2 posts tagged

Psytrance Guide

Psytrance Guide FAQ

With the introduction of Psytrance Guide, I get asked a lot of question and most of them repeat. To make things easier both for you and myself, I’ll put answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here. This section will be updated over time, so please come back later as well.

1. What the logic behind all genre names?
Since most of those subgenres have no “official” names, everything on that site is a subject of my personal vision and experience in the Psy scene. However, I did my best and researched a bunch of niche community websites to make sure that I’m not alone in that thinking, and I will keep continuing making it more accurate.

2. Why do you call Psychedelic and Psytrance different subgenres? Isn’t it is the same? Are you mad?
Well, it’s just the way I’ve been tagging my DJ collection for years: all 144—148 BPM I call either “Psychedelic” or “Uptempo Psy” (e. g. like some tracks of Braincell or Tristan), and 138—142 BPM I call simply “Psytrance” (e. g. like some tracks of Relativ or Sonic Species). I know it might sound confusing, but somehow it feels right to me. If you have a better suggestion, feel free to contribute.

3. I’m an artist and I don’t see my name mentioned there. Do you think I’m worth it?!
This guide is a styles overview with a couple of references for those who’d like to find more, not A to Z catalogue of artists or labels. Sorry if I wasn’t clear about that in the first place. I’ll definitely add more names over time, but there’s no space to mention everyone, it’s not the site purpose. PsyDB and Discogs work just fine with that.

4. I’m a label representative and you mentioned our label name only in Psytrance while we also release Full-on, Psychedelic, and Dark Psy. Can you add our label to all of these genres to make it more accurate?
No. Most labels release music in few different subgenres, some even in 4-5. Mentioning the same label multiple times would create too many duplicated links, and I wouldn’t like to do that. However, I can move your label from one subgenre to another one or just don’t mention it at all, if you want to.

5. Artists mentioned in the Psytrance aren’t accurate, Lyktum, Vertical Mode, Lifeforms, Relativ etc. are all Progressive!
Not really. Please take a read my thoughts on Progressive music, or why Progressive Psy tracks you know are probably not Progressive at all.

6. Where is 200+ BPM Psycore?
At this moment, Psycore is mentioned in the Hi-Tech section. I know it’s not quite correct, so I’ll definitely separate these two in the near future.

7. Where is Dark Progressive?
Dark Progressive aka Zenonsque is currently mentioned in the Minimal Psy section, however, adding it as a separate subgenre is on my future plans list.

8. I don’t like the way you named all these genres!
I’m sorry to hear that. I’m open for suggestions and willing to make this guide more accurate, so if you have some constructive criticism feel free to drop me a line.

9. I would like to propose a correction / I have an idea how to make the guide better, how can I contribute?
Please send it to mail@daniellesden.com.

To be continued.

Aug 10   Psytrance Guide

What is Progressive

Or why Progressive Psy tracks you know are probably not Progressive at all

A few days ago I introduced Psytrance Guide and got tons of feedback. Most people are happy with subgenre names, some few are pissed-off. That’s fine.

But what’s interesting is that quite a lot of people were saying that the audio samples I’ve put in the Psytrance subgenre are actually Progressive Psy and not Psytrance. It’s not the first time when I see this misconception, so today I’d like to talk more about this and explain why this is wrong.

What does Progressive mean

First things first, the word “progressive” is an adjective that gives some quality characteristics to the noun. In music, the words like this were introduced to describe a certain mood of the genre, for example:

Deep House
Hard Techno
Uplifting Trance
Progressive Psy

Eventually, these words became part of the genre names, but their original meaning hasn’t changed.

Talking about progressive specifically, it gives a sense of... well, you guessed it, — progression. Whereas in some other genres you just want to skip forward and finally listen to “that drop”, in Progressive music that sense of progression and immersive building-up is the goal itself. It’s very consistent, often with no climax or big emotional peaks which other genres typically have.

And the difference is not only in aesthetic. In progressive music, a sequence (whether it be a melody or, let’s say, a pad) lasts much longer, sometimes it can go pretty much the entire track duration as the opposite to non-progressive music which typically changes sequences every 16 or 32 bars.

In House and Trance

Before we get into Progressive Psy, let’s take a look at some progressive examples in other genres first.

This is a proper Progressive House:

See how smooth and straightforward these tracks are? If you just scrabble through you might think that nothing really happens in these tracks, it’s just the same loop keep going. But if you listen carefully from start to finish, you’ll notice how one layers builds-up over another, how it all sums up together in a mesmerising experience. This is what Progressive is all about.

Now let’s take a look at more trancy examples:

I intentionally put so different tracks here. As you can hear they vary in tempo and rhythmic patterns, however, each of these tracks has a clear sense of progression and slow build-up over time.

In Psytrance

As we approaching Psytrance territory, let’s take a listen to some older iconic tracks that widely considered as the roots of the Progressive Psy subgenre:

And here is some proper Progressive Psy of the present days:

As you can hear, the production quality certainly get better over the past decade, and Progressive Psy as a subgenre has evolved becoming more dancefloor-focused. But the thing is, it still has the same smooth and straightworad progression just like the older Progressive Psy of the 00’s and just like both Progressive House and Progressive Trance. And that’s the key point.

On a contrast, here is what many people tend to believe Progressive Psy is:

You probably realise by now that this is not Progressive despite it share a similar tempo range and even the same driving bassline. The last track above might be especially tricky because it’s a remix of a Progressive tune, but don’t get confused: that climax by the end clearly puts it out of the Progressive territory.

Psytrance like this usually has much more prominent leads and overall more “occupied” sound spectrum with filtered leads, textures, acid riffs, one-shots, and special effects. Also, Psytrance typically has more beat interruptions, transitions, and breakdowns; one lead can start and in 16 bars after a totally different lead might come instead.

I hope now you see the difference that simply because a track has 136 to 138 BPM it doesn’t automatically put it into Progressive area.

I call everyone to love music regardless of its genre name, but since we have to use some names for our verbal and written communication with each other to describe music, let’s use the right names then.

Aug 9   Progressive House   Progressive Psy   Progressive Trance   Psytrance Guide