First of all when you listen to Trance you have to know what you are really after. I find that people who truly love trance don’t have any trouble listening to the steady changing rhythm of progressive. A large majority of trance lovers are into progressive uplifting trance. Put simply, progressive trance gives u a feeling of being refreshed and it’s beat is usually very simple and definite. Uplifting trance makes u feel energetic and ready to do something stupid.
Everything about the electronica (otherwise known as techno) genre is very personalised. A lot of the articles and information you’re going to read are based on personal opinions. I guess this one is no exception. I find that if you spend enough time listening to a particular type of genre your going to start liking it. Different people have different tastes.
Thanks to a lot of commercial albums such as the Ministry of Sound, and Gatecrasher, things in the non-progressive scene have been mixed up trance with other genres. Music in such albums are often known as brands. The most popular brands don’t really have a set genre. The fans of these brands usually prefer relatively short, high-energy soundtracks. A lot of these brands release CDs such as, ‘Trance Nation 2003′ or ‘Ministry of Sound: Trance Nation Deeper’, where a lot of tracks are actually house. You either like them, or you hate them. Based on personal experience, I find that the majority of people who listen to commercial usually like house or Hard Trance. A few of them are just trying to be cool.
The Trance genre is constantly changing. Artists are creating more new sounds and beats. Often, the best examples are produced by mistakes. However, a majority of sounds and special effects are recycled, so generally it is very easy to tell roughly when a track was made. DJs tend to be very careful when it comes to trying new and experimental stuff. The appeals of older trance tracks can be very much different to newer tracks. The beats and effects are simple, but in many cases, more melodic.
Right now, my favourite DJ has to be Tiesto. There is no substitute for experience and forty-year-old trancemeister, Tiesto, is living proof. Tiesto is forty years of age, and has also been voted the top DJ in the world two years running. This vote is out of the entire electronica genre (www.djmag.com).
Tiesto’s style of Trance is Progressive Uplifting Tek-trance. However, he doesn’t restrict himself to this genre. Much of the other styles of trance he does is very popular. ‘Magik, Vol. 2: Story of the Fall’ is one of his oldest, most successful, and most basic albums. If your interested in learning how the genre has changed over these years, you might be interested in hearing it. Tiesto has released many albums in the Magik series.
If you’re more of a chill-out person, you will find his Search for Sunrise Series very popular also. The best in the Search for Sunriseseries is ‘Vol. 1-In Search of Sunrise’ I. It’s been suggested that this album brings out the unique qualities of Tiesto that make him the best. One of his latest releases ‘Nyana’ has a large variety of the latest styles and trance groups.
My favourite of all of Tiesto’s albums has to be ‘Magik, Vol. 6: Live in Amsterdam’. It’s great to dance to. Very hard, pumping music, with beautiful euphoric bits in between. The best track here is probably Wasteland, by Kamaya Painters, and coming in a close second is Sixty Nine Ways. A lot I’ve only heard half of this album, only once, and I’m thinking of buying it. The first track in this album is one of the best I’ve ever heard. I can’t mention Tiesto without mentioning Summerbreeze. The first track in this album is one of the best I’ve ever heard. It’s actually a remix of the music at Greece’s Olympic ceremonies for 2004.
Armin Van Buuren
Armin Van Buuren is another popular DJ. He is very good at selecting the right tracks to play, and keeping audiences entertained. A lot of his own tracks still stick very much to the old style of Progressive Trance. An example of this is in his Album: ’76’. I love the track called “A Song For The Ocean”. His most popular tracks have been Communication, and Blue Fear. If you’re a Newbie to trance try his latest album or maybe Paul Van Dyk’s latest album.
Paul Van Dyk
Paul Van Dyk is another Popular Artist. He hasn’t released much music recently. Personally, I find his music a little too repetitive, but that’s great for dance. His latest album: ‘Reflections’ has been a disappointment for some people. It took me a while to get used to, but after a few listens, I really started liking it. I find PvD’s (that’s short for Paul Van Dyk) style in it’s own class. It is very different to many other trance artists. If you get sick of the style of trance you normally listen to, this guy’s probably the way to go.
OTHER GOOD DJs
I can’t talk about progressive trance without mentioning some other DJs, especially George Acosta. Acosta has released one of the best trance tracks of all times: Lange, I believe. I’ve heard that his latest album: ‘Next Level’ is awesome, and so is one of his older ones: ‘Awake’. Check out Paul Oakenfold as well. Oakenfold does soul and groove cuts, but not so much trance. I have no idea why, because his trance is good. Check out his album: ‘Tranceport’.
Sasha, and John Digweed are other renowned trance artists. The music by DJ Sasha in particular goes back a long way. Check out their latest albums: ‘Northern Exposure, Vol. 1′, ‘Northern Exposure II: East Coast’, ‘Northern Exposure II: West Coast’. The trance in these albums are a lot more progressive than a lot of the other albums mentioned in this guide. The first album is a nice chillout album. I think the tracks are well mixed. They have the right sounds, at the right volume, with the right effects. This is something that I think is a weakness of Tiesto’s..
If your after singles, some of Matt Darey’s, and Ian Van Dahl’s tracks are excellent. If you’re a big fan of vocal trance you’ll probably love 4 strings. One popular track by 4 strings is probably Let it Rain.
A State Of Trance
The idea of the music is to get a feeling for it. A lot of newbie’s find this stuff too repetitive. But the thing is: the best way to enjoy the music is to listen to what is happening RIGHT NOW, in the present, not what was there before. You take it easy, in a state of relaxation. Don’t think about the music. That’s why it’s so good to dance to as well. There is active listening, and then there is passive listening. I find with most types of music, like rap, or rock, I listen to the music actively. With trance, I notice that I listen to it passively. The music is somewhere in the back of my mind. For newbie’s I would recommend groups like Faithless. Yeah, it’s not really trance, but songs by them such as “insomnia”, and “God is a DJ” are great. You’ll soon get used to some of the repetitiveness. Believe me.
The way I see it, electronica music is the most effective way of getting music across than any other. With groups or bands that make live music, you often have a situation of conflicting interest. A lot of the time these groups spend with their music is in learning to play their instruments, constantly practicing and rehearsals with one another, and arguing over their different tastes. The great thing about electronica is that all you need is a man, a machine, and an idea (checkout Dejan’s article about techno). You don’t have to organise different people to get together and perform in unison. You don’t have to learn how to play different musical instruments and learn how to put them together. All you need to do is learn how to use the machine. Once you manage to do that, everything that comes into your mind is easy to create.
I got into trance when I was studying and trying to find some music to listen to. I couldn’t find a good radio station. I gave up, and listen to the one that bothered me least. It played only trance. I didn’t like it at the start. But I couldn’t be bothered turning the radio off. Within 2 or 3 hours I loved the music. Maybe that’s why I did so bad in high-school?