Hallucinogen – LSD (1994)

Thanks to Twisted Music London (Simon Holtom and Simon Posford) for uploading this full lenght track to soundcloud.

The track LSD from Hallucinogen (Simon Posford) has been first released 1994 and shortly after this on his debut album Twisted on Dragonfly (1995). „[…]  it is one of the most successful albums releases in the genre, with a total sales over 85,000 copies worldwide […] The first track on the album, ‚LSD‘, found the most popularity and remains the defining sound of goa trance.“ (Twisted/Wikipedia) More than enough reason to lay our ear on this piece of music!

While the Beatles obnulibated their LSD experience and their expression in the music with a title like „Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds“ the title „LSD“ as well as the artistname „Hallucinogen“ does not leave any question about this. Further more one can hear a vocal sample from 00:07 by Ken Kesey from the BBC documentary „The Beyond Within: The Rise and Fall of LSD“ (1987) until 00:53 accompanied with some tones (motif: e – c- a)  played with a glittering detuned synthi sound and a string-bass sound (motif: c – d), which is the end of the intro at the same time. –> Introduction (scene A, 28 bars).

Introduced with a small crash cymbal the piece accelates with the bass line and an additional chirping modulated noise sound in the backround. Tapping the quarter beats from here leads to 137 bpm. An incredible influence on the mood of the piece exert the alteration of the fundamental tone a semitone up- and downward. At 01:06 a hi-hat pattern comes up. The bass sounds cut off frequency is the parameter of continuing modulation –> Introduction of the bass line from bar 29 – 45 (scene B, 16 bars).


A bass drum and low conga pattern (sounds like TR-808 ) starts at 01:18. The gated synth melody (sidechain source: bass) played from 01:31 with a tonestock from d, es, f, a. Special is the swirling, spacy Snaredrumsound. The tonestock given before will be expanded by the following arpeggio at 01:45, which makes clear, that Simon Posford accesses an arabic scale here (and for the base line), before he turns to an arpeggio on a D min chord at 01:59 for 4 bars. After that he comes back to the arabian scale arpeggio at 02:06 for another 4 bars without bass drum and another short speach sample (scene C, 32 bars). One could indicate scene C also as scene B‘, because the bass stays the same, but scene B appears to me as a second introduction for the bass line and the piece really starts after this.

arabic_arpeggioArpeggio based on arabic scale

The following 36 bars from 2:13 are a kind of altered repetion of the foregoing scene C – so C‘, because the first eight bars contain the streched gated synth melody from 53 – 61. This is doupled by a synthetic vocal sound (also gated) from bar 85 -101. From bar 101 –  113 one can hear just the base, the synthetic vocal sound melody, the chirping modulated noise sound from scene B and another vocal femal speach sample. From bar 109 some synth tones from the introduction can be noticed. The next bars from 113 – 119 starting at 03:17 I would call scene D, because it has a character of a bridge to a different part E from 03:43. It also contains a new melody motif (tonestock d – a – b). Also here quite synth tones from the introduction can be perceived in the second half of this bridge.

part_e_sequenceArpeggio scene E

Scene E brings a new synth arpeggio, which is played for 80 bars until the end of this part at 06:04 with almost known accompaniment. It consists from mainly a D min7 and B7 chord material, which expands the atmosphere. But then at bar 165 at 04:47 one of the strongest harmonic turns (for me, because it always hits my heartstrings) he changes the base from d to b (VI degree of dmin scale) without transposing the accompaniment. The base on d and b are changing every 4 bars from now on. Several new backround elements and soundalterations keep this part diversified. The track ends as it starts from 06:18 until the end at 06:43 (see introduction) just without speachsample and with the chirping modulated noise sound from scene B.

The structure of the piece is not determined by the multiple of a unit (8, 16 or 32 bars), but rather the intuition of the composer and the lenghts of the speech samples.