Best Psytrance Music Artists - 10 Acts Representing The Past, Present And Future


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Psytrance Music


We take a look at the 10 best Psytrance acts combining elements of the old and the new to produce engaging, 21st century psychedelia for the masses.

To say that Psytrance is experiencing a heydey is an understatement nearly as massive as the basslines crafted by the following artists. With the advent of social media and an increase in electronic music festivals and fans, Psychedelic trance has reached the masses, despite its regional beginnings.

Stemming from the popularisation of psychedelic rock music by western hippies in the 1970's - Goa, India became the birthplace for psytrance as we know it today. With its roots in the early 1990s, psytrance reached worldwide audiences by the mid 90’s into the new millennium.

With a thematic focus on hallucinogenic drugs, the universe and the expansion of consciousness, psytrance as a genre has evolved sonically as more artists incorporate their creative input to the mix. Below, we take a look at some of the most monumental groups of the moment, breaking down the 10 best psytrance artists representing the past, present and future of the genre.

INFECTED MUSHROOM

Formed by Erez Eisen and Amit Duvdevani in 1996, Israeli psytrance megastars Infected Mushroom have become one of the genre’s most recognisable and legendary acts. Twice ranked by DJ Magazine as one of the “10 Best DJs,” Infected Mushroom have paved the way for many successful psytrance music artists of today.

January, 2017 marked the release of Eisen and Duvdevani’s 11th studio album, Return to Sauce - an energetic return to form indeed. Having pioneered many trends in the psytrance genre, Infected Mushroom have experimented with a diverse assortment of musical styles and textures that have cemented them one of the most interesting and dynamic artists playing today.

Whether it’s their new mixes or tracks from their recent LP, Infected Mushroom concoct rocket-launch rhythms, interweaving bursts of progressive house and dubstep that culminate in cosmic-dance-party vibes fit for an alien queen’s court.

Never a duo to stay in one lane, Infected Mushroom’s work samples pop melodies between bursts of crisp, interwoven bass rhythms and accelerating tempos. One of Return to Sauce’s leading singles “Nutmeg” delivers an onslaught of anxiously building riffs atop a dark dance beat that encompassed much of their early work.

Infected Mushroom show audiences an immersive live experience, both sonically and visually. By employing analogue instruments as well as synth and bass alongside multimedia projections, the group put on impressive performances. Infected Mushroom tour often, appearing at major festivals like America’s Burning Man Festival and Brazil’s Ipanema Beach.

ASTRIX

Another key player who helped to establish Israel’s electronic music scene is Astrix. With deep roots in the underground scene, Astrix’s Avi Shmailov has produced four studio albums featuring his trademark uplifting sound. Between touring around the world, Astrix produces precise, euphoric tracks with strong melodies and driving basslines that combine a classic full-on sound with new twists.

With the release of “He.art” in 2016, Astrix continues his legacy of perfectionism while appearing in nightclubs and major music festivals around the world. Astrix’s dual role as DJ and producer allows him to craft emotive tracks that live on as psytrance anthems.

One of Astrix’s recent mixes entitled “Psy-fi Book of Changes Mix” encompasses some of the most satisfying transitions of any psytrance artist of the moment. His confidence is evident in each sequence as is his dedication to the traditional and new aesthetics of the genre.

BLISS

Yonatan Marcow’s BLiSS presents the kind of fearless psytrance that wins over new converts. With consistently glitched out rhythms, BLiSS isn’t afraid to release drops that catapult listeners beyond the Milky Way. BliSS’s intensity arrives in tea kettle builds that scream and hiss and then explode with sound.

Marcow has released two solo albums in his career: 2005’s “The Rhythmus Gene” which skyrocketed him to fame - as well as “The Looney Bin,” released in 2008. Mostly, BLiSS tours and contributes tracks to compilation albums, including two with his side project A-TEAM with Painkiller.

Starting out in 2004, BLiSS quickly became a hit of the Tel Aviv psytrance scene. Like Infected Mushroom, BLiSS draw inspiration from many sources, including heavy metal, which contributes to his aggressive full-on sound. While BLiSS is one of several popular DJs and producers to emerge around the last decade, Marcow’s maverick mentality has kept him from slipping into the confines of the perpetual mainstream.

1200 MICROGRAMS

1200 Micrograms lived a tumultuous history as a group, but have nevertheless put out an impressive collection of albums and EP’s between 2002 and 2016. The Ibiza-based project is comprised of four members: Riktam and Bansi Quinteros, Raja Ram and Chicago. All members have been part of other musical acts and have since waged disputes with one another over creative workload and reliability.

In 2016, 1200 Micrograms officially broke up after releasing the Ritualism EP, having formed seventeen years earlier in 1999. Ritualism doesn’t necessarily present a huge shift in sound or structure, but the group succeed by mixing analogue guitar riffs with ascending sequences that sound like coins bursting from an ethereal slot machine.

SHPONGLE

England’s duo Shpongle is comprised of Hallucinogen (Simon Posford) and Raja Ram of The Infinity Project and 1200 Micrograms fame. Shpongle are known for infusing ambient and world music into classic psytrance basslines.

Heavily inspired by lived psychedelic experiences, Shpongle gathers from various sonic influences to emote the feelings of expanding consciousness and hallucination.

With six studio albums (the newest, CODEX 6 to be released on an undisclosed date in 2017) and three EPs to boot - Shpongle evolve without losing sight of the genre's origins.

The epic track “Divine Moments of Truth” from their 1998 debut album Are You Shpongled? is quintessential Shpongle - combining layers of ambient sounds and lilting melodies that build - in this case atop a sample of Terence McKenna recounting the experience of taking DMT. As his voice trails off, listeners are thrust into a psychedelic journey of Alice in Wonderland-esque proportions, complete with apprehensive ticking clock sounds.

JUNO REACTOR

Juno Reactor formed in 1990 when Ben Watkins decided to pursue a collaborative, experimental music project. With a focus on creating artistically (rather than commercially) driven work, Watkins and Co. scored a variety of visual and performing art projects.

With the release of Juno Reactor’s first psytrance album, Transmissions, the group became synonymous as genre innovators, blending traditional Goa trance with their unique musical perspectives.

Juno Reactor’s influence spans much of the electronic music genre, including psytrance. Melding the distinctions between orchestral and electronic music, the group is constantly developing and experimenting with sound.

From inception, Juno Reactor has consisted of a rotating cast of members. Currently, the lineup consists of six members: Ben Watkins (drums), Johann Bley (Drums), Taja Devi (Singer), Hamsika Iyer (Singer), Amir Haddad (Guitar) and Sugizo (Guitar).

Of their eight studio albums, 2013 saw the release of The Golden Sun of The Great East, a diverse mix of evocative trance and world music. In keeping with Juno Reactor’s self-proclaimed “cinematic vision”, the album’s rich array of sounds conjures powerfully emotional imagery.

Great East’s leading track “Final Frontier” sets a deliberately urgent pace that lends itself to the album’s potential as a live crowd-pleaser.

Juno Reactor tour widely at venues and festivals, including England’s own Glastonbury Festival and Fuji Rock.

ASTRAL PROJECTION

Listening to the first few seconds of most Astral Projection tracks, you’ll soon realise just how apt the group's name is. Full of space-age basslines and a strong Goa trance skeleton, Avi Nissim and Lior Perlmutter’s discography as Astral Projection has cemented them as one of psytrance's most deserving popular acts.

Having met in elementary school, Nissim and Perlmutter individually became involved in Tel Aviv’s electronic music scene in the 80’s. They later teamed up to produce “Monster Mania” in 1990, which became a smash hit.

"Monster Mania" was released years before Astral Projection was officially developed between the years of 1993-1995. At this point releasing compilations of “Trust In Trance: Psychedelic Vibes,” Astral Projection’s third, groundbreaking solo album Dancing Galaxy finally arrived in 1997.

Going on to release music consistently for the next few years, Astral Projection’s last official LP “Ten” was released in 2004. The group have steadily released singles in recent years, as well as “Goa Classics Remixed” in 2014. As promised, the mix highlights classically energetic Goa trance elements. At present, the duo’s website proclaims that the pair are currently working on new music.

NEELIX

Neelix’s Henrik Twardzik is a progressive trance and progressive house producer hailing from Germany. Starting off as a DJ, Neelix released his first solo tracks in the spring of the year 2000, followed by the debut of his album Resident in 2003.

Neelix’s propulsive sound is ever-present throughout his music. Though he intersperses a variety of unique melodies and quiet breaks in his tracks, there is always forward motion to his work that makes it both danceable and easy to listen to. Neelix also frequently employs vocals and performs live arrangements and remixes of his work. In the years spent performing music as Neelix, Twardzik’s current style fluctuates between an interdisciplinary mix of genres.

Neelix’s most recent studio album Face-Lift / RMX appeared in 2012, followed by 2015’s LP Remixed and 2016’s single “You Can Change the World.” Like most of the best psytrance bands of today, Neelix tours extensively and enjoys creating immersive shows that keep his growing fan base wanting more.

EARTHLING

Billed as the live psytrance act from electronic music renaissance man DJ Celli, Earthling showcases the best of his released and unreleased material in the form of “Psychedelic blast-off music to lose your marbles to.”

Celli is based in the UK and is a mainstay DJ at psychedelic festivals. He appears as part of a number of different solo and collaborative projects, projects including SOUNDAHOLIX, THIRD EAR AUDIO and EVERBLAST.

As a young adult in the early 1990’s, Celli was a consistent presence in the Ibiza psytrance scene where he worked as an underground party organiser.

Earthling’s most recent album INTERSTELLAR MOONSHINE dropped in 2016 with twelve tracks. Highlights include track one: “Hippy Daze” which sets the scene for later bangers like track 6: “Houdini” featuring Ajja - a dark, ruminating bassline that evolves into a chase scene of interlocking ray-gun rhythms.

To date, DJ Celli has released a total of eight studio albums and 145 tracks alongside an impressive list of collaborators from within and outside the psytrance genre.

PSYSHARK

PsyShark is one of three musical projects conceived and developed by Israeli artist Valentino Jorno. In addition to his two other distinct acts Valentino Jorno (melodic trance) and VJorno (melodic psytrance, downtempo), PsyShark is essential Psytrance. Jorno owns two record labels: PsyShark Records and Jorno Records, where he produces his own music.

All three of PsyShark’s studio albums were released under PsyShark Records. 2013’s release of PsyShark - Return of Psyshark is preceded by 2008’s PsyShark - Acid Rules and 2007’s debut PsyShark - God Vs Satan.

On Return to PsyShark, the producer straps his listeners in for a roller coaster ride - hyping us up to the moon, then quickly plummeting us down into relative silence. As evidenced by the breadth of electronic projects Jorno takes on, the album’s stylings are diverse, featuring swaths of hip hop and progressive house.

Jorno tours on and off as PsyShark. He has recently taken a hiatus, citing personal reasons including a time-consuming pursuit of two degrees: an LLB in Law and an MBA in Business Management.

The 10 above-listed psytrance artists offer a varied take on the genre, spanning both old and new. There is much to be enjoyed from them, but they are but a few of the eclectic and vibrant artists on the scene. So if you love psytrance, don't be afraid to use these guys as a starting point and branch out! Enjoy!

 

         
  Guest Writer  

Written by: Guest Writer
Occasionally we have guest writers contribute to our blog here at Zamnesia. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, making their knowledge invaluable.

 
 
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