Lets get a little more up todate and introduce some vocals with this next track;
Dj Tiesto is from the Netherlands and had been mixing tracks since 1994.
I am using this track to introduce you to a little more complex Trance, bring in some vocals and bump the length of the track.
If nothing else, it has the really catchy melody thrown in for good measure.
I don’t listen to this track/style much any more, but it was a solid staple of my Trance diet in the early days, so its fitting that we listen to it at this point.
(I’m busting to just jump right in and share what I am listening to now, but I have to say I am really enjoying going back in time to follow my path through the past years of Trance).
Having grown up listening to electronic music and very little else, was it any wonder then that it was only a matter of time till I discovered Electronic Dance Music (EDM)??
April 1996 to be exact. About middle to late that month.
(There were one or two events around that time that make it memorable).
Now, keep in mind that I have not been listening ONLY to Trance for the past 18 years, but its safe to say that the bulk of what I have been listening to has been electronic of some kind or another.
Anyway, what is trance?
I really like the Wikipedia opening paragraph, so here it is with a few edits by me;
Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the 1990s in Germany. It is characterized by a tempo of between 125 to mid 160 beats per minute (BPM), repeating melodic phrases, and a musical form that builds up and down throughout a track. Trance is a genre on its own, but also will include other styles of electronic music such as techno, industrial, house, pop, chill-out and classical music.
A trance refers to a state of hypnotism and heightened consciousness. This drifting sensation is portrayed in this genre by mixing many layers and rhythms to create build and release. For example, a characteristic of virtually all trance songs is the soft mid-song breakdown, beginning with and occurring after the orchestration is broken down and the rhythm tracks fade out rapidly, leaving the melody, atmospherics, or both to stand alone for anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Often they are accompanied by vocals that have been described as “grand, soaring, and operatic” and “ethereal female leads floating amongst the synths”.
While my all time favorite type is vocal trance, followed by chillout, followed by orchestral trance, I’m actually going to start you out with a pretty basic trance track just to get the feel of it.
(You would not believe the amount of time I have taken to try and pick this first trance track).
This track is around 15 years old, but this version is a newer remix. Its one of my favorites of just very clean Trance.
The other reason I am sharing this version is that its pretty short. As you will come to see, most trance tracks are rather longer than the usual 3-4 minute radio tracks we normally hear.
Remember, its 15 years old. Its not very complex. Just a basic beat, some happy/bubbly synth / strings to keep things moving along… My point is, this is where we started and given what’s come before it, you can see (hear?) why I was attracted to it.
(And now you have some idea why I wanted to give some background to my love of Trance and not just throw you into it – I have, in a lot of ways, grown up with electronic music, so it really is running deep in my mind).
As we move forward, I hope that you can appreciate where we have come from and the progression it has taken.
The key to electronic music is the Moog Synthesizer.
It changed the world of music. Even if you don’t listen to pure electronic music, its influence is still around.
I never really got far with my gift of the Moog synth in Brisbane, it was just too far beyond my electronics skills for the time, also the fact that it did not have have diagrams or any information at all did not help. (Oh for the internet when I was a kid).
Bottom line, you start with an oscillator connected to a keyboard. The keyboard causes the different frequencies to come out of the oscillator (or tone generator).
From there, the rule book is thrown out the window. Dr Moog had a way of doing things differently than everyone else at the time and it made a difference. A big difference.
Here is a nice little doco about the history of the Mini Moog.
Hes the thing, they were analog synths. Digital was not a thing back then (well, it was, but it was not mainstream enough to be affordable).
And here is the key. No digital synth has managed to make a really good analog sound.
Even when its sampled.
No, this is nothing like the argument that people make about valve amplifiers sound better than solid state amps.
I totally agree that a valve guitar amp would sound different from a solid state one, is it better? No, its just different.
Same with analog and digital synths. One is not better than the other, they are just different.
Mike and Michael both used analog synths in their early albums, the ones I grew up with, and I thus have a real soft spot for the unique sound that only they can make.
(And yes, analog synths are making a comeback in today’s electronic music).
Even though there was no internet back when I was a teen ager, there were still ways to find out information….
Like the guy at the local record shop. In Darwin.
Told him about Jean Michel Jarre’s album Oxygene and said ‘what else is like that?’
His answer would keep me electronic musically satisfied for many many years.
The first album alone, Tubular Bells, is a lifetime of listening.
Started when I was around 13, turning 48 this year and last listened to it the week before we went to Australia.
35 years of listening. Not bad when you think about it.
I think that shows some of the depth of his skill and the depth of my passion for his music.
Its so complex, so dynamic (in both tempo and the range of volume the album moves over) and in one important way that would come to be a mainstay for me, taking time to develop musical themes.
Its something that both Jean and Mike have taught me, don’t rush music. Take the listener on a journey.
This is something that we will come back when we finally get to Trance, but for now, heres Tubular Bells.