Goa Trance

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This is an Electronic Dance Music subgenre that originated during the late 1980s out of Goa, India.

Goa Trance often has funky, drone-like basslines, similar to the Minimal Techno of the 1990s/2000s Psytrance.

A number of the stylistic origins of Goa Trance are firmly rooted in the likes of;-

Trance, EBM, Psychedelic Rock, Acid House, Indian Classical Music, and others.

Some History

The music has its roots in the popularity of Goa in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a Hippie capital, and although musical developments were incorporating elements of Industrial and EBM, with the spiritual culture in India throughout the 1980s, the actual Goa trance style did not appear until the early 1990s.

The music played was a blend of styles loosely defined as Techno and various other genres of 'computer music' (e.g., high energy Disco without vocals, Acid House, Electro, Industrial, Gothic, various styles of House and Electronic/Rock hybrids).

It arrived on tape cassettes by fanatic traveller collectors and DJs and was shared (copied) tape-to-tape among Goa DJs, which was an underground scene not driven by labels or music industry.

The artists producing this 'special Goa music', had no idea that their work was being played on the beaches of Goa by 'Cyber Hippies'.

There is a rumour that, the first Techno that was played in Goa was Kraftwerk in the late 1970s on the tape of a visiting DJ.

At the time, the music played at the parties was performed by live bands and cassette tapes were played in between sets.

Goa Denon.jpg

In the early 1980s, sampling synth and MIDI music appeared globally and DJs became the preferred format in Goa, with two tape decks driving a party without a break, facilitating continuous music and enjoyment.

There had been resistance from the old-school 'acid-heads', who insisted that only Acid Rock should be played at parties, but they soon relented and converted to the revolutionary wave of technodelia that took hold in the 1980s.

Cassette tapes were used by DJs until the 1990s, when DAT tapes were used. DJs playing in Goa during the 1980s included Fred Disko, Dr Bobby, Stephano, Paulino, Mackie, Babu, Laurent, Ray, Fred, Antaro, Lui, Rolf, Tilo, Pauli, Rudi, and Goa Gil. The music was eclectic in style but nuanced around instrumental/dub spacey versions of tracks that evoked mystical, cosmic, psychedelic, and existential themes. Special mixes were made by DJs in Goa that were the editing of various versions of a track to make it longer. This was taking the stretch mix concept to another level; trip music for journeying to outdoors.

Goa Trance as a music industry and collective party fashion tag did not gain global traction until 1994 when Paul Oakenfold began to champion the genre via his own Perfecto label and in the media, most notably with the release of his 1994 Essential Mix, or more commonly known as the Goa Mix.

By 1990–91, Goa had become a hot destination for partying and was no longer under the radar: the scene grew bigger. Goa-style parties sprung up all over the world from 1993, and a multitude of labels in various countries (UK, Australia, Japan, Germany) dedicated themselves to promoting psychedelic electronic music that reflected the ethos of Goa parties, Goa music and Goa-specific artists and producers and DJs. Mark Maurice's 'Panjaea's focal point' parties brought it to London in 1992 and its programming at London club megatripolis gave a great boost to the small international scene that was then growing (October 21, 1993 onwards). The golden age and first wave of Goa Trance was generally agreed upon aesthetically between 1994 and 1997.

Sound Styles

The original goal of the music was 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, often in a standard 4/4 or 4/8 dance rhythm. 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 BPM range, although some tracks may have a tempo as low as 110 or as high as 160 BPM. 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 prominent 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, which evolved Goa Trance into a music genre known as Psytrance, has the organic "squelchy" sound (usually a sawtooth-wave which is run through a resonant band-pass or high-pass filter).

Some Hardware

Other music technology used in Goa trance includes popular analogue synthesizers such as;-

The Roland TB-303

Goa Trance keyboard 1.jpg

Roland Juno-60/106

Goa Trance keyboard 2.jpg

Novation Bass-Station

Goa Trance keyboard 3.png

Korg MS-10


Roland SH-101

Goa Trance keyboard 5.jpg

Hardware samplers manufactured by the likes of;-


Goa Trance AKAI.jpg


Goa Trance yamaha.jpg


Goa Trance Ensoniq.jpg

These were also popular for sample storage and manipulation.

A popular element of Goa trance is the use of vocal samples, often from science fiction movies. Those samples mostly contain references to drugs, parapsychology, extraterrestrial life, existentialism, OBEs, dreams, science, time travel, spirituality and similar mysterious and unconventional topics.

Detroit Techno was introduced in 1999 by a group of anonymous artists who performed exclusively Detroit Techno and Chicago House at a venue known as Laughing Buddha(formally known as Klinsons) in Baga, Goa. They were the first to play this Techno style of music with turntables. Using vinyl was a first for Goa at that time. Till then DJs usually used Mini Discs, D.A.T and CDs, without beat matching to mix. The introduction of the Detroit sound had a lasting effect on Goa Trance, leading to a more industrialized sound.

Notable Artists & Releases

Old School Goa Trance

  • Asia 2001 – Live
  • Astral Projection - Trust In Trance
  • Battle of the Future Buddhas – Twin Sharkfins
  • Blue Planet Corporation – Blue Planet
  • Colorbox – Train to Chroma City
  • Cydonia – In Fear of a Red Planet
  • Deviant Electronics – Brainwashing is Childs Play
  • Dimension 5 – Transdimensional
  • Doof – Lets Turn On
  • Eat Static – Abduction
  • Electric Universe – Stardiver
  • Etnica – Alien Protein
  • Fractal Glider – Parasite
  • Green Nuns Of The Revolution – Rock Bitch Mafia
  • Hallucinogen – Twisted
  • Hunab Ku – Magik Universe
  • Hux Flux – Cryptic Crunch
  • The Infinity Project – Feeling Weird
  • Jaïa – Blue Energy
  • Juno Reactor – Beyond the Infinité
  • Koxbox – Dragon Tales
  • Lunar Asylum – Lunar Asylum
  • Man With No Name – Moment of Truth
  • megatripolis – "megatripolis"
  • Message from God – Project Genesis
  • Message from God – The Prophecy
  • Miranda – Phenomena
  • Muses Rapt – Spiritual Healing
  • OOOD – Breathing Space
  • Ominus – Ominus
  • Orion – Futuristic Poetry
  • Planet BEN – Trippy Future Garden
  • Pleiadians – IFO
  • Prana – Geomantik
  • SFX – Rainbirds
  • Shakta – Silicon Trip
  • Slide – Unstable
  • Technosommy – Synthetic Flesh
  • Tim Schuldt – Singels Collection
  • Toï Doï – Technologic
  • Total Eclipse – Violent Relaxation
  • Transwave – Phototropic
  • UX – Ultimate Experience
  • X-dream – We Created Our Own Happiness
  • Xenomorph – Cassandras Nightmare

New School Goa Trance

  • Afgin – Astral Experiences
  • Amithaba Buddha – Goa Gate
  • Antares – Exodus
  • Artha – Influencing Dreams
  • Artifact303 – Back To Space
  • Crossing Mind – Ultimate Reality
  • Doruk – Astral Colours
  • E-mantra – Arcana
  • Ephedra – Journey Through My Head
  • Ethereal – Anima Mundi
  • Filteria – Daze Of Our Lives
  • Filteria – Sky Input
  • Goalien – Psychedelic Dilemma
  • Goasia – Dancing With the Blue Spirit
  • Goasia – From Other Spaces
  • Imba – Impossible Astronaut
  • Khetzal – Corolle
  • Liquid Flow – Presence
  • M-Run – Some Run Just For Fun
  • Mindsphere – Inner Cyclone
  • New Born – The Trip Of The Luna King EP
  • Nova Fractal – Fractal Landscapes
  • Ohm Mind – Birds Will Go To Haeven
  • OmegaHertz – Esther Maslul
  • Omnivox – Fragments Of Evolution
  • Oxi – Beyond The Lights
  • Psy-H Project – Dance Of Distant Worlds
  • Ra – 9th
  • Radical Distorsion – Psychedelic Dreams
  • Sky Technology – In Search Of Ancient Knowledge
  • Somnesia – Mystic Moon
  • Travma – 303 From God
  • Trinodia – Human History
  • Ypsilon 5 – Binary Sky

External Links