lot to this term that is yet to be heard. However, the mainstream artists are, in my humble opinion, not the ones who I look to see whether there's some progression happening or not. (Because it's a little bit about the money and that kinda kills the best vibe of any artist).

In the end I think if it's about a human being expressing his/her soul.... we'll always get to hear something fresh and new every once in a while.  I couldn't tell when and where however :)

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I think the actual quetsion may be one of these: "does any really innovative psychedelic music exist?" or  "where do I find it" or "when I find it, how do I react to it? do I think it's too weird-ass? too far off from what I'm used to?"

Most people who are into psytrance expect it to sound like this and that. So the first reaction to something really different will be "what the f*ck is that? It's not psytrance" (and the same reaction is expected from label heads). Also i guess most artists, when they start making psytrance, are inspired by other artists and want to do something similar.  So it's not like 1996 when people were inventing goa/psytrance on the fly and nobody knew what psytrance was  and what it wasn't.

 

Other thing is that "being different for the sake of being different" is not always good.  I'll take something that sounds familar but is really well executed any day over something that sounds just strange sor the sake of it.

I think Cybernetica is different enough but still very good. He is well known on this forum. Some kind of psy-infested dark and epic DnB

 

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I'm still wanting to combine new school goa sound with other genres like hip hop, eurohouse/dance. Avicii / Eric prydz stuff but goa. Or j dilla and dj premier but goa. I think that hasn't been done yet. Considering these types of music are based in samples from the 60s,70s,80s creating goa around them instead of hiphop or eurohouse may be very cool. At least I plan on doing this at some point. 

Psy dnb like cybernetika is really amazing stuff. 

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Really interesting premise in this thread, and cool to see all those quotes gathered in one place which you do notice when you read old reviews from the early noughties.

About oldschool goa aging like fine wine - from the perspective of more novice ears that only discovered goa around 2010, I often found those comments about certain albums sounding "dated" to be confusing. My perception of what sounds "dated" and not doesn't match up with reviewers back at the time. Juno Reactor, X-Dream, Astral Projection can have a sound which feels very dated to me (not necessarily in a bad way!). Other artists from the late 90s can still sound shockingly fresh: Koxbox, Sandman, Pigs in Space for example.

I can't particularly highlight what features of the music create those effects though; just a function of the scenes and production you've been exposed to?

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On 12/6/2019 at 2:26 PM, Oopie said:

Psytrance!

Just think about the word for a while... there's a lot to this term that is yet to be heard. However, the mainstream artists are, in my humble opinion, not the ones who I look to see whether there's some progression happening or not. (Because it's a little bit about the money and that kinda kills the best vibe of any artist).

In the end I think if it's about a human being expressing his/her soul.... we'll always get to hear something fresh and new every once in a while.  I couldn't tell when and where however :)

what he said!

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Thumbs up for Cybernetika :+1:
Started as a poster here, became an artist, got ripped off by Wirikuta ... yet still managed to get around...

On topic, just a side remark: I think that the "big PAs", which are mentioned up there only briefly, play a bigger role aswell .. the sound becomes shaped to sound good on these, so they influence our sound quite a lot imo.
Was at a party at a "psy trance historic location" (I'd say for myself) the other day ... lo and behold, I didn't recognize the sound much anymore ... it was much louder and much more polished than I ever heard it there. Not bad, but different. If you'd ask me right there on the spot, I'd tell you that a lot has changed since 2016 for example ... yes, it kinda was a similar sound, but the refinement is much more in detail now...
And the noise level was another thing. Boy oh boy, that was loud. Never registered before to that extent. My car made no noise as I started it afterwads, didn't hear the engine, had to look at the rev counter all the time...

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13 hours ago, RTP said:

I think that the "big PAs", which are mentioned up there only briefly, play a bigger role aswell .. the sound becomes shaped to sound good on these, so they influence our sound quite a lot imo.
Was at a party at a "psy trance historic location" (I'd say for myself) the other day ... lo and behold, I didn't recognize the sound much anymore ... it was much louder and much more polished than I ever heard it there. Not bad, but different. If you'd ask me right there on the spot, I'd tell you that a lot has changed since 2016 for example ... yes, it kinda was a similar sound, but the refinement is much more in detail now...

Yes, it seems that psytrance has pretty much become "sound engineer's" music. At least the mainstream forms of it indeed sound super polished, processed and engineered, often at the expense of musical qualities (imo, of course, but I mostly listen to psytrance at home, and I have much more troubles with finding tracks I actually like among the recent releases compared to, say, 2005-2015. Maybe I'm getting old tho).

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On 12/10/2019 at 11:57 AM, recursion loop said:

Yes, it seems that psytrance has pretty much become "sound engineer's" music. At least the mainstream forms of it indeed sound super polished, processed and engineered, often at the expense of musical qualities (imo, of course, but I mostly listen to psytrance at home, and I have much more troubles with finding tracks I actually like among the recent releases compared to, say, 2005-2015. Maybe I'm getting old tho).

thats so true.. ALOT of music, i mean at least the big bulk of it that we can agree is a bit "generic" sounding; for that music the main goal seems to be surgically perfected sounds; and the loudness to be pushed to absolute limits. Thats definitely making the music suffer :(

 

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On 12/5/2019 at 12:29 PM, dhollmusik said:

I disagree that in 2019 everything has been done.  I linked a few examples where psy-trance could radically go.  (...) I think also (...) with Sectio Aurea and of course Psykovsky there is some ambition there to create new types of psy-trance.

 

On 12/5/2019 at 11:28 AM, recursion loop said:

This is as far as I can deviate from my comfort zone

Psykowsky sounds new/different/... like out of the borders to my ears. Kashyyyk also in a way. More projects like this? I mean no psykowsky-like but rather "radically" different from what is commonly heard (and appreciated for that matter)?

 

 

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