Psychedelic trance or psytrance is a form of electronic music characterized by hypnotic arrangements of synthetic rhythms and mesmerizing melodies. It first broke out into the mainstream in 1995 as the UK music press began to report on the exploding trend of Goa trance. Since then the genre has diversified immensely and now offers considerable variety in terms of mood, tempo, and style. Some examples include melodic, full on, dark, progressive, suomi, psybreaks and psybient.
The original Goa trance (or "old school") was often made with popular Modular synthesizers and hardware samplers, but modern psychedelic trance is typically made with VST and AU software sampler applications. The use of analog synthesizers for sound synthesis has given way to digital "virtual analog" instruments like the Nord Lead, Access Virus, Korg MS-2000, Roland JP-8000 and computer VST and AU plugins like Native Instruments Reaktor. These are usually controlled by MIDI sequencers within Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) applications. Emphasis is placed on purely synthesized timbres for programming and lead melodies. Tempos range across the spectrum depending on the style and approach of the individual producer although speeds between 140 and 150 BPM are common.
Psybreaks or psychedelic breakbeat is a form of psychedelic trance originating in the mid 2000s, splicing Breakbeat basslines and rhythms into otherwise heavily Psytrance-influenced tracks.
Psybreaks are best performed Live, allowing the DJ control of the spontaneous beat holdbacks, by reading the dancers. Break beating psy happens without losing the constant superfast tempo when the beat picks up, and brief pauses are also fast natured.
Full on or melodic psytrance (also referred to as morning trance, club psytrance and Isra-trance) is a style of trance music, a form of psychedelic trance firstly originated in Israel at the early 2000s. Melodic psytrance draws its main influences from more radio-friendly genres such as uplifting trance (Nitzhonot and vocal trance) and electro house, futuristic melodies, occasional electric guitar performances and usage of vocals. The expression “full on” is taken from the first out of a seven compilation albums series, and the first album ever to be released under Hom-mega Productions in 1998, titled Full On. Some other sources say it comes from the Fullmoon festival's name.
Progressive psytrance (also referred to as minimal psytrance, psyprog) is a style of psychedelic electronica developed in the early 2000s, developed as a sub-genre of psychedelic and Goa trance. Progressive psytrance is distinct from progressive trance which is more similar to progressive house.
Progressive psytrance combines the elements of minimal sounding progressive electronic music and complex developments of psychedelic music. Its heritage can be traced back to the developments of minimal techno, tech, and minimal house. The style of progressive psytrance can be described as generally darker and edgier than mainstream trance. It is also slower in tempo and is more progressive than melodic psytrance.
Currently, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany have created the most renowned minimalist labels. In the last couple of years Australia has added its own artists and labels to the progressive psytrance scene.