3886records // Progressive Psytrance: Walking the thin line – Part II

The musical development initiated by Atmos and others in the expiring millennium has existed to this day. It`s a bit slower and more earthy than „ordinary“ Psytrance and it uses more conventional melodic and harmonic turns – certainly a reason for the commercial success during the last time. The bandwith of this subgenre is very narrow, because with the reduction of speed and a bit of shuffle you find yourself in Deep or Progressive House easily and with the use of a longer chord progression and sweet vocal melodies one serves pop clichés very quickly. 

Never is was easy to use vocals in Psytrance, because there is always the danger of entangling the dancer with it more deeply. On the other hand, of course, man is shaped by the perception of voices and this can be a wonderful musical element, if you use them skilfully. The more I was surprised from this truly classic theme Andreas Linden and Robin Gesell took on: „Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. What if antimatter is all we are?“ Often the Progressive Psytrance leads you back into the next morning where the afterhour party starts and the one or the other might have asked: „So, what is all about. Where do we come from and where do we go?“. A wonderful speculation everyone likes to strip off right away, because where could one find the answer to this? „Beyond day and night, beyond death and life“ The answer eludes the earthly. But that seems certain: „While bodies stay, minds travel far“. Here the core of all religions is taken up: Somehow it will continue. And with that they bring the previously possibly disturbed mind already safely back to the landing. Perfect psy lyrics in my eyes! There are several more tracks from Spekta with vocal elements, but especially with this he has managed a real coup in my eyes.

The track itself (Spekta – Antimatter) is solid progressive psytrance craft. 138 bpm, offbeat base, minimal – the bass never leaves the D. But that’s not enough. The remix of Vaas Maro refines the ideas of his label colleagues in a condensed, crisp version. He makes elements appear again in a different light by changing the bass  and shows new perspectives by experimental handling of the vocal recordings. A track that really deserves the label „Progressive“, because he brings in fresh ideas in unconventional dealing with the bass. Unfortunately, unpublished until now. Therefore, this title should be mentioned again at this point:

Spekta told me that often Psytrance tracks are like phantasy journeys and that most of the time his tracks reflect his actual mood while composing them. His pieces are not only fantasy but also time travel, what you can hear in his tracks Comet and Lambda Core. Anyone who has seen the science fiction series Captain Future on television as a kid in the 1970s has a high chance of not having missed Anne Clark and Our Darkness in the Eighties :). Listen to Lambda Core and you know what I mean!

The off-beat bass has been cultivated strictly until the Kronfeld Remix, where a bit of variety came into play and with the Comet track the psy gallop broke completely for the first time. With Unstable Psysotope he left the major / minor melodic scales towards arabic ones to intense the psychadelic mood.  The tracks Level to Level and Eine Ahnung already play in the darker realms of Psytrance.

It’s a pity, because that’s where the story about Spekta and maybe also 3886records ends, which I have seen as a truly authentic approach to progressive psytrance.  Perhaps the last tracks of Spekta reflect not only his own mood and at the same time the attempt as a musician to move more into the eye of the storm of „real“ psytrance parties, but also a movement of the entire scene, which flees into more extreme musical currents of psytrance to escape the mainstream.  „The underground feels threatened and reacts by making the music harder and more monotonous.“ (Oliver Koletzki #fuckedm)

3886records // The worries and needs of a Psytrance labelhead – Part I

Long are the nights of a Psytrance party weekend. The demanding sound, the persistent dancing, sleep deprivation and other temptations leave their mark, if one wants to stay in the Psytrance scene for years, which Andreas Linden has been supplying with fresh and new Psytrance producers, DJs and his own sound as Spekta for the last 5 years. Unfortunately the founder and labelhead of 3886records has to take a break for health reasons. Lucky for me, otherwise he might not have had time to pacify my curiosity about the hustle and bustle of his own Psytrance label, which he has founded in November 2012.

Shortly before, he got to know the organizer of the party series Bonn Goa Backstage, who engaged him as a Psytrance DJ on the turntables, even though he was musically still in Hip Hop at that time. When asked which label name should appear on the flyer behind his artist name, he spontaneously replied: 3886records. The good cooperation with the organizer earned him the job as resident DJ at Bonn Goa Backstage. Andreas understood this as an opportunity and instantly set up a label homepage, which was certainly easy for him as an educated programmer, and began to collect the first artists to produce electronic music for the label with still different genres. With ongoing bookings at Bonn Goa Backstage, the profile of 3886records was increasingly shaped into the direction of (Progressive) Psytrance, already knowing that on the one hand the softer „ass-shaking Proggy“ sound has commercial success in the mp3 portals, but the scene still celebrates the „night sound concept“ with harder and faster Psytrance music during the night. The harder gait is served for example by iDirty records from Cologne to which Andreas wanted to position his own as a musical counterpoint. So more than a dozen artists and more than half a dozen DJs (names) decorate the label homepage of 3886records, which predominantly represent Progressive Psytrance, but also have Psytrance in their portfolio here and there. Among others is DJ Quantec, who referrs to Stefan Lewin aka Magnetrixx in his biography, who decisively influenced und enriched the Progressive style with three brilliant albums during the first decade of the new millennium (Striking here is that artists like Magnetrixx, Quantec as well as Spekta, who had a musical education as children, rather seem to have a penchant for the more melodic Progressive Psytrance).

Due to the fact that Andreas works as a professional programmer, he has never had the pressure to make a living with the label and his music. That is a good starting point, because labels of this size do not generate much sales with mp3s. It is more about demonstrating presense in the big online portals like beatport and others showing that the music label is managed professionally. Financially a bit more interesting is a live performance with their own music (And that has always been like that – in every music genre – best as a non-GEMA member, otherwise you have to pay for own music!). But even a formerly well-known Iboga act like Antix stated: „We are not rich with money but feel very rich in our lifestyle.“ And that seems to be the biggest lure in the scene, because despite the high demanded professionalism, the chance of a fair financial reward is rather grim. Professionalism is what labelhead Andreas demands of his artists, because he believes that the time of the entry-level of 3886records is over. This includes not only quality, quantity, a musical development as an artist, but also reliability, because nothing is more embarrassing for a labelhead to have to apologize for a not appearing act, because he has missed his schedule. This high standard ensures a clear portfolio of artists. But it happens also that one or the other high flyer wants to leave the label and switch to an already more successful one. Another difficulty is to give label tasks to others, so that they are done with the same commitment and reliability, especially when no or only a small financial compensation in prospect. And if there is someone doing a good job, you do not want to scare him off with deadlines. That makes growing difficult, because there are so many time consuming activities you can`t handle on your own all the time: contacting and maintaining organizers, preparing the releases of new tracks and the online promotion for these, listening to demo tracks a.s.o.

Stay tuned for the second part about further musical aspects of Spektas work!