What really *is* missing from trance?

dmgtz96

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I think what is missing is simplicity and imagination. We are missing on music like this:

Ruffault - Another Day Without You (Lost Mix)

And we are getting polish gold painted turds instead...
That song is very good. It feels like the background of an old trance track from the 90s. And I agree on your statement about the "gold painted turds."
Also you are so very right and so very wrong at the same time. You will be surprised how many talented producers there is out there and they can produce anything they want, we are not talking only about trance producers. Trance has been going on the dubstep path, but it just takes longer. It is just not attractive for producers these days unless they 've been doing it for as long time.
I think you meant to quote my post, but anyways: I don't doubt that there are talented producers out there who can hack together something that sounds like old trance. There are lots of them in techno. Is it going to sound good and genuine? Good maybe, but not genuine - everything there sounds hollow.
Can they, after analyzing dozens/hundreds of '90s trance tracks, reverse-engineer the same old trance style and make it feel genuine? Maybe. Would that be worth their time? No, unless they really like trance.
 

LostLegend

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There's also a lot of 'genre bending' going on at the moment also.
Solarstone & Steve Helstrip (The Thrillseekers) have brought this up on their livestreams a few times, that there are tons of tracks out there that fit all the categories of prog trance (122-130bpm, housey style beat, dark bassline, lush strings, trancy arpeggios) but get labled as 'Melodic House' or 'Melodic Techno'

Over the years 'Trance' has become a dirty word for some and it seems to be more profitable to label your music as one of the more hip & cool genres.
Even look at the 'Lofi Hip Hop' craze of recent years. It's essentially just 90's era, Bristol Trip Hop with extra vinyl crackle over the top.

There's lots of good music out there imo that fits the category of what people liked in old trance, a lot of it just isn't called trance any more.

Trance has an identity problem.
 
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Progrez

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Do you guys think that the digital revolution has had an impact on the genre? I think it has, I mean the trance track seem to sound worse now than they did over 2 decades ago when it used to sound crisp and warm and mellow, addictive, melodic, and nostalgic as well and it seems that music especially trance music has become worthless and even releasing on vinyls the sound quality and shelf life are not up to par from the classics.
 

jetflag

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Do you guys think that the digital revolution has had an impact on the genre? I think it has, I mean the trance track seem to sound worse now than they did over 2 decades ago when it used to sound crisp and warm and mellow, addictive, melodic, and nostalgic as well and it seems that music especially trance music has become worthless and even releasing on vinyls the sound quality and shelf life are not up to par from the classics.
Nah, not really. I sort of get your point but the digital revolution was well underway when for instance Intuition recordings was still a thing. Sure, hardware synths where omnipresent but so where VSTi's and thats the case today. Most mastering happened digital, platforms like audiojelly & trackitdown where booming aswell as the loudness war in the entire audio industry so I don’t think its accurate to pin it down to that specifically.

I think its more the fact that that, like any genre, There's a certain bloom period after its initial inception in which everything sort of gets tested and tried out, leading to small revolutionairy spikes once every so often eventually sparking the so called “classics”.

After a while however the genre crystalizes into a more substantial formula (based on the traits óf those recognizable classics) after which and within time everything within that spectrum gets sort of already done and tried, or at the very least it becomes increasingly difficult to do something Novel whilst still fitting the genre label. Eventually bleeding out the genre, at least in terms of popularity.

You can also add to that a very human quirck that especially applies to the real Connoisseurs of said genre, and that’s over-saturation. Like a junky getting a constant dose, you become increasingly less susceptible to “good stuff” since you’ve been fed a constant diet of it for an extensive period. Eventually your brain will fall back to its hedonistic default point and all you’re left with is “the memory of the good days” when you first discovered the music. I noticed I have at least.

And well, that’s just the way it works. 🤷‍♂️ No musical genre is meant to be eternally great and constantly pumping out “classics”. Which is part of the reason why classics áre classics. Ask yourself for instance if the mona lisa would retain its current value if Da Vinci pumped out one every week?

and its not just trance or this age by any stretch of the imagination. You can practically make the “everything used to be better” argument for every musical genre.

when was the last time you’ve noticed an actual contemporary Drum& bass classic? Or a Hardstyle classic? Or a Country classic or a Classic/classic or what have you? Recent genre’s like brostep however have just had their “classic” period and whatever’s up and coming now will see its halcyon days in the near future. After which another, and another etc.
 
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Magnevi

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Lot of valid truths in there, although you can't deny that creativity has come to an all-time low in the last decade.

Where any 138 track uses the exact same drum chararistics (the loud thumping one, as if there are no other). The same synth for the plucks. Why are there plucks anyway. Tons of classics don't do it like that. Why are those 16th notes so overused. And always in the same rhythms like this:


KickKickKickKick
PluckPluckPluckPluckPluckPluck


I mean... how many tracks use this sheme as melody? A LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT.

How many tracks used this sheme between 1996-2008 > Waaaaay lesser ammount.

There are just way worse song writers who are "famous" now.
 
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trancedanne

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There is no easy answer to this question, there are many factors that has made trance become what it is today. I think the gatekeepers in trance, Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten and especially Armin Van Buuren are much to blame. They are the ones that are pretty much deciding what sound is/not popular. Producers want to get dj gigs and become popular, they follow the whatever trending sound they play each week.

Another big problem is that there is no quality control of the music released today, back in the days until 2007 there were high stakes for the record companies releasing music because most often the music was released on physical format. Therefor only what was considered "the best" music was released. Today anyone can make anything in like 10 min and get it released, more & more music is being released everyday which makes it harder to discover the needles in the haystack.

I think back in the days before youtube only the real talanted could make good music, you really had to be creativie in order to make music. Today the creativity is not needed when its more about building lego bricks with already pre made loops, basslines, and such.
 
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jetflag

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Lot of valid truths in there, although you can't deny that creativity has come to an all-time low in the last decade.
i'm not denying that at al, i'm saying there's a good set of reasons for that creative bankruptcy.

how much "original/creative" credit do you think a very specific and rule based scene like the trance scene has after 20 years with that many producers and that big a catalogue of works? only so much you can do (that works within the genre) on a 12 note chromatic scale

I think its very telling that there's a thread, almost 10 pages long on this forum titled: "Similar trance tracks & rip-offs" mainly focusing on melody.
 
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jetflag

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There is no easy answer to this question, there are many factors that has made trance become what it is today. I think the gatekeepers in trance, Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten and especially Armin Van Buuren are much to blame. They are the ones that are pretty much deciding what sound is/not popular. Producers want to get dj gigs and become popular, they follow the whatever trending sound they play each week.

No, disagree. like virtually all creative fields, the market decides, and right now the "trance market" places them in a position of power based on what they make. They don't "gatekeep" whats popular, they act on it. which is why their sound (constantly) shifts.
 
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jetflag

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Another big problem is that there is no quality control of the music released today, back in the days until 2007 there were high stakes for the record companies releasing music because most often the music was released on physical format. Therefor only what was considered "the best" music was released. Today anyone can make anything in like 10 min and get it released, more & more music is being released everyday which makes it harder to discover the needles in the haystack.

I think back in the days before youtube only the real talanted could make good music, you really had to be creativie in order to make music. Today the creativity is not needed when its more about building lego bricks with already pre made loops, basslines, and such.
agreed. however creativity was also heavily restricted due to the aformentioned cost of a professional studio. lots of potential "trance mozarts" will remain forever under the radar if you bring it back to a scenario where only the well-off are afforded the chance to make music. choke-holding new talent and contributing to the gatekeeper scenario (although we disagree on that) you described earlier.
 
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Magnevi

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only so much you can do (that works within the genre) on a 12 note chromatic scale

Of course.

But let's take our own "Cobra" tune. That main melody, in terms of its "note pattern" is not standard at all. I can't think of ANY tune that uses that same note pattern (and with that, I mean the placement of the notes to form the melody). Can you think of another track that uses the same note-pattern as Cobra? I really think there is none.

Sure, the sound of the synth itself is "just another" W&W / Ummet Ozcan / Joop / Bolier - esque" one. But I'm talking about the placement and lenght of the notes that form the melody.
 
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jetflag

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Of course.

But let's take our own "Cobra" tune. That main melody, in terms of its "note pattern" is not standard at all. I can't think of ANY tune that uses that same note pattern (and with that, I mean the placement of the notes to form the melody). Can you think of another track that uses the same note-pattern as Cobra? I really think there is none.

Sure, the sound of the synth itself is "just another" W&W / Ummet Ozcan / Joop / Bolier - esque" one. But I'm talking about the placement and lenght of the notes that form the melody.

Nope, can't find one either of the top of my head, then again, it 1: wouldn't surprise me if there was something that resembled it very closely. and 2 If I where to take say: Joop - The future, and alter 1 or two notes at the beginning or the end. There also wouldn't be another track that uses exactly the same note pattern, and it would, for all intends and purposed be an original melody.

Now i'm not comparing COBRA to that level of "originality" and its not like we've exhausted our pianoroll completely (yet) and its an absolute travesty that our amazing track didn't become an instant classic with over a million beatport downloads and plays and limited vinyl releases what have you...


but it is, for all intends and purposes and as you pointed out, just another "esque" in the long list off. Which is fine by the way.

I'm not saying there are no original melodies present or possible, just that as time goes by it becomes inreasingly difficult to do so and you will eventually ,even by sheer chance), more and more end up with copies within the strict format that has become "trance", even if you yourself as a producer never heard the melody and aren't copying intentionally.

trance melodies work because they're simple. they don't contain offtone or jazz elements, they fit neatly in a repeatable 16 4/4 bar etc, and the more complex they become, the less memorable they are, and as a consequence the less spun/listened to they'll be.
 

trancedanne

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What's also missing is that most of the big names are turning their backs on the genre just like JOOF. What a crock of shit and hypocrisy by this man and the other big names.


I saw JOOF live 2 years ago expecting at least some trance but it was the most boring fucking thing i have ever seen. 2 hours of slow modern techno bullshit, ending with butchering Suburban Train in 128 BPM. Agreed, he is a fucking hypocrisy. Whining about the trance scene for years and ended up leaving it
 

Gagi

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Nice points guys, but I just went through the remix samples of some of the tracks from Sasha's Airdrawndagger album. Ok, it's not completely (or at all) trance, but just listen to it. No clear melodies, everything melodic he has are some stabs in an unusual pattern or heavily delayed/arpeggiated/phased, maybe some strings (but even they don't follow the usual pattern), as well as some rather harmonic/colourful FX and drums/percussion (not just white noise). And from that, he made amazing tracks.

It's not like every track needs to follow the melody recipe/template. I know, people expect it the most from this genre, but why can't it be an exploration of sound design and creativity rather than a competition of who makes the best (standard) melody and wraps it up in a familiar era/style beats?

I mean I love Airwave - When Things Go Wrong as much as the next guy, but where are moody tracks nowadays? Even if happy. Everything sounds basically bland.
 
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jetflag

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I think the solution to the whole "creatitivy in the scene problem" if you can even call it a problem in need of a solution is actually remarkably simple.

1 Pick up a sequencer/turntable.
2 play/make stuff you dig

🤷‍♂️
 
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Magnevi

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its an absolute travesty that our amazing track didn't become an instant classic

We had some nice support from Cristopher Lawrence. Besides a couple of people I've never heard of.

I understand there is only so many options. But I do think a lot of producers simply aren't talented enough to make more outstanding melodies. And those people simply select a couple of chords, and select an arpeggio to play those chords. And then you your main melody.

It's no wonder that many producers of "generic 138" cram out tunes like it's nothing. It's easy once you have your template. I mean, take Victor Special, who released a track on Legacy Of Trance as well. He releases like 30 tracks in a year. What? Yes, that many. They all sound alike if you ask me. I don't see the point in signing any of his tracks. It's just some chords changed, a little change here and there. And another track finished.

Just limit yourself to 1 or 2, maybe 3 tunes in a whole year. Only finish the very best, and spend time on little details in that one. And then you can be proud. :)
 

jetflag

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I understand there is only so many options. But I do think a lot of producers simply aren't talented enough to make more outstanding melodies. And those people simply select a couple of chords, and select an arpeggio to play those chords. And then you your main melody.

It's no wonder that many producers of "generic 138" cram out tunes like it's nothing. It's easy once you have your template. I mean, take Victor Special, who released a track on Legacy Of Trance as well. He releases like 30 tracks in a year. What? Yes, that many. They all sound alike if you ask me. I don't see the point in signing any of his tracks. It's just some chords changed, a little change here and there. And another track finished.

Just limit yourself to 1 or 2, maybe 3 tunes in a whole year. Only finish the very best, and spend time on little details in that one. And then you can be proud. :)


me neither, but the damn market decides man, 🤷‍♂️ apparently there's a demand for it and as long as the demand is up, he'll get signed and played.

what do you propose we do about "untalented producers" ?

arrest and shoot them for creative bankrupcy? 😅
 
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Magnevi

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but the damn market decides man

I guess you're right. In the end it comes down to the users, the consumers.

If you keep eating MacDonalds, they will keep growing their business. Simple as that.

[Btw shooting might be a bit much... maybe disconnect them from internet for a year. Or, if it's gonna be jail... throw in a turntable with a stack of classics... ]
 
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jetflag

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I actually think the way the guys from for instance Enigma State or even the likes of seagrave & helstrip approach it is the solution.

Just, F em all and do your own damn thing. like the old sound? make the old sound! love vinyl? crowdfund vinyl. don't want clumsy beatport constructions? just sell your stuff to bandcamp.

why bother with all that generic popularity driven crap. What I love about todays day and age is you can basically do what you want. you can opt for the traditional route and have your favorite or indie label handle your releases... or just go do your own thing.
 

Manofearth

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After going through the ambient thread in this forum today it really is apparent that there's a complete lack of ambient and chillout Trance music available in the scene. The recent release from Mikkel Rev in the releases subsection might be the first trance-ambient track I had heard in the longtime that embodies in someways the style in such availability in the early 90's. That period was gave the most creative ambient-trance experiences in the history of electronic music so far I think. It was highly blended music. It's almost heartbreaking it's a dead (or at least hidden) style today.

So ambient trance is missing from the landscape of trance music. But the more telling point is that its missing because the experimental mindset that allowed it to be a significant scene is missing in general, whether it's the willingness for producers to experiment with merging styles, the willingness of the labels to experiment by covering multiple styles, or the willingness of the listeners of the scene to breakaway from conventional listening platforms (beatport, apple music, spotify) and experiment with finding music in places that home the experimental ideas. Forums are an example of that unconventional discovery stream (but unfortunately without support mechanisms)