putting the psy in psytrance

spork Aug 30, 2004

  1. spork

    spork token aussie

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    hey all

    i was just wondering what you guys think makes psychadelic music psychadelic. im trying to get a better understanding of what i think on this subject, and so id like to hear your opinions. i find it quite hard to articluate what i think, its a bit weird. i can hear something and think it sounds pretty psy, but actually describing it is uh, interesting :Smile3:

    i think its a personal things, but here is my $0.02c. i think its when the music is tending towards one direction but heads somewhere else, be it with atmosphere and/or strange/wierd/organic sounds. in such a fashion it bends your head. even typing this im not happy with that, so you see my dilllema :Smile3:

    cheers
     
  2. oaf

    oaf Workhorse

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    Bubble & squeek!! :Smile3:
     
  3. Fromem_Ory

    Fromem_Ory Shantidisestablishment

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    i think trancey states are a good start. which are brought on by very loopy and repetitive music. i think one of the best psychedelic tricks, and one of the coolest things about psytrance, is the amount of sounds which sound like living animals or even humans. little squeaks and squelches, pitch-bending human voice samples, and those noises which sound like the psychedelic version of when arnie falls into the lava at the end of terminator 2 hehe, the best example i've heard is the intro to fatali-'ultrasmooth', its like the music is meltingly giving birth to little creatures. sounds which you can get lost in, and filter sweeps, you have to listen to psytrance on acid or something hallucinogenic to explain/describe/know how trippy good psytrance is. :goodthre:
     
  4. RezN8

    RezN8 Ave it !!!!!!

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    A musical kaleidoscope...

    The acid test (sorry :P ) is to close your eyes - where does the music take you?
     
  5. soliptic

    soliptic whirling mathematician

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    well quite.

    hate to say it but imho this inevitably files under "stupid question".

    which isnt really an insult at all: kinda like genious and insanity, the stupidest questions are simultaneously the most important (and vice versa). in a way this is the most critical and important thing u could possibly ask about making psytrance, but really isnt it just so "zen" it becomes totally unanswerable ?

    i mean i could sit here and talk about sound design and structural conceits and so forth but the instant you give an analytical example of something psychadelic, doesnt that pretty much drain all the psychadelic from it ? :blink:

    all in all i cant think of much useful to say, except two things which are unfortunately total flamebait....(tho i dont mean them to be)

    1. psytrance isnt always the most psychadelic music out there, its not even necessarily all that psychadelic at all. in fact, a great deal of output seems almost entirely psychadelia-free to me.... especially these days :huh:

    just like "drumnbass" isnt purely composed of drum'n'bass, so psytrance isnt purely composed of psychadelia and trance.... music has this habit of evolving away from attempts to name it :hehe:

    this isnt a value judgement btw.

    2. i dont think you can really appreciate the psychadelic aspects of music without experiencing it in a psychadelic state. ie, for all intents and purposes - on psychadelic drugs. yes, for the nitpickers, certain lucky people can meditate their way there, blah blah blah. overall, though, i'd have to contend that you cant really claim to know what psytrance on mushies is like, other than by hearing psytrance on mushies. you might have got somewhere your own way, but not the same place.

    again, not a value judgement :Smile3:
     
  6. soliptic

    soliptic whirling mathematician

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    you're onto something there........ that definitely gives me an idea :Wink3:

    psytrance = psy + trance

    trance = what you just said. lots of repetition & predictability, lots of "patience" in the composition, lots of subtely, familiarity, sense of 'settled'/'resolved', the comfortable delivery of expectations, etc, etc

    well 'psy' is the yang to this yin .... to me, about the only plain english way i can encapsulate "psychadelic", to me, is as in "far out" , "does not compute", "beyond or contrary to normal consciousness/logic", etc. so psy is the unpredictability, the surprise, the sketchiness, the dissonence/unresolved/wrongness, the subversion, etc.

    for me, psytrance at its best is absolutely epitomised by an amazing night out i had a few years back with a very loud and very sweet PA, a great dj and some mushies in my belly... where i truly twigged onto that beautiful balance between the two sides, and how mind-blowing it can be when got absolutely right. the solid throb of the kick + bass felt in my body, and the unmistakable 4/4 meter at an anthropologically classic tempo, for the 'trance' bit... and the never-before-heard noises that go slowly wandering and evolving and playing around the top end fascinating my childish mind, the "snap-out" shocks of unexpected breaks, silences and switch-ups for the 'psy' bit.
     
  7. RezN8

    RezN8 Ave it !!!!!!

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    By way of a contrast Spork, listen to this mid 90s offering - http://psy-forum.co.uk/psyforum/viewtopic.php?t=9781 - and make up your own mind. Man, that stuff floats my boat :wub:

    Although, once the door *has* been opened, it gradually requires less and less effort to push it open... :Wink3:
     
  8. soliptic

    soliptic whirling mathematician

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    yeah, thats something i definitely agree with :Smile3:
     
  9. Fromem_Ory

    Fromem_Ory Shantidisestablishment

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    definitely true about drugs... acid definitely makes psytrance better...
    when i first got into partying and psytrance, i would take acid pretty much at every party and the music would have that flangey/cybery/morningy/digitaly/shane gobi vs. cosma vs. rinkadink/phat fuckin quality to it (gobi/cosma/rink...falls into daydream). i didnt realise that it was the acid giving it the flangey and excessively psychedelic qualities. i thought that this music was the most underground ever cause i didnt have any tunes which did that thing.
    i've been heavily into psytrance for about 3 years and have never heard a single track which did it anywhere other than a party. thats because the music isnt doing that, its the drug giving it that extra push. for anyone who says "i've never done a hallucinogen, but i can see why psytrance is so trippy"... nah. it can still be good, great actually, but IMHO hallucinogens do make the music so much better.
    unfortunately, over a year and a half ago i had a very traumatic acid trip. it took me ages to rebuild the pieces. still not all there... i've stopped all drugs except alcohol, because i simply cant trust myself to do drugs which last more than 30 seconds. psytrance lost that quality to it completely. i still love psytrance, alot, but every day the memories of what the music sounded like become hazier and hazier. thats why i call myself Fromem Ory, cause i'm making psytrance according to the memories of those amazing experiences. they're all i've got to work with, if thats not too cliche...
    regarding acid and the possibilty that i'll never do it again, or any hallucinogen, yet still wanting to get that sound, what advice (or sympathy :P) can people give?
    ...full flight...
    off to work for a month, see you lovely forumers soon :Smile3:
     
  10. jsainsbury

    jsainsbury Forum Addict

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    16ths
    fillters
    movement
     
  11. spork

    spork token aussie

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    hey guys

    thanks for you responses, ive only been listening to psy for a few years and its been interesting reading.

    not at all. its so nice to find a forum where people can be honest without tears.

    i think as a musician (and sorry if this sounds pretentious :P) im trying to express whats inside me, and hopefully people will enjoy it. i feel a bit limited at the moment, kinda like learning a new language where you know what you want to say but not how to say it. i think what you're saying is pretty spot on though. id hate to see psy forced into a box, and theres plenty of examples of people who became kinda trapped in their own styles and lost it. i think kaleidoscope is a pretty cool description too.

    its an interesting point about the drugs. ive had some awesome nights at parties, good friends, good music and you feel so refreshed the next day. mmmmmm yay. for some reason, and i think it only happens to me,
    i have a lot of trouble remembering the night, drugs send me far away, so i dont really end up remembering the music. in a way thats cool though, cause i can certainly remember the feelings of the night, and they're pretty good memories to have.

    anyway, im starting to ramble, thanks for the comments, sehr spiff!
     
  12. duBaHoliKc

    duBaHoliKc Junior Members

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    absolutely true! which taps into something i never quite realized:: why does psy-trance (and other psychedelic electronic dance forms like good jungle) sound so much more intense when one consumes LSD?

    seems to me LSD enhances any artform because it enables the listener / viewer to delve more deeply into the artistic experience - increasing his/her perception & realization of subtleties within the medium. the artform is understood in a much different context.

    so acid will thus enhance any particular artform, regardless of its being "good" or "bad" art, because the perception of the viewer/listener is changed.

    trance as a genre is the "trippiest" of dance music because it's based on repetition, and as long as there's nothing offensive (un-psychedelic) within the music it works well in conjunction with acid (or, of course, ecstacy), bringing the listener into a state of mind that no other music can produce.
    the most psychedelic of trance music will in effect play with the listener while he/she is entranced - sneaking in never-before-heard sounds, slowly morphing filter sweeps, intense beat switch-ups, or unexpected sonic twists!

    to me that's the most psychedelic of trance music. the kind that actually takes control of your brain and brings it through a sonic roller coaster ride. it's the acid that allows you to relinquish control of your brain for the time being & let the music guide you...

    however you don't, of course, need LSD to experience psytrance music at this level.
    if the conditions are right (music is trancey enough, vibe / atmosphere are good, etc) and you already know how to relinquish control of your mind to trance, then you should be able to experience this on its own.
    acid is just a damn good catalyst..... :sun:
     
  13. Reconstructed

    Reconstructed Member

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    Just copying my older post because it is more relevant here:

    Opionion alert, don't want to step on anyones toes....

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I was struck the other day by how utterly un-psychadelic almost all psytrance is. The more I think about it, the more I realize it is true.

    To me, psychadelic music is the kind that takes you on journeys, alters your perception, fiddles with your neurons and shows your audiovisual landscapes. I find absolutely nothing of this sort in dancefloor-oriented psytrance. How am I suppose to be musically tripping when all I can hear is an obnoxious, overly compressed kick drum throbbing away and a boring, repetitive, uninspired bassline? Sure, producers throw in a bunch of cliched filter sweeps and squelching noises, but that isn't psychadelic. That is just repackaging the stuff that was actually original back in the early 90s. To whom are we kidding when we put the 'psy' in psytrance?

    The thing that bothers me is that psytrance (in general) is so in love with itself that we pretend that this is some kind of cutting edge, psychadelic exploration into inner worlds. Come on, give me a damn break. It is just the standard boom, boom, boom fare found in all other electronic dance music with a false spiritual image forced on its listeners. Throw in a bunch of poorly chopped up samples about how "I am going totally insane crazy," *cue* break, repeat catch line of sample, snare roll, then back into the same used chorus in what is considered the "climax." This is the standard fare. That isn't psychadelic. To me it just sounds like a genre that is collapsing in on itself from producers who are inspired by music that sounds, more or less, exactly like their own.

    Now listen to Shpongles "Star Shpongled Banner" or Shulman's "The Unexpected Visitor" THIS is psychadelic to me. I know it is because every time I listen to these tracks, I close my eyes and am taken on a completely new and interesting journey. There is no standard build, break, build, chorus structure and repetitive, overly quantized grooves. They have influences that don't include a 4/4 kick drum. Sounds have texture and feeling. There is musicality too! To think, you could create music that actually contains harmonies and melodies, and it could still be psychadelic. Unheard of!

    I got into psytrance the same way I'm willing to bet a lot of other folk here did. Listening to old Astral Projection and Hallucinogen. I was blown away by how new and different this music is. After some years though I'm not so much blown away by it anymore but more utterly bored. I don't even bother trying to stay current with psytrance anymore. Just skip right by all the boomboom on psyshop into the world and chillout section. I actually like to be taken on journeys when listening to psychadelic music (or any music for that matter) so I'll be happy with the likes of Shulman, Kaya Project, Ott, Toires and thousands of others - you know, people who make their own music without asking first "Is what I'm creating, what is suppose to be the actual sonic reflection of my self, exactly what is expected and marketable? Will this sound close enough to everything else to be played in a club? Is the BPM between 137 and 145?" Pah!
     
  14. soliptic

    soliptic whirling mathematician

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    yeah incredibly agreed with the bulk of that.

    to me, it just 'codified' itself (like any genre does), and codification is inherently the enemy of psychadelia

    the strange tweaks, noises and fx (which i'm sure people first put in exactly because they were entirely new and different) eventually became part of the 'standard' - practically a required component of "psytrance" - which you now here in practically every track.
     
  15. Marc

    Marc Scratchadelica

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    Hey interesting topic :Smile3: .. Yeah the whole repetition thing is intersting...

    looking at the dictionary definition of psycehdelic :

    psychedelic
    adjective
    1 (of a drug) causing effects on the mind, such as feelings of deep understanding or seeing strong images:
    psychedelic drugs

    I think the heavy use of delay/reverb used in psycehdelic music for me ties in with the large part trails and repepition play in visualtions when you are in a psycehdelic state. This also comes through in thoughts processes too as Im sure we all know :Grin:

    peace,
    marc
     
  16. RedZebra

    RedZebra Member

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    Interesting idea that the delays and stuff mirror visual trails and things. Hadn't thought about that.

    I think, like someone said, psytrance is "trance" (ie: repetive beats at the frequency of a fast heart beat, and strong bass to hook your body and make you move your feet) + "psy"... which is the interesting bit :Grin:

    And for what "psy" is I think you just have to listen to someone like Hallucinogen or Infected Mushroom - they often start off with a "normal" melody and sounds, and then iit all FLIPS OUT, and goes "psychedelic"! Weird flanging and backwards-reverb etc etc... and that's the bit that's playing with your mind - amazing you with sounds you've never heard before, to match the sights you've never seen before!!

    hmm.. I need a party now! :Smile3:
     
  17. Faction

    Faction Proto-col

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    www.wynja.com/arch/entdiag.html

    Entoptic images are visuals often experienced in trance states and the above link is a diagram showing how they have been represented by various shamanic cultures in their rock-art through different periods of human history.

    I believe that psychedelic music incorporates entoptics in an audible form:
    Evenly spaced dots = percussion (particularly kick drum and hi-hats)
    Wavy lines = filter sweeps and other timbral changes
    Zigzag lines = arpeggios
    Dashed or broken lines = gated sounds
    Branching lines or repeated shapes = repeating melodies more complex than simple arpeggios

    Note also that these themes are often depicted in a repeated manner, which I believe corresponds to the use of echo.

    Perhaps it might be more accurate to say that both the visual and audio representations of entoptics share a 'common ancestor' in that they are both abstractions of something deeper? I don't know.

    This idea was inspired by the book "Images of Power" by Lewis-Williams & Dowson; it contains a good rendition of some simple entoptics that I immediately felt were very clearly related to elements of trance music.
     
  18. RedZebra

    RedZebra Member

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    Wow, Collin that's really cool!

    So then you can "decode" or rather translate a piece of music into drawing - or cive versa. Kind of like synaesthesia.

    Bu then all music is kind of tapping into a primitive consciousness.

    When did human cultures develop music? Was it the same time they started doing rock art?


    hmm think I must go and meditate on this :Grin:
     
  19. evilwill

    evilwill definitely

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    hmm, someone give me something to make me see what i hear and hear what i see (no really, please!) and i'll get back to you on that one colin... sounds interesting...
     
  20. Marc

    Marc Scratchadelica

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    Interesting colin - specially the repeatted pattern / arpeggio thang. However check the commentary on the theory that 'entoptic' images are trance/altered-state related...

    http://www.wynja.com/arch/entoptic.html

    ... theres a world of speculation going on by the looks of things :/

    Shifting the goalposts slightly on this one - how would you define the properties of music that *isnt* psychedelic ? :Smile3:

    peace,
    marc
     
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