Psytrance Guide

Welcome to the very first, complete, up-to-date Psytrance styles guide. It's a great place to discover new subgenre you haven't heard before and to use it as a reference for organising your DJ collection tags.

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Welcome to the very first, complete, up-to-date Psytrance styles guide. It's a great place to discover new subgenre you haven't heard before and to use it as a reference for organising your DJ collection tags.

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Psychedelic

Also known as: Uptempo Psy, UK Psy, Classic

BPM range:

145

148

BPM range: 145—148

Psychedelic is probably the most iconic subgenre of Psytrance music, with driving basslines and futuristic sounds often created using FM synthesis. Pioneered by the London-based labels like Alchemy, Flying Rhino and TIP Records, among the others, this subgenre has also become known as the UK Psy.

Psytrance

Also known as: Psy-Trance, Classy, 140-BPM-Psy

BPM range:

138

142

BPM range: 138—142

This subgenre organically fits between Progressive Psy and the classic Psychedelic in the BPM range, combining the best elements of these two. It is arguably the most common Psytrance subgenre now that sounds on the festivals all over the world, and in fact, if you hear the word “Psytrance”, it’s most likely referred to this particular subgenre.

Note: read why author prefers to call these tracks Psytrance and not Progressive Psy in the blog.

Progressive Psy

Also known as: Psy-Prog, Progressive

BPM range:

134

138

BPM range: 134—138

Emerging in the mid 00’s in Europe, Progressive Psy has quickly expanded to become one of the most common Psytrance subgenre. And it’s very diverse too, featuring a quite wide range of vibes. Progressive Psy doesn’t utilise one particular type of sound, but rather focuses on the groove, the flow, and how it progresses over time.

Minimal Psy

Also known as: Minimal, Deep Psychedelic, Zenonesque

BPM range:

130

135

BPM range: 130—135

Although this subgenre might be formally called Progressive, it’s typically slower, deeper and less melodic than the Progressive Psy we know today. Tracks of this subgenre builds-up slowly, allowing artists to focus more on things like reverb tails, delay effects, little percussion tricks, and other subtle details.

Note: probably, Dark Progressive aka Zenonesque and Psygressive will be separated is the future version of this guide. Please read more in the blog.

Tribal

Also known as: Triplets, Ethnic Psy

BPM range:

136

140

BPM range: 136—140

Pioneered by Juno Reactor and then recently popularised by Vini Vici, Tribal Psy utilises triples bassline pattern along with some ethnic drums and vocal samples. Some producers overused triples so much in the recent years, so at some point, having a triplet drop is almost considered as a cliché.

Notable artists

Berg, Juno Reactor, Loud, Omiki, Pop Art, Planet 6, Pura Vida, Vini Vici

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Offbeat

Also known as: The Offbeat, Progressive Trance, Hamburg Psy

BPM range:

134

140

BPM range: 134—140

The Offbeat Psy uses a specific bassline pattern at which a single bass note hits between four-on-the-floor kick drums, hence the name. It is originated from Hamburg, Germany, in the late 00’s. Tracks in this subgenre often include sampled speech samples processed with the gate or sidechain effects.

Psytechno

Also known as: Psychedelic Techno, Psytek

BPM range:

128

140

BPM range: 128—140

As the title suggests, this subgenre is a blend of Psytrance and Techno that combines various elements from these two. And since both Psytrance and Techno can vary in tempo and vibe, there is pretty much no boundaries to this subgenre too: it can go from deep and minimal to hard and rough.

Psy Tech-Trance

Also known as: Uplifting Psy

BPM range:

138

140

BPM range: 138—140

Psy Tech-Trance is a product of a clash between Psytrance and a regular Trance worlds. Tracks in this subgenre typically have the Psy bassline, longer uplifting breakdowns, and acidic riffs at the climax. Although some devoted psytrance fans don’t accept this subgenre as a part of the Psy scene and culture, it grows pretty rapidly, especially in the US.

Psybreaks

Also known as: Psychedelic Breaks, Psy Tech-Funk, Broken Beats

BPM range:

130

138

BPM range: 130—138

Psybreak is a relatively new subgenre that emerged in the last 00’s. It combines heavy Psytrance bassline and squelch sounds with a Breaks rhythm, classic Electro snares, and sometimes even Industrial scrapes.

Mainstream

Also known as: Commercial Psy, Pop Psy

BPM range:

130

138

BPM range: 130—138

This isn’t quite a subgenre, but rather consequences of when Psytrance artists go mainstream: it often includes vocals and cheesy melodies to appeal to a broader audience. Although these tracks typically labelled in stores as a “Psytrance”, let’s be clear about it: it’s not Psytrance, really.

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Goa Trance

Also known as: Goa, 604 Psy

BPM range:

135

150

BPM range: 135—150

Goa Trance is the ancestor of all Psytrance music as a whole we know today. Formed in the 80’s in Goa, India, by the modern hippies of that time, Goa Trance got its global recognition in the mid 90’s. Goa Trance is considered as “organic”, that is to say, it does not have the typical “metallic” sounds of electronic music and often presents an oriental aesthetics in its melodies, mostly with Indian consonance, as well as various tribal elements from the Indian culture such as references to the Buddhist or Hinduist mythology and mysticism. Although Goa Trance is considered as an oldschool genre now, some artists and labels are still releasing it, referring to it as a New School or Neogoa.

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Artifact303 — Feelings (Original Mix)

Radical Distortion — Psychedelic Dreams (Original Mix)

Filteria — Ultimator! (Original Mix)

Nitzhonot

Also known as: Uplifting Goa, Morning Goa Trance

BPM range:

145

160

BPM range: 145—160

Nitzhonot is a subgenre that formed from the classic Goa Trance in the mid 90’s in Israel, and it literally means “victories” in Hebrew. It is typically faster than Goa Trance, with high-pitched kick drums and fast-paced oriental melodies. And just like Goa Trance, Nitzhonot considered an underground subgenre among Psytrance as a whole, which is an underground style itself.

Notable artists

Agneton, Cyan, Eyal Barkan, Goalien, Shivax

Full-on

Also known as: Morning Fullon, Israeli Full-on

BPM range:

140

148

BPM range: 140—148

Full-on is a dynamic, playful, and musical subgenre of Psytrance that appeals to a broader audience because of its positive vibe. Unlike of a typical straight Psytrance bassline pattern, the Full-on basssline plays on various notes across few octaves, creating a special rhythm and melody that way. The period of 2004–2009 is considered as the “golden age” of Full-on, before Progressive Psy took over the global Psy scene.

Night Full-on

Also known as: Twilight, South African Full-on

BPM range:

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145

150

BPM range: 145—150

Night Full-on is the evil twin of Full-on: it has the same fast-paced bass and leads but with a darker vibe and twisted, synthetic sounds. On the festivals, Twilight Psy typically sound during the night-time, hence the name.

Note: probably, Night Full-on and Twilight will be separated is the future version of this guide. Please read more in the blog.

Dark Psy

Also known as: Cyberdelic, Alien Psy

BPM range:

140

155

BPM range: 140—155

Dark Psy name speaks for itself. This subgenre is dark, cold, and themed with a horror special effects. Sometimes it’s called Cyberdelic, which stands for “cybernetic + psychedelic”, due to a massive amount of artificial sounds, lasers, and other alien sounds. Many Dark Psy producers are hailing from Russia, so you might see this genre referred as a Russian style.

Forest Psy

Also known as: Forest Psychedelic, Scandinavian Dark Psy

BPM range:

150

160

BPM range: 150—160

Forest Psy is very similar to Dark Psy in many ways, but it’s less robotic-themed and focuses more on the ambient noises, nature atmosphere, and the spooky sounds you would hear in a dark psychedelic forest. Filled with swarming and teeming effects, it is also slightly faster than Dark Psy and arranged in a straightforward manner, almost with no breakdowns and beat interruptions.

Hi-Tech

Also known as: Hitek Psy, Psycore

BPM range:

170

230

BPM range: 170—230

Hi-Tech is a Psytrance style strongly influenced by Dark Psytrance, Psycore, and Full-On. It is characterized by a synthetic aesthetic pushed to the extreme. In terms of tempo, Hi-Tech vary from 150 BPM to over 200 BPM, making it and Psycore the fastest Psychedelic Trance styles. Unlike Psycore, Hi-Tech can present an absence of atmosphere in favor of a non-regular melodic structure. In addition, Hi-Tech is generally the least predictable and constant of all Psychedelic Trance styles.

Note: is the future version of this guide, Hi-Tech and Psycore will be separated. Please read more in the blog.

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Suomi

Also known as: Suomisaundi, Finnish Psy

BPM range:

135

145

BPM range: 135—145

Originated from Finland, Suomi is probably the most free-form subgenre of Psychedelic music allowing artists to go wild and experiment both musically and production-wise. Suomisaundi tracks are usually very melodic, including heavy influences from early Goa, tribal beats and Acid Trance tracks, as well as funky guitar and keyboard loops and sounds from or reminiscent of 80’s.

Psychill

Also known as: Psybient, Psychedelic Chillout, Downtempo Psy

BPM range:

90

120

BPM range: 90—120

Psychill is a downtempo genre that often seeks to reach a state of deep relaxation, close to meditation and lucid dreaming. It utilises various elements of Goa Trance and Psychedelic music in general, and typically has a classic Goa kick drum, 303’s sounds, and lush atmospheric pads.

Chillout

Also known as: Chill, Ambient, Downtempo

BPM range:

80

110

BPM range: 80—110

Chillout music is very similar to Psychill but less psychedelic influenced. Formally speaking, Chillout is a subgenre of electronic music in general, not Psytrance in particular. However, historically it has a deep connection to the Psy scene and today you can hear many Chillout artists playing at the Psytrance festivals.

About the author

Daniel Lesden is a Psytrance music producer at Digital Om Productions, A&R manager at JOOF Recordings, touring DJ, and radio host.

Get in touch

If you found a bug, would like to contribute, or just want to say hello, please send it over to mail@daniellesden.com.

Copyright

Psytrance Guide v.1.0.6. Made with peace, love, unity, and respect to the Psy scene.
© 2017 Daniel Sokolovskiy