Who are some of the historically important trance artists from the classic era?

Aug 23, 2022
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I'm doing some research for my Trance book that I previously created a post about on this site (since then, it expanded in its scope even further, I just can't provide any meaningful updates on it yet). In your opinion, who are some of the trance artists that were/are historically/culturally important? Artists that created music that helped to define or even push the boundaries of the trance genre, artists that produced tons of high-quality trance music, artists that really excelled in creating trance tracks with a specific sound / in a specific style, etc.
Jul 19, 2022
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Peter Kuhlmann (Fax Records)
- Owner and producer, left trance in 1995 I think? Didn't like the people and politcs of the genre. His early trance works were considered pretty pioneering and the later ambient stuff is revered by hardcore fans.
Sven Vath (Eye Q, Harthouse)
- Along with Matthias Hoffman, championed EyeQ and Harthouse. As a DJ and producers, but to me especially a DJ, really got trance out there in the early days. Can't say enough about the quality of early Eye Q and Harthouse as well as their contribution to the scene.
Matthias Hoffman (Eye Q/Harthouse/Brainchild/Cygnus X) - See above. His work as a producer is also legendary.
Simon Berry (Platipus)
- As label head of Platipus and producer as Art of Trance/etc, his impact cannot be overstated.
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Julian Del Agranda

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Jul 3, 2020
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The big question is, do you want only names important for the birth of the genre. Or do you want important names throughout the development of the genre.

AKA: 1999 trance names? :p
Aug 23, 2022
104 Posts
96 Thanked
The big question is, do you want only names important for the birth of the genre. Or do you want important names throughout the development of the genre.

AKA: 1999 trance names? :p
Both! And with reasoning, if possible, to give context to the artists' names.


Jul 15, 2020
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The first replies actually has surprisingly comprehensive list of early pioneers. Those producers pretty much made the building blocks of what trance became. Eye Q and Platipus as labels had a colossal impact to the scene.

But I guess we need to look things further. A shortlist of sorts here.

I am not so sure about the 95-99 to be honest. I guess it was about taking gradual steps towards more commercial sounds with what was called "progressive" back then. One could argue Robert Miles had a lot to do with the commercialization of the trance sound even if Dream Trance was also labelled Dream House. Hard to argue against the importance of Children though. Or from different artists BBE's Seven Days And One Week.

From the progressive trance/house/whatever, we slowly got the first superstar DJ's. Sasha, John Digweed and Paul Oakenfold are probably the easiest names to mention resulting the peak of Global Underground around 99. Pretty much everyone who has listened to trance longer time knows Xpander or Heaven Scent.

Few other random mentions from the era, Chicane (Far from the Maddening Crowds album as well as hugely popular Offshore, later Behind The Sun with Saltwater/Don't Give Up). BT pushed the technology and sounds a lot releasing few respected albums with big some big hits (Flaming June especially). Three Drives - Greece 2000 has also stood the test of time.

Eventually around 1999 we got into the uplifting trance, especially driven forward by the Dutch. Ferry Corsten is by far the biggest name of the era, but there are a lot of others too like the already mentioned Vincent De Moor. Of course it wasn't just the Dutch as the era spawned big hits made by for an example Push (Universal Nation) or Matt Darey (own tracks, Lost Tribe - Gamemaster etc.).

Laurent Véronnez best known as Airwave has been hugely popular and versatile during his career with like tens of different aliases.

In the 00's we moved to an era where we got big superstar trance DJ's topping DJ Mag's DJ list year after year. Ferry Corsten and Paul van Dyk were among these, but one cannot go without mention of Tiësto having many big mix compilation series as well as hugely popular own tracks. Armin van Buuren eventually became popular with A State Of Trance radioshow. And some kind of a change in uplifting sound was also made by Above & Beyond and the Anjunabeats label.

The list could go on and on, but I leave filling the gaps to the others. This was pretty much from the top of my head anyway.
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Sep 26, 2020
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I would add maybe Sash, Darude, Alice DJ, ATB for the only reason they were among the first to break trance into popular mainstream music. There are others but this 4 were gamechangers.

BT and Chicane were great innovators and pushed trance a lot further as someone mentioned above.


Dec 7, 2022
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When I think of people who brought The genre forward in terms of sound and exposure then a few come to mind (in order of influence)

Robert Leiner
Paul Okenfold/Pete Tong/Matt Darry
Paul Van Dyk
John Fleming