Goa trance

Goa trance

Infobox Music genre
name=Goa Trance
stylistic_origins=ebm indian classical music psychedelic rock
cultural_origins=mid-late 1980s, Goa, IN
instruments=drum machine PC sequencer sampler
popularity=mid-late 1990s, IL, EU, JP, BR
derivatives=Psychedelic trance Nitzhonot

Goa Trance (Goa, 604) is a form of electronic music that originated during the late 1980s in Goa, India.


The music has its roots in the popularity of the Goa state in India in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a hippie mecca, and although musical developments were incorporating elements of industrial music and EBM with the spiritual culture in India throughout the 1980s, the actual Goa Trance style did not officially appear until the early 1990s. As the hippie tourist influx tapered off in the 1970s and 1980s, a core group remained in Goa, concentrating on developments in music along with other pursuits such as yoga and recreational drug use. The music that would eventually be known as Goa Trance did not evolve from one single genre, but was inspired mainly by EBM like Front Line Assembly and A Split-Second, acid house, techno (The KLF's "What time is love?" in particular), and psychedelic rock like Ozric Tentacles, Steve Hillage and Ash Ra Tempel. In addition to those, oriental tribal/ethnic music also became a source of inspiration. A very early example (1974) of the relation between psy-rock and the music that would eventually be known as Goa Trance is The Cosmic Jokers (a collaboration between Ash Ra Tempel and Klaus Schulze) highly experimental and psychedelic album "Galactic Supermarket", which features occasional 4/4 rhythms intertwined with elements from psy-rock, analog synthesizers and occasionally tribal-esque drum patterns.

The introduction of techno and its techniques to Goa led to what eventually became the Goa Trance style; early pioneers included DJs Fred Disko, Laurent, Goa Gil, and Amsterdam Joey. Many "parties" (generally similar to raves but with a more mystic flavour, at least in early 1990s) in Goa revolve entirely around this genre of music. In other countries, Goa is also often played at raves, festivals and parties in conjunction with other styles of trance and techno.

Today, Goa Trance has a significant following in Israel, brought to that country by former soldiers returning from recreational "post-army trips" to Goa in the early 1990s. A great deal of Goa Trance (or now, more accurately, psytrance) is now produced in Israel, but its production and consumption is a global phenomenon. New "hot-spots" today include Brazil, Japan and South Africa. One particular underground genre that branched off from Psy Trance is called suomisaundi ("Finnish sound"), which originated in Finland. One of its trademark features is reference to earlymid-1990s classic Goa Trance music, and this genre is often exhibited in Finland's forest party scene. At these parties, mostly Goa Trance and Suomi-style psytrance can be heard.

The sound of Goa Trance

Goa Trance is essentially "dance-trance" music (it was referred to as "Trance Dance" in its formative years), the original goal being to assist the dancers in experiencing a collective state of bodily transcendence, similar to that of ancient shamanic dancing rituals, through hypnotic, pulsing melodies and rhythms. As such it has an energetic beat, almost always in common time (4/4) meaning 4 quarter note pulses per bar. Time is marked with kicks (bass drum beats) on each quarter-note pulse, a snare or clap on the second and fourth pulse of the bar, with an open hi-hat sound every second eighth note. A typical track will generally build up to a much more energetic movement in the second half then taper off fairly quickly toward the end. The BPM typically lies in the 130 - 150 range, although some tracks may have BPMs as low as 110 or as high as 160. Generally 8-12 minutes long, Goa Trance tracks tend to focus on steadily building energy throughout, using changes in percussion patterns and more intricate and layered synth parts as the music progresses in order to build a hypnotic and intense feel.

The kick drum often is a low, thick sound with a large amount of sub-bass frequencies. The music very often incorporates many audio effects that are often created through experimentation with synthesisers. A well-known sound that originated with Goa Trance and became much more prevalent through its successor, psytrance, is the organic "squelchy" sound (usually a saw-wave which is run through a resonant high-pass filter).

Other music technology used in Goa Trance includes popular analogue synthesizers such as the Roland TB-303, Roland Juno-60/106, Novation Bass-Station, Korg MS-10, and notably the Roland SH-101. Hardware samplers manufactured by Akai, Yamaha and Ensoniq were also popular for sample storage and manipulation.

A popular element of Goa Trance is the use of samples, often from sci-fi movies. Those samples mostly contain references to drugs, parapsychology, extraterrestrials, existentialism, OBEs, dreams, science, spirituality and other things that could be deemed as "mysterious" and "unconventional".

Goa Trance parties

Goa Trance parties began in the late 1980s in the state of Goa, India and they can take place in locations such as on a beach or in the middle of the forest, although it is not uncommon for them to be held in clubs. There have been attempts to formalize parties, such as those held at Bamboo Forest, into commercial events, which was initially met with much resistance. The need to pay the local police baksheesh means that they're now generally staged around a bar, even though this may only be a temporary fixture in the forest or beach.

The parties around the New Year tend to be the most chaotic with bus loads of people coming in from all places such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and the world over. Travelers, beggars and sadhus from all over India pass by to join in.

However, with the proliferation of Goa Trance music across the globe, parties are now being held at locations all over the world. Among the most notable of these parties are the Full Moon Party held monthly at Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand and several events held in Byron Bay, Australia as well as Israel, Japan, South Africa and Scandinavia.

Goa parties have a definitive visual aspect - the use of "fluoro" (fluorescent paint) is common on clothing and on decorations such as tapestries. The graphics on these decorations are usually associated with topics such as aliens, Hinduism, other religious (especially eastern) images, mushrooms (and other psychedelic art), shamanism and technology. Shrines in front of the DJ stands featuring religious items are also common decorations.

Goa Trance in popular culture

For a short period in the mid-1990s Goa Trance enjoyed significant commercial success with support from DJs such as Paul Oakenfold, who later went on to assist in developing a much more mainstream style of trance outside Goa. Only a few artists came close to being Goa Trance "stars", enjoying worldwide fame. Among the most notable are, Infected Mushroom, Eat Static, Astral Projection, Man With No Name, Hallucinogen, Cosmosis and Doof. Goa Trance band Juno Reactor had their music featured in many Hollywood movies like Mortal Kombat, The Matrix and even Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Kox Box from Denmark have Goa Trance tracks on the sound track of the movie Pusher most notably the track: Fuel On, which was also featured on the compilation: Distance To Goa 4. More recently, the Gran Turismo 4: Kicks Soundtrack was comprised entirely of Goa/Psychedelic trance artists, and ESPN has featured ~30 second clips of Goa during the scoring recaps for both college and professional games.

ee also

*Music of Goa


* [http://www.isratrance.com/articles/goa-trance-a-restrospective-part-1-a13.html What is Goa? part 1]
* [http://www.isratrance.com/articles/goa-trance-a-restrospective-part-2-a14.html What is Goa? part 2]
* [http://www.psytrance.co.za/psytrance_history.html Goa Trance: A Psykotropic Trip Through Tribedelic Transcapes]

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