November 26, 2011

No Ibiza for me: My views on trance music

UPDATE: A friend just made a good point. Moolah! I can never afford those high end DJ parties. Sunburn at Goa costs about 10 grand for a pass!

I'm met with reactions ranging from quizzical wonder to outright disgust when I discuss trance. While some call it meaningless thumps and beats(read parents and uncles) and relate it to drugs and dancing, some write it off as vocals-void jargon(some friends).

About time I wrote about it and cleared the air on this misunderstanding.

What is Trance

Let's goto the ever trusty Wikipedia first:

"Trance is a genre of electronic music that developed in the 1990s. It is generally characterized by a tempo of between 125 and 150 bpm,252 repeating melodic synthesizer phrases, and a musical form that builds up and breaks down throughout a track. It is a combination of many forms of sound such as techno, house, industrial, new age, pop, chill-out, ambient, electronic art music, classical music and film music"

That basically says it all, go here for more.

Trance music has taken center stage in a whole lot of places other than discos now, from movies to video games.


Dancing, drugs and other awful things- this is the one-liner that comes up most when it comes to trance.
European nations, Ibiza, Goa are infamous locations were trance has made an ugly mark and truly they are havens for drug mafia and other indecent activities.

Stereotyping every one on the sole basis of this is very unfair because...

Reality (for me strictly)
Trance is a form of relaxation and that's  it. A few colleagues of mine had a hearty laugh when I told them I've never been to a pub in my life. The closest thing I did was when I tried getting into a Richard Durand event in Hyderabad only to turn back from the door appalled by the sights I saw.

The synthesizer scores coupled with the beats makes for an eerie but soothing departure from the crap ware that our bollywood musicians churn out(AR Rehman excluded of course).

What I prefer
I like progressive, ambient, minimal and space trance though some vocal tracks are awesome too. Psychedelic and other genres do rarely give a hit or two like Infected Mushroom and Massive Attack's tweaked versions of tracks.

What I need for trance
A pair of good headphones or speakers. I have a set of Sony MDR XD100 budget headphones which I previously mentioned are good at treble but so much at Bass. But I did notice a slight improvement in quality which I think is due to the so-called burn-in in headphones. A 4.1 Creative inspire speaker system I bought off online for peanuts serves as my room speaker setup. Sadly, with my PC gone, I can only use two speakers with my company laptop offering only one stereo output.

A nice player for trance: VLC suffices for PC- it plays streams from DI radio which is awesome.
For my Office commute and travel I use my average player on my MOTO charm.

A dark room is essential when I have a headache. I switch off the display on my laptop for good measure.
And oh...the closest thing I ever did to dancing was swaying my head to good music or tapping my feet.

I'm also comforted by the fact that I'm not the only one who has an interest for this music sans the dance,
drugs and jazz. And so...

I share it on my blog

Atir and Praveen are two friends who have an active interest in trance. Our journey in music started with
Enigma, Linkin park and Chemical brothers but our tastes haven't changed much since. While Praveen has a slightly different feel for trance, Atir and I have enjoyed a consistent playlist for the last 4 years
save for a few rare differences. And it's for them that I put up my favorites here as a separate post.
I have also garnered a few twitter followers who I interact with occasionally.

And thus concludes my attempt to ehh... educate the paranoid crowd I'm not tripping on Acid. And here's a link to all my posts on the subject: TranceUpdate