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Development phase: Early 1990s
Place of origin: Goa
Instruments typical of the genre
Synthesizer · Sampler · drum machine · Sequencer · MIDI guitar · Percussion
Stylistic origin
Trance · Techno · EBM · Acid House · Space Rock / Psychedelic Rock · Tribal Music · Euro Beat

Psytrance (short for psychedelic trance , also Goa trance or Goa or hippie trance ) is a direction of electronic music and is a subgenre of trance music. It was named after outdoor trance parties in the Indian state in the late 1980s Goa ; however, the style of music was developed further, especially in Europe. Goa trance had its peak between 1994 and 1998, after which the style of music developed further under the name of psytrance . Although Goa in the music industry is largely influenced by psytrance and progressive trancewas displaced, there are still free Goa netlabels that have dedicated themselves to the original Goa trance.

Musical characteristics

Goa tries to meticulously simulate the neurological effects of LSD with the help of a constant big drum , "swirling" layers of staccato sounds with often Eastern tone scales, "otherworldly" sounds and hypnotic alternations of timbre . The music is composed of 4/4 beats between originally 130 and 150  bpm , meanwhile speeds of up to 180 bpm and more are also achieved. The kicks are much more energetic and compact than other trance styles. This creates a “stomping” character of the rhythm, which underlines the stomping dance in the sand or on the meadow. In addition, the music sees itself as quite experimental. Are popular Acid-trance -lines (originally by the TB-303 synthesizer) and other organic synthetic sounding noise. Vocals such as house are rarely used, but sometimes vocoder voices and vocals are incorporated. Occasionally, samples from movies or computer games are mixed in. However, it is still important to recognize the origin in the mediation of the electronic body music of that time, with world music - but primarily Indian sound elements. However, Kraftwerk should be mentioned as the forefathers of all electronic sounds, especially drum patterns . In the early days of Goa music, for example, Kraftwerk titles were mixed with classic Indian tapes - even before this type of party was celebrated in India.

The music is also influenced by the character of psychedelic rock or acid rock and the counterculture of the 1960s, which were often played with similar sound patterns and effects as early as the 1970s. The musical influence can also be seen in the fact that some bands also use electric guitars in addition to electronic sound generators. In addition to guitar amplifiers , guitarists also like to use MIDI- compatible pickups to pass guitar notes played to a synthesizer and play melodies that are hardly realizable with the help of a keyboard.

Often the pieces are 135 to 145 bpm and are 6 to 12 (usually around 7 to 8) minutes long and begin with around 30 seconds of atmospheric sounds, while the main part of the piece is divided into two halves and the second is the theme of the first rearranged, sometimes with changed bass tracks; most of them are placed on top of each other at the end of both halves, and there is often a transition or interlude between the two halves.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the music was characterized by the inclusion of acoustic ethnic elements with a psychedelic character. In a linear development towards the mid-1990s, the music was characterized by Indian melodies based on strong lead sounds from the synthesizers of the time - accompanied by acid sounds in the background and the bassline . Towards the end of the 1990s the music became a bit slower, more minimalistic and unmelodic, whereby the minimalistic trance was mostly accompanied by atmospheric and gloomy sounds with a high reverb component. By the mid-2000s, a style developed that incorporates elements from the dub and house area and appears very melodic.

Performers such as Raja Ram and Dominic Sangeet made use of techno instruments as well as wind and string instruments, or they work with musicians from outside the genre, so that on psytrance tracks, in addition to the obligatory technoid sound, set pieces from ambient , trip-hop , world music and many other areas can be found. Numerous new style names have been created for such free style mixtures, including: Darkpsy, Forest, Full-On, Goatrance, Dark Progressive, Psycore, Experimental Psytrance, Hi-Tech, Progressive, Offbeat, Suomi-saundi and Zenonesque.

As psychedelic chill-out is called a quieter version of psytrance. This usually dispenses with a straight 4/4 bass drum and focuses on spherical sounds.

Origin and origin

Lecture by Hans Cousto about the Goa and Psytrance culture

Between 1982 and 1985, DJs gradually gave up psychedelic rock and reggae and started playing electronic music in the places in Goa that were once frequented by hippie trail travelers . DJs like Goa Gil looked for the strangest parts of the songs and played them in repetitive loops; Music lovers took tapes from Goa and tried to replicate the experience of the outdoor events in their studios. In the early 1990s, the psytrance scene, which consisted mainly of foreign, often German and Israeli backpackers , began to separate itself as a sub-genre of the house and techno scene. Goa has its musical origins in the electronic body music of bands like Nitzer Ebb , Front 242 and Front Line Assembly as well as the Eurobeat , which found their way to Goa and were played there at non-commercial, spontaneous meetings. Dropouts and party tourists, who had previously found a place for their lifestyle that was free of laws and norms, now preferred to go to Goa.

While numerous techno records were released in the early 1990s, publications in the field of Goa music were initially rare. Initially , the producers mostly recorded their productions on DAT , which they transferred to the DJs. There were a few releases on record labels that represented different directions. The first Goa labels specializing in this style of music were founded around 1993. These included Dragonfly, Spiritzone, TIP, XL Recordings , Blueroom Released, Transient and Flying Rhino. Around 1995 the Goa trance reached its peak.

Artists such as Martin "Youth" Glover ( Killing Joke ), Martin Freeland ( Man With No Name ), Simon Posford (Hallucinogen), Astral Projection , Koxbox , Juno Reactor , Astralasia , SUN Project , Infected Mushroom , GMS established the "Psytrance" Goa parties.

Glover was the managing director of a record label called Butterfly Records, which released experimental productions from the post-punk area with electronic influence. Since he had been receiving demo tapes from the Goa area more and more frequently, he decided to found a sub-label called Dragonfly Records. Ultimately, this sub-label boomed, while the mother label Butterfly brought hardly any new releases and was shut down a few years later.

After the founding of Dragonfly, more Goa labels were founded within a short period of time, as new productions increased steadily.


Meet the Goa scene at the VooV festival

The Goa culture, which was influenced by backpackers and hippies who emigrated during the 1960s and is still based in India today, propagates a life-affirming view and is strongly linked to the ideas and symbols of the 1968 movement . In addition to the music, elements from the lifestyle of Middle and Far Eastern peoples, a closeness to nature and an art that combines Buddhist influences with the flower power time and modern paintings belong to this philosophy. The documentary Last Hippie Standing gives an insight into the genesis of the scene .

The scene, originally based in Goa around Anjuna and Vagator, moved away after package tourism increasingly established itself in the area and the Indian government carried out reforms that restricted the freedoms of dropouts living there. In December 2005, the then Goan Chief Minister Wilfred D'Souza passed a law prohibiting rave and trance parties and public parties in general on beaches after 10 p.m. The subculture shifted from Goa to Europe and Israel. So-called Goa parties were taking place more and more frequently throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region.

However, since isolated parties continued into the night, which were associated with the sale and consumption of drugs, and the law prohibiting such events after 10 p.m. was not consistently implemented, the topic came up again in April 2017. The Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources, Vinod Palyekar, again called for a ban. Corresponding late-night events are not part of Indian culture and should be stopped immediately, said the minister. They would also pose a problem for older residents and students in the examination phase. A few days later, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar referred to the existing ban.

Since the 1990s, a worldwide scene of lovers of this type of music has formed. In addition to Israel and Germany, there are also many supporters of the movement in England , Scandinavia , Switzerland and other parts of Europe. In South America , Africa , and Eastern Europe also scenes developed in the following years.

Only in the USA is the Goa scene hardly present; only a few events take place on the west coast and in the New York area . In some other European countries, such as Austria , France , Italy and the Czech Republic , the Freetekno movement partly took the place of the musically related Goa scene. However, essential differences can be found in the different self-image and appearance of the Freetekno community. The majority of the Freetekno scene continues to operate underground and, by definition, does not allow commercialization , as it has already begun with Goa.

Over time, the Goa parties attracted increasing audiences from the techno scene, which further developed both the events and the music. The music became increasingly minimalist and non-melodic towards the end of the 1990s, and techno and progressive house releases were also included at Goa parties. During this time the name Psytech was created for this monotonous, cooler and often harder variant of psytrance, which also delimited this subgenre from the warmer and more organic trance.

Events and festivals

Under the open sky
In a closed room

The events known as Goa parties often stretch over several days. In summer, most Goa parties take place outdoors on beaches, in forests or occasionally in the mountains. The visitors are usually given the opportunity to camp on the event site. Part of several events is a “ chill-out ” area, in which quieter music is played and chai is often served.
While the prices for admission and drinks used to be usually lower than for trance parties in techno clubs , they have risen significantly in recent years, especially at the big events.

Within the Goa movement, respect and tolerance towards other people and the environment are understood as fundamental values ​​and expressed in peaceful coexistence at the events.

The scene is heterogeneous in terms of social and national origin, age and clothing. The audience is made up of both young people influenced by techno culture and hippies . For events lasting several days, areas are usually reserved for toddlers so that parents can visit. Larger events often have an international audience.

Since there are no official Goa parties in many places, private or non-registered Goa parties are often held. These events usually take place in forest clearings, castle ruins or - in the tradition of techno raves - in old factory buildings.

In some of these outdoor - music festival is no longer being played exclusively psytrance, but set several dance floors on which find different styles of music space.

The European Goa scene experienced its peak, both in creativity and excess, especially in relation to intoxication , volume and spirituality , between 1993 and 1998. A center of European Goa was the discos “Cult” in Arnsberg and the “Grube “In Winterberg-Siedlinghausen (both in the Sauerland ). The scene also expanded noticeably further into the Ruhr area and was z. B. to be found in the "Zeche" in Essen . The largest events of this kind take place today in northern Germany and eastern Germany and sometimes reach visitor numbers from 10,000 to 35,000, such as the former VooV Experience Festival, the Shiva-Moon formerly held in Germany and the former Lovefield Festival . A longstanding international center of the Goa scene in southern Germany was the techno club Natraj Temple in Munich.

The beach parties in Goa, the origin of this party culture, still and especially again attract tourists to the smallest Indian state. After the terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008 in Mumbai , however, they were temporarily banned for fear of further attacks. The Goa scene is now heading towards new highlights every season between December and March.

The larger Goa festivals in Germany include a. Antaris Project , Fullmoon Festival , Gathering of the Tribes , Tshitraka Project , VuuV Festival , Indian Spirit and Waldfrieden Wonderland .

The Boom Festival in Portugal , the Ozora Festival in Hungary , Universo Paralello in Brazil and the Summer Never Ends Festival in Switzerland are of particular international importance . A very significant event is Earthdance , a benefit party that takes place around the world at the same time.

Smaller festivals, on the other hand, are set up for specific areas of Goa culture, which are more familiar and spiritual. Spiritual healers, yoga teachers, alternative artists and masseurs are part of the side program and determine the target group, for example at the New Healing Festival in Gerdshagen.


Fluorescent colors are often used at Psytrance events - both in clothing and in decoration . Pictures mostly depict subjects such as aliens, fairy tale characters ( gnomes , elves or forest spirits ), hallucinogenic mushrooms and motifs and symbols from Hinduism , Buddhism , Shivaism or shamanism or various mandalas ( see also: Techno-Art ).


Since Goa parties are characterized by trance and meditation-like states of the dancers and psychedelic sensory impressions through music and art installations, hallucinogenic drugs are also ascribed an influential role.

In relation to Goa parties, law enforcement authorities complain about the increased consumption and trade in illegal narcotics, which is why several corresponding events are accompanied by police measures. In order to counteract a drug problem, on the other hand, organizers prefer to cooperate with drug checking and aid organizations such as Eclipse , Alice or Eve & Rave , which provide educational work and are committed to drug empowerment and risk minimization.

In this context, cannabis and hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD and hallucinogenic mushrooms , which contain the active ingredients psilocin or psilocybin , but also drugs such as MDMA , amphetamines , cocaine or ketamine are discussed . Likewise legal drugs such as betel nut , guarana or herbal ecstasy .

Differentiation between different types of play

Goa and Progressive Psytrance

The term psychedelic trance or psytrance was later introduced as a synonym for Goa or Goa trance, as the scene in Goa no longer existed and the reference in the name appeared questionable due to the changes. Regardless of the term used, however, music went through a constant and clearly audible process of change from 1990 to today.

A precise distinction between Psytrance and Goa is not possible today, because the Psytrance musicians were often Goa veterans and vice versa, Psytrance tracks were part of the Goa DJ's repertoire. The scene that develops around the two terms is also largely identical.

Many people use the two terms psytrance and Goa synonymously today, while others regard Goa as a subgenre of psytrance. The classic (“old school”) Goa sound can be found in the more melodic, often oriental-influenced pieces of the 1990s; newer productions are mostly called Psytrance, which was originally used mainly by producers from England. In addition, there is New School Goa, which has retained the sound of the original Goa, i.e. is only produced in a younger and perhaps more modern way. Well-known performers are for example Khetzal, Filteria, Arronax and E-Mantra.

Another distinction is made within the scene between psychedelic trance and progressive psytrance .

Progressive psytrance differs from psychedelic trance mainly in speed. Progressive Psytrance is more likely to be played in the lower ranges of the specified speed range. Furthermore, one uses less of the above-mentioned TB-303 melodies and instead uses individual noises that create more atmosphere. While progressive appears rather melodious and slightly monotonous, psytrance appears more machine-based and varied. Both directions have the strongly compressed kick, a "rolling" or "offbeat" bass line in common.

The differentiation between these styles is very difficult, as both styles have continuously developed over time, which means that newer and older productions of the same style have only limited similarities.

Sub-genres include Old School, New School, Dark Psytrance, also called Darkpsy, Hi-Tech, Full On, Nitzhonot, Uplifting, Progressive Psytrance, and Psychedelic Breakbeat. The DJs usually choose a direction that they stick to their set .

Psychedelic trance and psychedelic rock

Since the beginning of the 1970s there have been varieties of Psychedelic Rock whose characteristic features are very similar to Psytrance and have also made use of synthesizer sounds since the emergence of Progressive Rock . Musicians like Martin "Youth" Glover or Steve Hillage created musical concepts through experimental rock productions in the early to mid-1970s, which had a significant impact on early Psytrance productions in particular - especially space rock and acid rock. Some older generation psytrance producers have worked on psychedelic rock productions in the past or are still doing so today.

Today there are both psytrance projects that integrate various elements of rock music into their music (e.g. SUN Project , Infected Mushroom , Electric Universe) and bands that combine goa-heavy synthesizer sounds with psychedelic guitar riffs (e.g. . Acid Mothers Temple , Electric Moon , Ozric Tentacles , 35007 , Hidria Spacefolk, Quantum Fantay). Nevertheless, these music productions, which at first glance appear to be characteristically similar, are published on different labels, sorted into different subjects in the record stores and mostly perceived by different target groups. A combination of these two psychedelic music scenes was the small Occultrance Festival in Belgium, which in 2011 combined an old school goatrance floor with a space and psychedelic rock stage. In the same year the Ozric Tentacles also played at the Ozora Festival in Hungary. Nevertheless, psychedelic and space rock are more widespread in the “traditional” hippie scene (e.g. Burg-Herzberg-Festival ) and rarely find their way into Goa culture, even if both have very similar demands and the audience largely is identical.

However, the two directions can be clearly distinguished from each other by the fact that electronic beats are used in psytrance productions, which should also sound electronic, while conventional drums are primarily used in space and acid rock productions.

Web links

Commons : Psytrance  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Eugene ENRG (aka DJ Krusty): Psychic Sonics: Tribadelic Dance Trance formation . Eugene ENRG (aka DJ Krusty) interviews Ray Castle (PDF; 4.0 MB). In: Graham St John: FreeNRG . Notes from the Edge of the Dance Floor , p. 265.
  2. a b Arun Saldanha: Goa trance and trance in Goa: smooth striations . In: Graham St. John: Rave Culture and Religion. Taylor & Francis e-Library 2005, p. 273.
  3. ^ Graham St John, Chiara Baldini: Dancing at the Crossroads of Consciousness: Techno-Mysticism, Visionary Arts and Portugal's Boom Festival . In: Carole M. Cusack, Alex Norman: Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV 2002, p. 531.
  4. Varun Desai: All in the Name of Psy . In: Hub , p. 69.
  5. a b Laura Doan, Jay Prosser: What Matters? . Ethnographies of Value in a Not So Secular Age . New York: Columbia University Press 2012, p. 254.
  6. Kenny Easwaran: Psytrance and the Spirituality of Electronics ( Memento June 8, 2011 in the Internet Archive ).
  7. ^ Liquid Crystal Vision.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: 2Template: Dead Link /  
  8. Eugene ENRG (aka DJ Krusty): Psychic Sonics: Tribadelic Dance Trance formation . Eugene ENRG (aka DJ Krusty) interviews Ray Castle (PDF; 4.0 MB). In: Graham St John: FreeNRG . Notes from the Edge of the Dance Floor , p. 251.
  9. Goa bans rave, trance parties , (English)
  10. There is legal ban on holding parties after 10 pm in Goa, says CM Manohar Parrikar ,
  11. Will stop late night parties in 2 weeks: Vinod Palyekar ,
  12. Country: Germany. In: Mushroom Magazine. May 1, 2013, accessed March 4, 2017 .
  13. David Weigend: The dead raven longer. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , May 11, 2010.
  14. Karin Steinberger: Traveling to Goa - dancing prohibited. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , December 22, 2008.
  15. Christoph Trost: Goa parties: return to hippie ecstasy. In: Stern , September 4, 2006.
  16. Monika Schmitt: The Goa scene. An attempt to explain. ( Memento of the original from December 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. Ulrich Fischer: In Vuuv 77 criminal offenses and two arrests - balance sheet after deployment in Putlitz ( Memento of December 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). In: Märkische Allgemeine , August 5, 2009.
  18. Drugs seized at Goa party. In: , July 6, 2008.
  19. Police prevent Goa party. ( Memento of the original from October 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: Südkurier , January 7, 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  20. Safer use advice. ( Memento of the original from June 21, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  21. Wolfgang Sterneck: The Alice Project. - Drug consent and culture. In: