Goa Trance Style Overview
Goa Trance Music Description
The term Goa Trance was first used in 1994 and changed in 1996 for Psy Trance. In the beginning the terms Goa and Psychedelic became intermingled, with the full term being Psychedelic Goa Trance, later as the sound progressed after 1998-1999 the term Goa was used only in reference of the old pre-1999 sound and releases. According to Goa legend DJ Chicago in an interview in mushroom magazine "... it started being known as both Goa Trance and Psychedelic Trance somewhere in the mid 90s. As I remember they were interchangeable". Psychedelic Trance, along with its sub-genres, was what inherited the continuity of the Goa term. The first specific labels were Dragonfly Records that edited the compilation Project II Trance & Underground French-Kommunication in August 1993. Then a lot of "Goa" labels were founded in London: TIP, Platipus, Matsuri, Flying Rhino, Blue Room Released, Bomm Records, Celtic Records, Sirius Records, Phantasm & Symbiosis Records. This explosion of labels in London was possible after Paul Oakenfold gave legitimacy to the Goa sound on « The Essential Mix », a popular Radio show on BBC Radio 1. Meanwhile in Germany, Goa artists were diffused via classical Trance labels like Gaia Tonträger, Tunnel Records, Polytox Records, Spirit Zone Recordings and Eye Q Records and the style also became very popular in Israel with groups like Astral Projection and Infected Mushroom. Lots of Goa Trance fans consider the 12" "Etnica Tribute" as a milestone of the style. In 1998 the scene took another direction to become more dark & repetitive like Techno. This style of "Goa Trance" became what is now considered modern Psy Trance.
Goa Trance is played in tempo around 130-150 bpm. This kind of Trance is hypnotic, with pulsing melodies, floating basslines and use a lot of Mid-Asiatic musical phrasing. A popular element of Goa trance is the use of samples, often from science fiction movies & or other references to esoterism. Most of the technology used was popular analogue synthesizers. Another characteristic from the style is that the DJs used DAT players to execute their sets because they were more practical to travel with and less sensitive to the beach sand. While the DAT didn't have a pitch control system, the mix between the songs was very short and not necessary in the tempo. Another "Goa" tradition is to make a blank between the sets so the DJs can estimate their popularity by the dancers' applause level.
In recent years the genre has seen a revival, with multiple new artists, labels and festivals, all intent on rejuvenating and evolving the original Goa sound.