Take a Deep Dive into Beatport’s New Trance Genre
Take a Deep Dive into Beatport’s New Trance GenreJune 14, 2023
For those who might not be familiar with Trance and will explore it for the first time, could you give us a very brief overview and history of the genre?
Trance has a rich history that spans several decades and continents: from Goa beaches to Berlin clubs and UK raves leading up to the worldwide fame in the early 1990s. And while Trance has its ups and downs, its core feature remains consistent, which lies in the genre name itself: repetitive patterns and emotion-evoking lush soundscapes that truly put you in a state of trance.
Beatport introduced a new Trance genre. Why now?
Trance has always been a rebellious, innovative genre, balancing between niche underground movements and big commercial success. Over the past years, the latter certainly dominated the Trance world, but as a natural result of this, it sparked defiant producers and labels to create a counter-balance and bring back the serious side of Trance. So although it may not seem that way if you look at the tip of the iceberg, Trance is getting a renaissance in many new forms – from the deeper sound to fast-paced old-school vibes.
We decided to capture the essence of these new movements and give them a dedicated space to flourish, a proper stage to showcase their sounds and to connect labels and artists to their existing and new fans that have yet to discover this beautiful world.
Let’s go from lower to higher on the tempo spectrum and discuss the Deep Trance sub-genre first. How would you define it?
To me, Deep Trance is a quintessence of how beautiful trance music can be. Laying in a pretty slow tempo range at around 120 to 128 BPM, Deep Trance is full of atmospheric pads, lush soundscapes and musical elements that have depth, hence the name. Unlike stereotypical Trance tracks that are usually portrayed as happy songs, Deep Trance is rather more serious and often has somewhat darker tones.
To those who are not experts in the genres, some tracks in Deep Trance might sound similar to Progressive House or Melodic Techno. Where is the line between these three?
For many people, Trance is strongly associated with 140 BPM, so I can understand why discovering something for the first time at a much slower tempo might be confusing. While there are some similarities with other genres sharing the more or less tempo range, like Progressive House, a thing that makes Deep Trance unique is usually more complex sound design when it comes to leads and pads, as these are the key elements of the sub-genre.
Kind of like Progressive Trance?
Well, kind of. The problem with the name Progressive Trance is that it was derailed many years ago, and these days we can hear a lot of releases coming out as Progressive Trance that no longer have the original ethos of this sub-genre. It’s changed too much, and it’s too late to reverse it back, as this is how Progressive Trance sounds to the whole new generation. In that sense, Deep Trance is actually closer to the roots of Progressive, with a modern sound and twists.
Who are some key names in this sub-movement for people to follow?
John 00 Fleming is undoubtedly one of the strongest advocates and the key figures of the Deep Trance movement. Being a Trance DJ for over 30 years and celebrating the 25th anniversary of his record label, JOOF Recordings, he managed to achieve international success while staying true and dedicated to the underground world.
Here is what John 00 Fleming says about the new genre launch: “For well over a decade it has been a major challenge for the Trance community to find specific styles of Trance on Beatport as they have been lumped together under a single main genre tag. While Trance has contributed just as much to the electronic scene as House and Techno over the past 30 years or more, the latter two have multiple main genres that separate their respective scenes. It was only a matter of time before Trance gained the addition of another main genre to focus on the more specialist, underground side of Trance that’s crept over into other genres over the past few years due to not having a suitable home in ’Trance’ in its current form, with the introduction of this dedicated world, Trance can now flourish and breathe, allowing artists to be discovered and evolve.”
Enlusion is another name to watch for, as he’s doing a stellar job of bringing both established and up-and-coming artists under the umbrella of his record label Forescape Digital, which just celebrated its 7-year anniversary.
Enlusion adds: “It goes without saying that this new Trance genre is a game changer for both me and my label Forescape Digital, for all the artists who put their hard work into the production process. For more than a decade our music had no home, and we had to wander into other genres like Progressive House and Melodic House & Techno. Obviously, our music was getting lost this way, and the majority of Trance listeners didn’t even know this kind of Trance existed. I can’t wait to see how this project unfolds and our music gets its well-deserved recognition after years of desolation. Thank you for making this happen!”
Photo: Basil O’Glue
Climbing up higher on the tempo scale, now let’s talk about the second new sub-genre, Hypnotic Trance. What are its features?
Hypnotic Trance utilises heads-down arrangement structures with short or almost no breakdowns, repetitive patterns, and sometimes more aggressive sounds compared to Deep Trance. It’s also very atmospheric, too. Just imagine yourself on the dancefloor, locked into the groove and dancing on and on without many breakdowns, vocal samples, and pitch-rising effects! That’s hypnotic.
From the DJing perspective, Hypnotic Trance can be a powerful tool to have in the DJ arsenal as it can be incorporated into Trance and Techno sets alike due to its toned-down nature.
Who are the masters of this Hypnotic Trance for people to follow?
Basil O’Glue is one of the most proficient and prolific artists who absolutely nailed his sound in recent years, balancing between hypnotic and deeper shades of underground trance. It’s also worth noting his imprint, Bagruhm, which he established in 2022, along with Phase Difference, to focus on this sound.
Basil O’Glue says: “Trance genre has been dominated by uplifting and vocal tracks for the last few years. That’s not a bad thing, but deep, underground, hypnotic tracks are very hard to find. I think the new genre will help DJs explore the deeper side of trance but also encourage producers to experiment with new sounds and follow their visions without boundaries.”
Horizons adds: “As a pure Trance supporter for years, I cannot describe how happy I am to finally see some clarity made on the Beatport side, which will help everyone in the music industry, including music listeners, DJs and label owners. As a label owner, for example, I am much more satisfied now to have these subgenres that will allow me to choose them for some of the new releases I’ve got lined up, avoiding seeing them end up in the wrong section. Needless to say, the artist(s) involved with my label will also see the benefit of seeing their works correctly labeled when doing promo campaigns. Honestly, I still trust real Trance will come back soon, stronger than ever, so the news of introducing a dedicated sub-genre for Raw, Deep and Hypnotic Trance is, for sure, a little but important step to successfully achieve this big goal.”
Last but certainly not least, let’s talk about Raw Trance. What stands behind this name?
Raw Trance is the most freeform sub-genre among the three, ranging from 120 to 160 BPM (though with a more typical tempo of around 140 BPM). It often uses the classic 909 drumkits along with old-school synths such as Jupiter or 303, focusing on the less processed sounds, hence the name Raw. Some tracks might even have similarities with Goa, or somewhat just early days Trance, but without the “psychedelic” part in melodies and sound design.
Ben Lost, Trance pioneer and founder of Lost Language, shares the excitement: “We’ve always been open-minded when it comes to Trance to put out on the label, but some of the deeper, rawer stuff gets a bit lost under the generic Trance umbrella. It’s great that Beatport introduced these new genre definitions, it’s really exciting times for Trance music at the moment!”
What names people interested in this sound should keep their eye on?
Beatport’s very own TSUNIMAN adds: “As a DJ who predominantly plays underground trance and techno, it was such a relief to see the Trance sub-genres update on the Beatport store. Now, I can easily browse the Raw/Deep/Hypnotic Trance page and find the music I like, without having to skip through several main room Trance tracks. The two categories — Trance (Main Floor) and Trance (Raw/Deep/Hypnotic) — have made discovering music on Beatport more enjoyable and fun, saving me lots of time. I also think this change will help smaller underground artists make the charts that were once dominated by more commercial trance producers.”
Are there any clubs or promoters’ events where people can hear Raw, Deep, and Hypnotic Trance?
Definitely! London clubbers can experience the underground world of Trance at Whomp, Dance:Love:Hub, Area 127, Psybuzz. If you happen to be in Berlin, Crude and Space Trax are a must. For those in France, definitely check out Öz.
Daniel Sokolovskiy is a DJ, producer, writer, and Beatport’s Trance and Psy-Trance Curator. Check out his website here.