Classic Trance Database [100%] & Classic Trance Curated Database [10%] - Last updated on June 17th

Aug 23, 2022
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Classic Trance Database [Status: 100%]

Main Version | Alternative Version
(Keep in mind the Style column refers to the album on which the given track was released, not to the individual track's style)

The Classic Trance Database is a publicly available online spreadsheet that contains most of the trance tunes ever released between 1988-2009, based on Discogs album tags. The database is available in two forms: the Main Database, which lists all 155,000 tracks in a single sheet, and the Alternative Database, which divides tracks into different sheets based on their year of release. Both are freely available to download by clicking on File -> Download -> then selecting the preferred file format. For online use, it is advised to only use the Alternative Database, since the Master Database has trouble loading even on high-end PCs.
The database is based on data acquired from Discogs.com. The problem is the users of the site tend to use the term trance very liberally, thus, a huge amount of the so-called trance songs have nothing to do with the genre in reality. For example, at least 90% of the 6000 records tagged as trance from 1993 are nothing more than ambient, acid, breakbeat, techno, Eurodance, Italo dance, etc. releases with a 5-10% trancey sound at most. Not to mention that a large part of these records are highly questionable in terms of their musical quality. This is one of the many reasons why the Classic Trance Curated Database exists, which you can learn more about below.
The consensus is that the classic trance era lasted from the early 90s (with a few proto-trance tracks you can count on your one hand in the late 80s) till the mid-2000s. Still, for a few years after that, some tunes were being made with the instruments, philosophy, thought process, and artistic intention that was present in the classic era. This was the reason why I extended the time this database covers till 2009.
Making this database took me an enormous time – multiple hundred hours, at the very least – and to finish it, I had to make some compromises. To make the database, I only used vinyl releases as a reference, so no data was grabbed from CD, cassette, or digital audio tape releases. I chose vinyl releases because according to my research, in the classic era, pretty much everything came out on vinyl, from the well-known anthems even to the most obscure tracks that no one has ever heard of. Getting tracklists from CDs etc. would have resulted in significantly more data to process, but in the end, it would have resulted in tons of additional duplicates and barely any additional, actually new tracks (not to mention tons of other tracks from other genres, as CDs tend to have a lot of mixed style compilation albums).

Still, I decided to grab data from the most famous, long-running trance compilation CD series since those sometimes actually had exclusive mixes and tracks that never saw the light of day on vinyl. These series include D.Trance (1995-), Trancemaster (1992-2000), and Ravermeister (1995-1999, 2001), among many others. Keep in mind though that data from such releases are not currently present in the database.

Another compromise I made is that Various Artist releases – at least for now – are not in the database. Most VA albums tend to have tracks from a wide variety of genres, even if they have a few trance tracks, and I didn't want to pollute the database further with mostly irrelevant data. Furthermore, most trance tracks on these VA albums probably got their dedicated vinyl release anyway.
As a combination of a manual and automatic process, I removed most duplicate releases from the database – this process also included cross-referencing tracks from different years. Due to this, in most cases, each track in the database will only appear once, with its very first year of release, and with its longest possible length. For the most part, shorter edits of longer songs (radio cuts, single mixes, etc.) have also been removed, along with Acappellas. Finally, tracks below four minutes were deleted. Trance tunes generally tend to be around 6-8 minutes long and even the shortest classics I know are around 4:30 in length, so it's a safe assumption to make that most of those extra short tracks were either not trance, or cut-down versions of full-length trance tunes.

Still, it's important to mention that the combination of steps listed above may have resulted in some data being lost. Furthermore, while there was an extensive cleaning and filtering process, there are still at least 5,000-10,000 duplicates left in the database. For example, there might be a track that has a few different mixes, like Extended Mix, Extended Club Mix, Club Mix, Clubmix, Original Mix, or Original Edit, but these names usually mean the same, so all of these names could refer to the same track.
  1. Using SyncApi (Google Sheets add-on), the following information was grabbed for each trance vinyl release between 1988 and 2009 from Discogs.com: release name (artist name + album name), year of release, style, and API URL.
  2. Using Microsoft Excel's Power Query, further data was grabbed from the previously mentioned API URLs, including each release's entire tracklist, along with corrected artist names.
  3. Duplicates, short mixes, and Acappellas were removed using Google Sheets' filtering and data cleanup functions.
  4. Hyperlinks were added to all tracks, making it possible to quickly start listening to them on YouTube.
On Discogs, you can't search for all trance tracks released in a given year (e.g. 1993). The best you can do is to search for all trance albums released in that year. Then you have to click on every single one of them (which there are thousands of) to compare tracks on these albums with each other, remove duplicates, etc., and finally create your list out of them. With this database, you don't need to do this, so while looking at all the tracks from 1988 to 2009, I saved you hundreds of hours of work. Pretty much every classic trance track is listed in one place. Furthermore, Discogs also doesn't show stuff like BPM, Key, Camelot Key, etc. These were all manually added to each track (this only applies to the Curated Database though).



Classic Trance Curated Database [Status: 10%]

Curated Database (Public Version)
(Last updated on June 17th)

The Classic Trance Curated Database is a publicly available online spreadsheet that will contain all the greatest tunes from the classic trance era (mostly from 1990 to 2006), once it is completed. This database will not just get rid of all the filler and non-trancey stuff that is present in the normal Classic Trance Database, but will only feature tunes that stood the test of time, have true artistic merit, and are genuinely fun to listen to. I intend to do this by carefully selecting tracks from the classic era based on my taste and experience with the genre, as well as keeping certain guiding principles in mind, like what is the philosophy and thought process behind trance music (this was reasonably well explained by Mark Reeder, one of the godfathers of trance music in his 1993 documentary, called Berliner Trance, especially considering how trance was only starting to become a thing during that time).

The curated database will also feature a selection of tracks from such trustworthy YouTube channels as Trance Classics and 2trancecentral, as well as picks from the Trancefix community. Even though I trust my experience and judgment when it comes to the quality of the tracks chosen by me, music is one of the most subjective things in the world. As Sturgeon's Law states: ninety percent of everything is crap, while it is constantly argued by people what is that remaining 10% that is good. I hope that with the combination of my selections, as well as Trance Classics', 2trancecentral's, and the picks of the Trancefix community, it will be possible to cover the entire history of classic trance and feature every single worthwhile track in this database. The Classic Trance Curated Database is freely available to download by clicking on File -> Download -> then selecting the preferred file format.
  • Artist names are hyperlinked, they redirect you to their corresponding Discogs page.​
  • Track names are hyperlinked, they start a YouTube search based on the artist name + track name.​
  • Albums are hyperlinked, they redirect you to the vinyl on which the selected track first appeared.​
  • Labels are hyperlinked, they redirect you to the label responsible for the chosen vinyl's publishing.​
  • Clicking on a year (of release) will execute a filter command, and you will only see tunes released that year.​
  • Clicking on the duration/length of a tune will execute a filter command, and will only show tunes with similar length.​
  • There are some additional notes for tracks here and there (indicated by the black triangle at the top right corner of some cells).​
  • Each track is rated by me (at 4, 4,5, or 5 stars).​
  • CD/WEB is available which shows whether the chosen track has ever been released in digital format, or if it's a vinyl-only release.​
  • Key, Camelot key, and BPM information are included for DJs and mixers. These might be inaccurate though, as these are based on data I gathered from Tunebeat by uploading each track.​
It may come as no surprise that completing a database like this requires me to go through / listen to all the 155,000 tracks present in the Main Database. It may seem impossible, but trust me, it isn't. I usually go through 300 tunes or more every single day. First of all, a large amount of these tracks are, well, not trance. They are just tagged wrong on Discogs due to having minor trancey elements. These tunes can be identified in a matter of seconds and then there's no need to listen to them all the way through. Second, as I previously mentioned, Sturgeon's Law states: ninety percent of everything is crap, while it is constantly argued by people what is that remaining 10% that is good. Detecting bad and mediocre tunes is also not rocket science, so they can also be skipped after listening to portions of them.

As for that remaining 10%, well: if a tune manages to pique my interest, I try to acquire it as soon as possible in lossless quality to ensure that I give it ideal listening conditions. After that, I give it a few spins to decide whether it’s worthy of being among the best of the genre and being part of this curated collection or not. Sometimes making this decision only takes a few listens, sometimes it takes ten, and sometimes it takes multiple weeks, as understanding and truly appreciating the given tune may require a lot of effort, like establishing a certain level of intellectual and emotional connection between it and the listener.
I have a strong feeling that the more this curated database grows, the more it will get asked why I chose not to include X-Y-Z track in my database. To quote Sturgeon's Law for the third time: ninety percent of everything is crap, while it is constantly being argued upon by people what is that remaining 10% that is good. That is why there's a sheet that only features tracks curated by myself (Main sheet), and a sheet that lists tracks picked up by Trance Classics YT and 2trancecentral YT (Alternate sheet). So if you don't find a specific tune you love, don't worry: it will be probably in there somewhere in the Alternate sheet.

Everyone has an idea about what trance music is, and so do I. I think trance music has some frequently used structural elements, but I also believe the genre is way more abstract and harder to define than most, as it is much more about the feel and the guiding spirituality/philosophy behind it. It's about the melodic hook, it's about the emotional component. It's about a euphoric, trance-like state. It's a journey that brings you from A to B. It's something that creates a strong atmosphere but it is also dynamic and energetic, and it is constantly moving, building, evolving, and progressing.

Thus, my selections sometimes tend to include tunes that could also be classified as progressive house or happy hardcore tracks. They could be different in terms of structure compared to a trance tune, but in terms of feel, they check pretty much every box that makes something trance in my eyes. Some examples: Mega 'Lo Mania - The Finest, One Dove - Breakdown (Secret Knowledge Light Mix). This is also the reason why my list will probably barely feature any Goa/Psy tunes, which may seem strange/controversial at first, but the more you think about it, I think, the more you'll get it. The essence of trance lies in its emotional aspects, but Goa and Psy, for the most part, only share similarities with trance music in terms of structure, while they exchange that emotional component for a psychedelic one.

There's a reason why there's a different culture/subculture around Goa/Psy that is still extremely active and vibrant today, unlike the one around classic trance. There's a reason why most normal trance albums and radio shows never really featured Goa/Psy records. There's a reason why channels like Trance Classics barely have any pure Goa/Psy records. There's a reason why people often just call these genres Goa & Psy instead of Goa Trance & Psy Trance. There's also a reason why Ishkur's Guide To Electronics music differentiates Goa/Psy from every other form of trance. The thing is, basically everyone indirectly admits that Psy/Goa has nothing to do with trance, it's just somehow controversial to say this. Still, my list will feature some records with Goa/Psy elements if I feel that the given tunes have that emotional component that is key to any trance music (like this one).

Still, as I said before, there will be picks from Trance Classics and 2trancecentral in the database, both of which have a different philosophy when it comes to trance music. Trance Classics occasionally uploads tracks that are much more on the hardcore/techno/acid side (thus, mostly lacking that melody and emotional aspect that are the driving forces behind trance tunes), but these share structural similarities with many other trance records. In some cases, they also upload records that have some trancey stuff in them, but they are not dominantly trancey in terms of their overall sound. A good example of both of these is Metropolis - Time Of War (A.C. Mix) and Legend B - Lost In Love (Sysex Style-Mix). Still, you can find these in the database if you want to listen to them.

As for 2trancecentral, this channel pretty much only focuses on the first half of the '90s and digs up obscure records and hidden gems from this era. The overwhelming majority of the uploads are ambient tunes with some trancey elements, but there is also some techno and experimental stuff here and there. So I wouldn't classify most tunes on this channel as trance, since many of the selected tunes have a more dominant ambient part that makes them more stationary instead of pulsating, moving, and energetic, which are some of the things I associate with trance. But not everyone draws the line in the same place, and while most picks wouldn't qualify as trance for me, maybe they would be absolutely trance for you. This is why selected tunes from 2trancecentral will also be included, masterworks like Young American Primitive - Sunrise and InnVision - Lake, even if I do not believe these are trance tracks.
Most tunes from and before 1993 are currently in the public version of the curated database, with some picks from 1994 – all rated at 3.5 stars or above by me). You can expect an update to the database roughly every week.

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Nerio

Member
Aug 2, 2020
142 Posts
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YouTube channel Trance-M with its 5000+ trance collection has some damn good competition.
Are you also using ChatGpt for help in this project?
Some of the songs are really obnoxious.
The idea of rating songs by personal preference is a good one, my idea would be if everyone could rate all the songs they listen to from that list and then compare the ratings. It would be easy to see who likes what.
But some are great for example 4Voice - Fairlight 1 for the year that it's released I like it.

But this is exactly the kind of project I've been waiting for, because neither Spotify nor other streaming services have all such "hidden gems" maximum YouTube. And here you put them even more nicely in the list for us, great, I'm going to listen.
 
Last edited:
Aug 23, 2022
155 Posts
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Are you also using ChatGpt for help in this project?

I'm not using ChatGPT for creating and filling up the database, but I'm using it for other things, like collecting trance music-related historical information, etc.

Some of the songs are really obnoxious.
A lot of tracks tagged as trance, hard trance, etc. on Discogs pre-1993 (proto-trance era) have nothing to do with trance in the majority of cases, in my opinion (or they are partially trance at best). Still, first I wanted to create a full master list including every track that Discogs categorizes as a form of trance, then start making my own list (focused on the best tracks) as I progress with the book.

The idea of rating songs by personal preference is a good one, my idea would be if everyone could rate all the songs they listen to from that list and then compare the ratings. It would be easy to see who likes what.

Yeah, I actually want to enable Google users to vote on the tracks, but only after I created a more streamlined/refined list.

There are 100.000 trance classics?
More like 100.000 tracks that are categorized as a form of trance music that came out in the classic era. So they are not necessarily classic in the sense that they are so good and timeless, they are classic in the sense that they came out in the classic era and (more than likely) have that classic sound/style.
 
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SaltAcidFatHeatAcid

Senior Member
Jul 19, 2022
327 Posts
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This is awesome! Thank you for the hard work. This will make finding breaksy trance a lot easier and I am excited to dig :).

Edit:
One request: would it be possible to add the Label in a column? Would be really interesting for discovery to see which labels were consistently releasing cranking trance tunes. We all prob know the big ones, but it would be very valuable for the way I collect music anyway. Cheers thanks.
 
Last edited:
Aug 23, 2022
155 Posts
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One request: would it be possible to add the Label in a column?
Unfortunately, I don't have the API links for the individual tracks from between 1988 and 1997, because I deleted them (API contains data like labels, etc.). I assumed what's important to have in the database are track name, artist, length, and maybe style (plus I have to keep the database's size in mind so I won't run into Google Sheets' limits). But I might add label data to the other, much smaller database (tier list) that will only contain the best trance tracks.
 

SaltAcidFatHeatAcid

Senior Member
Jul 19, 2022
327 Posts
473 Thanked
Unfortunately, I don't have the API links for the individual tracks from between 1988 and 1997, because I deleted them (API contains data like labels, etc.). I assumed what's important to have in the database are track name, artist, length, and maybe style (plus I have to keep the database's size in mind so I won't run into Google Sheets' limits). But I might add label data to the other, much smaller database (tier list) that will only contain the best trance tracks.
Would be shame to lose some of the data due to google sheets' limits, just sayin. Most of us will download the database anyway and stick it in Excel or Python. Label is really really important to most collectors I know anyway. I can likely reconstruct that column using the scraped Discogs Access DB and some search results, but recommend that you keep larger versions of the database with the API links (if possible). Many thanks again!
 
Aug 23, 2022
155 Posts
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Would be shame to lose some of the data due to google sheets' limits, just sayin. Most of us will download the database anyway and stick it in Excel or Python. Label is really really important to most collectors I know anyway. I can likely reconstruct that column using the scraped Discogs Access DB and some search results, but recommend that you keep larger versions of the database with the API links (if possible). Many thanks again!

I have a different database that has all the API links, but it only shows their corresponding trance album, not the tracks on them. I could make that available to the public.
 

nightslapper

Senior Member
Oct 5, 2023
696 Posts
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not sure what I'm more jealous of - amount of free time spent on this or passion put into this
 
Aug 23, 2022
155 Posts
141 Thanked
Thank you so much! I used this when making a recent mix around 1993. Nice to see it's complete.
You are welcome! As I go through the years, I'm going to keep updating my personal tier list (best trance tracks list), which I might share here in the future. It already has many tunes from 1993. :D
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SaltAcidFatHeatAcid

Senior Member
Jul 19, 2022
327 Posts
473 Thanked
Very impressive, i wish Discogs had a feature where you could easily see all tracks and remixes from an artist/producer presented like this. It would save so much time
You can process this list data to accomplish the same objective :). Databases rule
 

Hensmon

Admin
TranceFix Crew
Jun 27, 2020
3,261 Posts
2,765 Thanked
UK
Amazing work man, cant wait to have a look through. I am already testing it out to see if you have some tracks in there... may have found a missing one already ;) Maybe it was not released on vinyl, as I see that was a criteria for you??

Edit - I can actually see it was released on vinyl (link). Do tracks like this not meet the criteria?

The designer in me really wants to help you put this in a proper UI with the functionality embedded too!
 
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Aug 23, 2022
155 Posts
141 Thanked
Amazing work man, cant wait to have a look through. I am already testing it out to see if you have some tracks in there... may have found a missing one already ;) Maybe it was not released on vinyl, as I see that was a criteria for you??

Edit - I can actually see it was released on vinyl (link). Do tracks like this not meet the criteria?

The designer in me really wants to help you put this in a proper UI with the functionality embedded too!

Thanks! And it's on the list, haha. :D You just need to use the second list that has individual spreadsheets for each year. The master list is so ridiculously large that it has a hard time loading in even on high-end PCs.

BTW, any help is appreciated, so feel free to PM me!

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BS_BlackScout

Senior Member
Jul 13, 2020
258 Posts
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Age
24
Hell, Brazil
OK, this gets a seal of approval from me:
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Trance Edit is from Paavo Siljamaki and it's rare so good work!
With some work you could throw this into SQL and put it on a website :D
 
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