20 Years of Progressive (Psy)Trance

Just as we celebrated 20 years of Psytrance in 2011 (GOA – 20 Years of Psychedelic Trance) , 2018 could be declared the 20th anniversary of Progressive Trance due to the releases from Atmos – Rebirth Of Cavanaough (1998) or Shiva Chantra with his second long player Positive (1998). While the pieces of his first longplayer still contained the typical Goa arpeggios, the second one clearly shows the strong minimalistic approaches with already heavy use of the off-beat-bass (listen to Shiva Chandra – Platic, triplets during the intro!). Shiva Chandra already participated in the gradually burgeoning Psytrance scene with his first album Spicy Moments (1996): „Being back in Germany there have been small private parties in the forrest and i got more into it.“ Later on he distanced himself from the overloaded Psytrance sound: „I never liked such trouble sound and my music had been minimal all the time.“ Atmos, who was musically unknown when he hit the Psytrance scene, made clear that his music was not a further development of Psytrance for him, but a further development of Trance in general. „I don’t think I’m producing any psytrance or ever done. The shit we are doing is just trance or deeptrance.[…] Since I don’t really like psychedelic music maybe I can write some other stuff that i like instead.“ [But he is familiar with X-Dream und Michael Kohlbecker]. Also Son Kite who came up with their debut album Minilogue (1999) statet: „Digital Structures [one of their two labels] is into a trance sound that we would call progressive trance. With this we mean an approach to the old trance sound merged with techno beats.

The way of Progressive Trance into the Psytrance scene has been made transparent by Kai Mathesdorf („The Psytrance Labels“ in: GOA – 20 Years of Psychadelic Trance). The new manager Cass Catbush of the famous Psytrance label Flying Rhino, who just tried to lead the label out of the crisis through reorientation, signed Atmos as new artist and their Vinyl release from Atmos – Klein aber Doctor (1999) as well as their CD compilation Slipstream (1998) were a great success and marked the start of Progressive Trance within the Psytrance realm. It should be noted in passing that Cass naturally also produced this sound :) Don`t miss to listen to this epic track from Cass & Slide – Perception (1999)!

Many other artists like Ticon, Antix, Magnetrixx, Freq, Vibrasphere, SBK a. o. didn`t release any Psytrance tracks before. This means that the new style was not a subgenre of Psytrance at first, but only subsumed, because it arrived and worked well at the Psytrance parties and was distributed through the same channels. The question that now arises is to what extent these two styles have merged, which is to be clarified elsewhere by means of one or more analyses.

These new insights for me were made possible also by the valuable interviews of the crew of psynews.org, discography collections at discogs.com and Kai Mathesdorf. Many thanks for that!