Trance in 2010, where do we go from here ?
by Mark Menjivar
Hey what’s going on readers out there in music land. Hope you all have found some new tracks to have in rotation with your iTunes or CD players or whatever it is you use in this day and age (myself being an iTunes man). Wanted to touch on a topic that’s been kinda blossoming in the back of my mind ever since I’ve been listening to more trance these days. When it comes to electronic music, trance has always been reigning king at #1 in my book, when progressive house at a very close #2, and electro house rounding it out at #3. Maybe techno would come in at #4? There are some techno tracks that stand out for me. While they aren’t dance material, I can recognize the musical prowess and effort that goes behind a good techno track. However, these days I’ve noticed that the genre lines are without a doubt being blurred, spawning some very interesting and peculiar results with new tracks coming out this year. It has been hard to deduce sometimes specifically which genre or sub-genre to classify some tracks. That being said, trance DJ’s are stepping into the house realm, house DJ’s are speeding up their tracks a little bit and adding breakdowns, Dubstep DJ’s are remixing and slowing down popular electro tracks, and so on and so forth.
Is this a good thing? I think absolutely. It shows appreciation from all fronts of the EDM world for good music. Simply because you make drum & bass music, doesn’t mean you can’t understand and love trance. In this day and age, it wouldn’t surprise me that a drum & bass would even include a trance song he likes in his set, of course nicely sped up and remixed to his drum & bass set specifications.
Now this gets me to thinking, what does this mean for my #1 genre trance? Where is the future going to take our once genuinely distinct favorite form of edm? One thing is for sure, is that the BPM is going down to match somewhere along the lines of progressive house. When trance first started out, the BPM was very high. Usually within the 140 BPM to 150 BPM range. Take a listen to the very famous track “Flight 643” by Tiesto in 2001.
This fast paced, techno inspired, melodic, and up-lifting track is genuinely what trance is all about. Since the spawning of it (when it actually was classified under the name “trance” and not “techno”), and even up until the mid 2000’s, this held true. Check out Sean Tyas’ “Drop”. If my memory serves me correctly, this track came out in 2006-2007:
All those years later after Tiesto’s smash (one of the pioneers of trance music), the formula still holds true. However these days, many of the trance releases have been slowed down to mirror a formula that becomes very reminiscent of progressive house. I’m not saying this about all trance, just some trance; that some being a big portion of crossover for the trance community that is translating into success. One of the biggest acts in trance right now is Gareth Emery. This is a great example of trance that has slowed down and taken a turn for the more progressive house friendly crowd:
Without a shadow of a doubt an amazing track, but greatly different from the first two that I played before. Many more examples of this are relevant from our favorite trance artists. Along with some taking a turn for the more progressive, others are simply taking a turn for the more “pop” friendly. A song like Armin van Buuren’s “Not Giving Up On Love” could easily be heard on the radio, even though it’s from a trance artist. Especially considering how even hip hop and other pop acts have taken a liking for more electronic & dance productions.
The flip side of this, is house artists exploring the realm of trance with their breakdowns, uplifting melodies, and overall euphoric nature. EDX, Deadmau5, Kaskade, and Swedish House Mafias are perfect examples of this. Some of examples of this:
Amazing, amazing tracks all around. You could hear any of these spun by your favorite trance DJ’s these days, despite technically not being classified as “trance”.
Whats the point??
Let me round this all off by repeating that not every trance artist is doing this! and not all trance is turning into this! The bulk majority of trance we still hear on radio shows like Trance Around The World, A State of Trance, and Global DJ Broadcast is still reminiscent of the classic sound we all know and love and were brought up with. However, we cannot deny that the trend is taking off and we are starting to see more and more of it. Listen to an episode of ASOT from 2005 and then listen to an episode from 2010. See the difference? I am willing to predict in the coming decade that we will start to see more and more of this. Not to mention that the many hip-hop and pop acts that are starting to dive more and more into dance music will without a doubt affect the EDM scene; for better or worse. Overall, I think it will generate more possibilities for all of our fine producers around the world. Despite if we think it could affect things adversely, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with universal exposure, appreciation, and mutual respect. Viva Trance! No matter what state it is in.
~Marky Mark aka Mark Menjivar
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