Let me preface this post with the affirmation that I love trance music in all shapes and forms. I have an almost unhealthy obsession with it honestly. However my heart truly lies in the most pure of trance music. It's what I fell in love with all those years ago, and it's what strikes my emotions the strongest today. Amongst a sea of mainstream trance music, the deeper, more pure trance sound has been left behind and pushed to the rear while more anthemic tunes took to the fore.
Over the past several years, trance has been mixed with house and the majority of 'trance' today is nothing like the pure trance music that I love. However the punters love it. More importantly, it's the punters that have driven the growth of this new 'trance 2.0' sound, being pioneered by guys like Above & Beyond. The big basslines, massive drops, mainstream vocals, and generally more mass-appealling sound has driven 'trance music' to new heights of popularity. Aside from a rare few, the DJ's play the music that is trending currently, and thus a cycle is born of this ever evolving spiral towards more and more mainstream sounds.
This whole shift towards a mainstream sound is one of the reasons why I decided to take some time away from performing. In fact I took a purposeful complete break from listening to any trance at all. Prior to taking a leave of absence however, I'd had some degree of success in digging through a lot of mainstream trance music to find some quality tracks, especially from labels like Perfecto Flouro who had begun releasing quite serious, pure trance music.
After several months break away from the scene, I have started scouring the web for music once more and what I find is that there's an ever increasing amount of amazingly high quality, pure trance music, and a strong movement of support behind it. No doubt, the 'Trance 2.0' is still very much alive and growing. However now the deeper, more pure faction also seems to be growing. Two major streams of trance music. Even John '00' Fleming feels that this year will be the return to form for pure trance music.
I spent just a few hours a couple of nights ago on Beatport, trawling through a few labels, and found an astonishing amount of truly awesome trance music. JOOF Recordings is ripe for the picking, as are other crossover trance and pay-trance labels. In fact it is this crossover sound that blends mainstream trance with progressive psy-trance that is really exciting me. In fact I feel strange calling it a crossover sound. Is this what the influx of mainstream trance has done? To me, this crossover sound is 'pure trance'. It's not reliant on massive build ups or overdone vocals. It doesn't rely on big house baselines to force you to groove. It's just raw, serious, and emotive music that's simple yet layered, repetitive yet subtly varying. I'm sure to fans of the Trance 2.0 sound, it may be boring and repetitive. But isn't this the same argument people once had of electronic music ten or fifteen years ago?
Regardless. I'm excited. And I can't wait to start putting together some sets with all this great music. I am planning on launching a new podcast and radio show focused on this new sound and can't wait to share it with you. Until then, make sure you check out labels like Iono Music, Perfecto Records, Perfecto Flouro, Fatali Music, JOOF Recordings, Borderline, Subculture, Iboga Records and others. Take a look through the psy-trance genre on Beatport first, rather than the vanilla trance one instead. Sure there's a lot of full on psy there, but if you look hard enough you will find some beautifully rich, melodic and pure trance music that crosses the boundaries between mainstream trance and psy.
Trance 2.0 may be far and away most popular form of trance at the moment, but I feel a massive resurgence of the pure trance sound coming. 'Trance Zero' is here..... again.