This text has been materializing for quite some time, and today it finally took on a solid form. Alternatively, it can be found in my last.fm journal. So what are the rules of modern psytrance?
1) It has to follow trends. Today, modern means either fullon or darkpsy. Maybe it could be called progressive, but that’s more like a category of its own.
2) If it is fullon, there has to be a melodic theme, carefully chosen so that the harmony is simple and infantile. In dark psytrance, infantile melodies don’t matter as long as the sound is dirty and distorted enough.
3) The bassline has to shift in pitch – using just one tone would be boring, right?
4) There has to be at least one long break per track, preferably with a hammering kick or snare onset, and right when it seems the tune will continue, there has to be a flip, or several ones. Another possibilities include slowing down tempo or changing signature from 4/4 to 3/4.
5) There is no rule to how many shorter breaks and flips you have to put in, but it seems the more the better. The more surprises and twists, the better.
6) There must be a vocal sample. In fullon, anything new-agy will do – preferably something enlightening. Dark psy usually uses samples from horror movies – evil remarks and screaming women seem to be particularly trendy. The vocal sample has to be repeated at least twice, but repeating it more often doesn’t matter.
7) Using either highpass or lowpass (or both) cutoff on sound of the whole track has been the thing ever since house music, and it is a must in every modern psytrance track.
8) Since people won’t notice, it is entirely possible to use default arpeggiator presets from your favorite synth. Other way of showing to other producers that the maker is using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques is using highly obvious samples from latest sample collections. They can be tweaked, but not as much as to become unrecognizable.
9) Psytrance is about complexity. In a psytrance track, sounds have to be whirling, whooshing and twinkling all around you all the time. There is no space to be left for imagination except for silence in the breaks of course.
10) Again, good psytrance has to follow the trends. Otherwise – well, first of all world top DJs wouldn’t play something that doesn’t sound just like the branch of psytrance they’re into – there has to be some integrity in their sets, right? If you’re playing fullon, you can’t just skip to something else. Moreover, people expect to hear the style they already know, and they would probably get bored and leave the dancefloor if the DJ didn’t provide them with the latest, preferably unreleased, tracks from their favorite projects. And finally, there’s probably nothing new outside the trends. Obviously, the music is obviously already good enough – look at all those dancing people. If it works, don’t change it. Use that same methods, similar arrangements, there are new CDs to be released and there’s no time to wait for inspiration – the beat has to go on. And make it appeal to even more people, so that the sales go well. I mean, what’s wrong with following the lowest common denominator?