Psychedelic trance

subgenre of trance music

Psychedelic trance or psytrance, is a subgenre of trance music characterized by special types of rhythms and several surfaces of melodies and high tempo riffs.[2][4] The musical style offers variety in terms of mood, tempo, and style.

Goa trance came before psytrance; when digital media became more commonly used- psytrance evolved. Goa continues to develop alongside the other genres.[2]


VooV Experience 2005 – one of the longest-existing psytrance open-air events



The first hippies who came to the city of Goa, in India in the middle of the 1960s ,came there for several reasons: the beaches, the low cost of living, the friendly local people, the Indian religious and spiritual practices and the accessible cannabis, which until the mid-1970s was completely legal.[5]

During the 1970s the first Goa DJs were generally playing music by psychedelic rock bands such as the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd and The Doors.

In 1979, the beginnings of electronic dance music could sometimes be heard in Goa in the form of music by artists such as Kraftwerk but only in 1983 that DJs Laurent and Fred Disko, closely followed by Goa Gil, began changing the Goa style over to electro-industrial/EBM which was at the time was controlling Europe.

The tracks were remixed, the lyrics were removed, the melodies and beats and generally controlling the sounds in all kinds of ways before the tracks were finally presented to the dancers as custom Goa-style mixes.[6]

An indoor event

By the beginning of the 90's Goa was starting to draw attention and had become a popular destination for people to party.

As the scene became bigger, Goa-style parties spread worldwide since 1993. Parties in the UK helped create several international labels in various countries (U.K. Australia, Japan, Germany and Israel) to promote psychedelic electronic music and local scenes that reflected the attitude and beliefs of Goa parties, Goa music, and Goa-specific artists, producers, and DJs.[7] Goa Trance as commercial scene began gaining global traction in 1994.

Performance at a Russian psytrance festival, 2008



Psychedelic trance has a unique, energetic sound, usually faster than other forms of trance or techno music with beats generally ranging from 135 and up to 150 BPM .

however some psytrance songs can also reach 190BPM, 200bpm, 210bpm and even 300bpm. It uses a very special bass beat that pounds the entire duration of the song and covers the bass with rhythms borrowed from funk, techno, dance, acid house, eurodance and trance using drums and other instruments. The different leads, rhythms and beats generally change every eight bars.[8] Layering is a technique used to create effect in psychedelic trance, with new musical ideas being added at regular intervals, often every four to eight bars. New layers will continue to be added until a climax is reached, and then the song will break down and start a new rhythmic pattern over the constant bass line. Psychedelic trance tracks tend to be six to ten minutes long. This includes a developed and atmospheric introduction, and a breakdown in the middle of the track of around 30 seconds to over a minute.



Psytrance festivals tend to be culturally and musically diverse.[9]

Earthdance, which is considered world's largest music and dance festival for peace, started from the psychedelic trance culture.[9]

At the 2004 Glastonbury Festival in the UK, psytrance was given a whole day on the Glade stage.[10]

The Boom Festival in Portugal began as a psytrance festival but has since adopted other styles such as world music. It is held in August every other year and combines social activism with cultural and spiritual elements.[11]

The Ozora Festival in Hungary is a music festival which focuses on art and emphasizes on connecting with nature and oneself. Psytrance is still very popular at this festival.[12]

In 2007- a research was conducted on the global psytrance scene. 600 people from 40 countries provided different detailed information via an online questionnaire.[13] The results were published as "Beyond Subculture and Post-subculture? The Case of Virtual Psytrance" in the Journal of Youth Studies.[14]

In 2012 Graham St. John published Global Tribe: Technology, Spirituality and Psytrance, Equinox. (ISBN 9781845539559).



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ishkur (2005). "Ishkur's guide to Electronic Music". Archived from the original on 18 November 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Graham St John (2010). The Local Scenes and Global Culture of Psytrance. ISBN 978-1136944345.
  3. "Goa Trance". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  4. "". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  5. "Le vie dei festival per i devoti psytrance – minima&moralia". 23 September 2016. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  6. Eugene ENRG (aka DJ Krusty) (2001). Graham St John (ed.). FreeNRG : notes from the edge of the dance floor (PDF). Altona, Victoria, Australia: Common Ground Pub. pp. 167–168. ISBN 978-1-86335-084-6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  7. Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. ISBN 9780571289141. Psy-trance is an 'equal opportunity' genre when it comes to making the music too: there are leading exponents of psychedelic trance operating in Israel, Australia, Sweden, Greece, Denmark.
  8. Trance music. A definition of genre. Archived 19 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Cardeña, Etzel; Michael Winkelman (2011). Altering Consciousness: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. pp. 212–213. ISBN 978-0313383083.
  10. Asthana, Anushka (4 April 2004). "Clubbers fall under spell of Psytrance". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  11. Gemma Bowes (20 April 2012). "Boom time: Portugal's top psytrance festival". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  12. "Bienvenue au festival Ozora, un "Tomorrowland" Hongrois à l'esprit très hippie". RTL Info. September 15, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  13. Heath, Sue; Rachel Brooks; Elizabeth Cleaver; Eleanor Ireland (2009). Researching Young People's Lives. Sage. p. 168. ISBN 978-1446203972. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  14. Tracey Greener & Robert Hollands (September 2006). "Beyond Subculture and Post-subculture? The Case of Virtual Psytrance". Ingentaconnect. 9 (4). Publishing Technology.: 393–418. doi:10.1080/13676260600914390.



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