Sophisticated trance/progressive music

Gagi

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Post the most sophisticated tracks that you know. Something complex, well made, subtle. This does not mean "post your favourite tracks", but to rather think about it and post something that really fits the description. Trance/progressive preferred, but I'll accept electronic music overall, if it fits the description.
 

dmgtz96

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Sasha - Xpander.
Not my 'favorite' track, and I don't hear it often, but I think it's one of the most sophisticated trance/progressive tracks ever made. You can tell a single producer couldn't have made it, and it really feels like the collective work of a team of producers.

Tiesto - Suburban Train
Although it borrows heavily from Kid Vicious - Reform, Suburban Train is still highly complex and sophisticated. Like with Xpander, you can tell this couldn't have been made alone. You would have needed multiple people working on it.
 

Snowknight26

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Haven't listened to it as often as other tracks but the one thing that stands out about this one is just incredibly long and unique the melody is, none of that repetitive 4 measure progression over and over you find in "generic" trance.
 

Propeller

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Pretty much anything by Robert Elster/Vibrasphere, the guy's a genius.... all his productions are highly sophisticated, well produced and make you want to dance. Probably my favourite artist of all time.

 
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Gagi

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I was hoping you all would elaborate more on what exactly makes your choices sophisticated. Undoubtedly, all great tracks from the genre, but I'm not exactly feeling the "sophisticated" part. So I was hoping your elaboration would make it a bit easier for me to understand why you consider them sophisticated. Or maybe I wasn't clear enough in my OP. In any way, discussion will make that clear.

Xpander and Suburban Train do sound a bit too simple, though I get your point - they are so well made that you instantly think of sophistication, without analysis.
Haliken sounds just like any other track from ~'05. What am I missing?
Illitheas' track is complex, but I feel overly so. It comes at the expense of being slightly less cohesive. It's still a fantastic track.
Fluke vs JXL track is just stunning in every way, and clearly well made. Just not feeling the sophistication part.

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Here are my choices. And let me tell you exactly why. Headphones mandatory.

First of all, the groove and vibe, the atmosphere is just absolutely perfect. It feels like one, like a certain mood. It sets the stage perfectly for what's to come. The chords and pads are great, and a nod back to the mid-90s.

The piano is just downright orgasmic. The melody might seem random, but it isn't. The panning, the velocity (the force with which the keys are hit) is, I feel, a track in itself (just wait for the 2nd time they appear). Takes a lot of talent to really nail that. It's not exactly on-beat either, but it fits.

What I wanna say is, you can play a piano melody that will feel like one in every way - it will be arranged properly, the velocity would be predictable, the progression would be easy to follow - but to make one that just feels random on first listen, and still have it be incredible and follow the mood and the progression of the track unbelievably well is the sign of a true talent, in my eyes.

The vocals are stunning and fit so well, they just feel like a part of the overall atmosphere of the track. The plucks and riffs that play in the background are also very important. They complement the soundscape so well. And then there's the (anti-)climax, or the outro; the last minute. And what a fantastic minute it is! Never heard anything like it.

I wish I was better with words though. I just feel that this is sophisticated and I can't explain enough why I think it is.

Luminary - My World (Original Mix)

Again with something a bit more atmospheric, rather than trancey. This one's just plain different. Focuses almost completely on atmospheres - the beats stay the same almost completely throughout. The bassline is so low and suppressed you can't almost hear it. And for the entirety of the track, FX hits, whooshes, uplifts, downlifts and small sections, patterns of drums/percussion come and go, along with the atmospheres, vocals and pads. There's really not much to analyze here, just listen.

This track, I feel, would take a talentless guy an eternity to come up with. At the same time, it hasn't got anything spectacular going on, feels like the same track throughout, AND is still absolutely worth the listen. Everything comes and goes at the right time, at the right place, in the right way.

Incolumis - One With Sanctuary (Original Mix)
 
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dmgtz96

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I was hoping you all would elaborate more on what exactly makes your choices sophisticated. Undoubtedly, all great tracks from the genre, but I'm not exactly feeling the "sophisticated" part. So I was hoping your elaboration would make it a bit easier for me to understand why you consider them sophisticated. Or maybe I wasn't clear enough in my OP. In any way, discussion will make that clear.

Xpander and Suburban Train do sound a bit too simple, though I get your point - they are so well made that you instantly think of sophistication, without analysis.
Haliken sounds just like any other track from ~'05. What am I missing?
Illitheas' track is complex, but I feel overly so. It comes at the expense of being slightly less cohesive. It's still a fantastic track.
Fluke vs JXL track is just stunning in every way, and clearly well made. Just not feeling the sophistication part.

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Here are my choices. And let me tell you exactly why. Headphones mandatory.

Judging from your choices it seems like you view atmospheric/very ambient-like as sophisticated. That's not necessarily my POV.
 

Gagi

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Judging from your choices it seems like you view atmospheric/very ambient-like as sophisticated. That's not necessarily my POV.

No, not exactly. Or I don't know. These were just the two examples off the top of my head. What's your point of view?
 

Daysleeper

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First off I just wanna say that I really dont like this thread because it reminds me of my own several years ago, where all I did was basically shutting down everybody elses contributions haha. So @Gagi , be careful here. I suggest you do your own searching instead. After all, that will be the most satisfying to you, rather than ask others here, which differ in opinion and may be somewhere else in their musical journey.

So, I was going to stay away from this, and because I dont obsess over any electronic music these, and I really dont get that much out of listening to "sophisticated" tracks I wasnt sure about posting.

By saying that im gonna give you some pretencious and "sophisticated" hipster tracks, and then let me know they didnt fit the critera and we are done, right ? ;) Because I know with that you want similar tracks to yours that fit your own cravings of those type of tracks. ;) If you want "trancy" deep tracks I suggest Quadran - No Air, Mind - Random Experience/Afterlife, Ortus - Awakenings, Forever (Aspekt Remix), Northern Lights (Phil Johnston Vs. Aspekt Remix), Paski - Rainclouds, Latigidi - Latigidi. Theres several Yt channels focusing on these sounds.

But in all seriousness, it is most about finding new tracks that satisfies that urge and curiosity of yours, right? When those Incolumis type of tracks wears off you go naturally into deeper trajectories.




 
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Gagi

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Yeah, I remember we had a thread there. And ultimately, you're a bit right. I want something, but I can't explain/express it properly, and I'm not even sure what I expect. This is my way of searching though, hearing others' opinions.

My listening habits aren't consistent - sometimes I'm just not attentive enough, and sometimes I just plainly don't hear it...and sometimes what I hear I over-analyze.

This is why I want to see users "make cases" for the tracks they post. In the end, we can disagree and I might not think that they are sophisticated or maybe not even like the tracks and vice-versa - it's all subjective, of course. But still, it allows for some discussion and ultimately some common ground. It's not my thread, this. It's for us all who want to discover sophisticated music. I'll do my best not to impede that.

I'll definitely take a listen to your suggestions as well.
 

Tijana

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Compliments for creating this thread. In my personal opinion, humble though :) having such a thread is essential in order to have a decent discussion and exchange thoughts. More mature of course!

Every expression of thoughts is subjective and how one feels and experiences certain track is individual. Therefore, it's likely unfair to "judge" someone's personal impression simply because it doesn't fit our own idea of what sophisticated presents.

To me, sophisticated track doesn't mean complexity but immaculately "clean", subtle in terms of how it sounds, flows and what feeling it creates. It doesn't depend on the artist, label nor genre. It's a matter of general impression, skillful and quality production. And of course, what kind of emotions it evokes after all.



I'm so looking forward to hearing tracks selected from this tread! @Daysleeper has a good point on this topic! I liked the last track in particular.



Here's one track I'd call "clean", subtle and soothing:

 

Gagi

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Thanks! I concur with your thoughts. I might disagree on the "clean" definition, but I think I get the essence of your argument - it's easier to notice all the layers in a clean track, it also feels more organized and intentional. (May I also share this beauty which I think you'll like?: Wa Wu We)

The more atmospheric, dreamy works sound more sophisticated just because they require a certain degree/aspect of talent, compared to their full-on counterparts. But maybe that's just what I admire. And yes, No Air is one of them for sure. Maybe the most beautiful trance track ever created.

This is another one of my candidates. It's more on the subtle side, but I bet it took a lot of effort to finish. And here's why.

The piano/synth melody, that serves as the main melody, is just stunning. The way he plays around with the volume (velocity) of the individual notes, how they come and go, how they intertwine...it's beyond incredible. It goes up and down so beautifully. It almost paints a picture, it's so full of emotion. It sounds simple but really isn't.

 
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dmgtz96

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No, not exactly. Or I don't know. These were just the two examples off the top of my head. What's your point of view?
I couldn't exactly say in my own words, but @Tijana described the closest so far:

To me, sophisticated track doesn't mean complexity but immaculately "clean", subtle in terms of how it sounds, flows and what feeling it creates. It doesn't depend on the artist, label nor genre. It's a matter of general impression, skillful and quality production. And of course, what kind of emotions it evokes after all.

I had used "complex" to describe Xpander/Suburban Train, but "clean" is a better descriptor.
 
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You probably know all of them, but they seem to fit your description:

Statica - Deadly Nightshade

Cliff Coenraad - Gone South (Leon Bolier Remix)

Bart Claessen - Hartseer

Markus Schulz - Alpha State (Mike Foyle Remix)
 

Tijana

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Thanks! I concur with your thoughts. I might disagree on the "clean" definition, but I think I get the essence of your argument - it's easier to notice all the layers in a clean track, it also feels more organized and intentional. (May I also share this beauty which I think you'll like?: Wa Wu We)

The more atmospheric, dreamy works sound more sophisticated just because they require a certain degree/aspect of talent, compared to their full-on counterparts. But maybe that's just what I admire. And yes, No Air is one of them for sure. Maybe the most beautiful trance track ever created.

This is another one of my candidates. It's more on the subtle side, but I bet it took a lot of effort to finish. And here's why.

The piano/synth melody, that serves as the main melody, is just stunning. The way he plays around with the volume (velocity) of the individual notes, how they come and go, how they intertwine...it's beyond incredible. It goes up and down so beautifully. It almost paints a picture, it's so full of emotion. It sounds simple but really isn't.




You'd definitely do well with reviews :D

Airwave is simply a genius and what I truly like and admire about him is his ability to captivate, seduce and comfort with his creations. Now, don't get me wrong, this is only how I understand and feel his music. To me he is a creator, not just a plain musician. He holds that emotion so elegantly and you can connect through his music in a most special way.

This track is indeed something! Beautifully described and felt! Impressive! Which is Why his tracks are one ultimate masterpiece!
👌


And about the Wa Wu We's touch, very artistic and unusual vision!
 

Daysleeper

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Can I borrow the thread? :p

I so wanna see someone do trance between 135-140 bpm but make it well - sophisticated ,ok, I think the "sophisticated" music term is ridiculous really but lets use in in this context anyways. The best example is my good ol fav Perp.Dreamer - Dub.wav. Its like a fast "subtle" trancer, with really unique pads, and a sort of mysterious vibe ala Three Drives - Carrera 2, mixed with some Thrillseekers esque plucky sounds. I

I think its rather unique. Never really got similar vibes from other tracks.