Psychedelic trance started around ’98, and some pinpoint its beginning to the release of X-Dream’s Radio. Along with the morph into Psytrance from Goa Trance, the number of producers and sub-genres simply exploded, and huge amounts of psy are released every year. While there is a lot of good psytrance out there, it gets lost among the mediocre releases the reason being that many producers traded quality for appeal, using cliched sounds and formulas to get more mainstream appeal. Hopefully this list will help you find some of that good stuff.
Psychedelic Trance (Psytrance or just Psy for short) is Goa Trance’s successor. It is more techish and mechanical, and its most prominent element is the bassline, which is a series of repeated bass notes going “RRRR” that impart a real drive to the track. My favourite description of Psy trance is “spiritual underground, 140+bpm uptempo climaxes, strongintelligentalien, sharprobotsapiens, huge old future, full-on-all-in-one, colourful brain activity inducing” taken from here.
Psytrance is meant to be heard at parties. Here are some places you can get party info.
Isratrance Party Listings – all world
Isratrance Festival Listings – all world
Psynews Party/Festival Listings – all world
Ektoplazm Event Listings – mostly focused on the States and Canada
Goatrance.de – focused on Germany for the large part
Psyevents – Parties in and around Austria
OzTrance & Australiens – Australia
Psytribe and Psycircle – California
I’ve heard a lot but not nearly enough psy, which is why it’s called “Best Psy I’ve Heard”. A lot of exploring needs to be done, particularly the minimal/tech & Suomi side, so some sub-genres are under-represented in this list. And I don’t take to progressive psy because it just doesn’t sound psychedelic enough! If you have recommendations feel free to post them.
- Androcell – Efflorescence – 2006 – Psybient, Dub
- Alien Mental – Mind Hack – 2007 – Dark
Capsula – The Synthesis of Reality – 2005 – Psybient
- CPC – Subliminal Messages – 2009 – Full-On
The last two tracks – Lizerd 23 and Cykle – especially stand out.
- Cujorious One – The Art of Mindfucking – 2007 – Dark Progressive
- (The) Delta – Scizoeffective – 1999 – Horror/Tech
- Derango – Tumult – 2005 – Dark/Forest-ey
This is dark trance. Gnomes, trolls and leprechauns will whisper in your head, and whisk you off to the depths of the Scandinavian forests.
- Distant System – Spiral Empire – 2008 – Ambient
The same person is behind this and Androcell.
- Deviant Electronics – Blunt Instruments – 2000 – Drum & Bass,Ambient
Nice, chillout psy breaks.
- Dissociactive – Total Transformation – 2010 – Psychedelic Trance
Genuine Psychedelic Trance. I don’t know of any other way to put it. Squelchy, delicious, deep, twisted. Good listening, give it time to grow on ya.
- Domi Pastor – Immmortality – 2002 – Goa/Dark varies from track to track
The second track has such an amazing melody in the beginning, just a simple melody with a kick and it leaves you stunned, the track is very aptly titled “The Fly of the Pheonix”.
- Entheogenic – Entheogenic – 2002 – Psybient
- Electrypnose – Subliminimal Melancholies – 2006 – Psybient
- Enichkin – In Memory of Love
Quite engrossing at points, the combination of melodies and darkpsy.
- Fractal Glider – Parasite – 2002 – meld of goa/psy
- Fragletrollet – Playground of Spirit – 2009 – Foresty Dark
- Furious – Uncanny Beats – 2007 – Maximal Dark
Absolutely crazy Russian psy, with a new effect every few seconds, this will max out your senses in out trying to take in what you’re hearing.
- Hallucinogen – The Lone Deranger – 1997
Not as good as the debut, but I still think it merits a place here.
- Infected Mushroom – The Gathering – 1999 – Melodic
IM were really good in the beginning, but now apparently they play rock covers. No comments.
- Jikkenteki – The Long Walk Home – 2006 – Experimental
Free legal download from Ektoplazm.
- Ghreg on Earth – Sigilweaver – 2005 – Dark with Goth, Metal influences
This is very intense darkpsy, so be prepared.
- Growling Mad Scientists – No Rules – 2002 – Full-On
Balances quality and appeal, and contains the famous “Juice” track.
- Koxbox – Dragon Tales – 1997 – Experimental
Looking at the cover art itself will make you trip, let alone listening to this album.
- Ocelot – Vector Selector – 2007 – Night Full-on
- Penta – Funraiser – 2005 – Darkpsy
Yes, I called it darkpsy, but it’s gentle, take-your-time darkpsy, not glitch insanity darkpsy :)
- Phutureprimitive – Sub Conscious – 2004 – Dub,Tribal,Downtempo
- Phutureprimitive – Kinetik – 2011 – Psychedelic Dubstep
- Principles of Flight – Night Time Lullabies – 2006 – Experimental
- Principles of Flight – Chaos Opera – 2009 – Twilight/Night Full-On
- Process – One Drop or Two? – 2000
Psychedelia as only that period of flux 99-01 could produce, psy that doesn’t need to try and overload your senses, but segues and ensorcelles you into another world.
- Psykovsky – Tanetsveta – 2010 – Darkpsy+IDM
I’ll be honest, I don’t like his previous albums nearly as much as other people do, but this is good stuff, an intelligent marriage of dark psy and IDM to create some pretty cool soundscapes.
- Saiko-Pod – Phutures and Options – 2002 – Progressive Trance
I don’t normally like prog because its too watered down, but I did like this one.
- Sandman – Witchcraft – 1998 – Experimental
The start of the first track itself should be enough to convince you that this is something out of the ordinary.
- Shakta – Feed the Flame – 2004
- Shpongle – Tales of the Inexpressible – 2001 – Star Shpongled Banner, Dorset Perception, Flute Fruit – Psybient
If this album doesn’t get your friends interested in trance, nothing will.
- Sonic Elysium – Mahaon – 2011 – Classical Psytrance
And I mean classical psytrance. Try, say, ‘Winter‘ at 3:40. Just bliss.
- Space Tribe – Thru the Looking Glass – 2005 – Full-on
Fast paced full-on with generous dollops of acid!
- Sundial Aeon – Mimesis – 2011 – Psybient – Dreamy, luscious, effervescent, happy.
- Talpa – The Art of Being Non – 2004 – meld of goa & psy
- Talpa – The Path – 2011 – Intelligent Psytrance
Yup, I had to invent a new genre for this release. Only way to describe it.
- Ubar Tmar – Macrometasomakosmos – 2002 – Experimental,Avant Garde
An amazing piece of work, definitely avant garde, and a real journey through different moods and shades of psy.
- Yahel – Waves of Sound – 2000 – Melodic,proggy
- X-Dream – Radio – 1998 – Psytrance
- VA – Broken – 2004 – DnB/Breaks/Psytrance
Great effort from Timecode, I thought the entire album went together. A great contribution to Psystep and Psybreaks.
- VA – Schizm – 2004 – Funky/Groovy
- VA – Three Drops of Evolution – 2011 – Psystep
- VA – Yggdrasounds – 2008 – Dark
- 1200 Micrograms – Garden of Eden (Full-On)
- A-Mush – Jigsaw is Dead (Twilight)
- Acidrockers – Inside (Psybreaks)
DnB from the comp Freekstyle which is essentially a Psy Breaks/DnB comp.
- Artax – Castle of the 8 Blessed Bits (Melodic)
- Atma – Moments of Truth (Full-On)
- Auricular – Pilzvergiftung (Dark)
- Chemical Synthesis – Never Seen (Dark)
- Chromatone – Merciful Error
The rest of the Chroma Connection is also solid full-on if you like that stuff.
- Cosma – Simplicity
Many people simply love his 2 albums, but I didn’t see that much in them. There are definitely some good tracks though. Sadly, Cosma passed away in a motorcycle accident before his second album was released =\
- Crazy Ducks – Bulka
- Cosmosis – Samba Del Gringo (Samba Psy? :p)
- Cosmosis – The Eternal Now (Full-On)
- Crazy Astronaut – F Killer (Full-On)
It has the speed of a dark track, but its sounds very full-on…quite interesting.
- Dark Soho – Suckobus (Dark)
- Dark Soho – Noise 6 (Psytechno)
- Dark Nebula – Carbon (Full-On)
- Darshan – Speed Freak
Initially I liked this because of that acid part in the middle, then on repeated listens I thought the rest of the track was pretty deep, it sort of grew on me.
- Dejavu Project – Zen (Live Version) (Dark)
The sparse, unearthly atmosphere and the slow, crafted build makes this track quite intriguing. Found on VA – Zen
- Double Dragon – Hairy Liquid (Experimental/Downtempo)
- Double Dragon – Encrusted Filth (Experimental/Downtempo)
If you like things to be on the downtempo/experimental/progressive side try out the rest of the Continuum album
- Electrypnose – Lunatic Yowie (Dark Prog)
- Encephalopaticys – Foksi’s Insomnia
- ESP – Pozitronic Brain
- Ekoplex – Mount At-Ak (Full On)
- Four Carry Nuts – Red Shift
- Front Line Assembly – Evil Playground (Chainsaw Mix)
Remix by Tim Schuldt in his inimitable hard, dark style
- Frozen Ghost – Control Freak (Twilight)
- Hypersonic – Beginning Of A Story (Morfix Remix) (Full-On)
This track oozes innocence. It’s just pure happiness. I had it on repeat for days.
- Infected Mushroom & GMS – Arabian Nights on Mescaline
- Lenz & Peace-Ka – Only Noise (Twilight)
- Mandalavandalz – Irina
- Midi Miliz – Dos Canones
- Midi Miliz – The Invisible Witness
- Midi Miliz – Treble Rebel
- Midi Miliz – Speaker Sneaker
- Misted Muppet – Machine Forest
- Misted Muppet – Innocence
- Mutant Star – Rio Grande Blood (Twilight/Forest)
- Nystagmus – Tommy Is Dead
From the Immaculate Perception album, which I found to be rather patchy. Frequently, the track is doing great, and then in comes a guitar at the most inopportune moment =(
- Ocelot – Play this at Sunrise
- Outer Signal – The Human Mind (Twilight)
This track has been included not because its very psychedelic, or is artistically brilliant, but because it works so well on the floor.
- Pitch Hikers – Mud & Guts (Full-On)
- Pitch Hikers – Twilight Zone (Twilight)
- Planum – Elaborate
- Prometheus – Arcadia Magik (Full-On)
- Psychoz – Valley of the Lost Souls (Dark)
- Psykovsky – Lastbus Madrus (Night)
- Rinkadink – Cabbage Al La Tetradink (Dark)
- Rinkadink – Stampede (Dark)
- Sine Die – Life Hack
- Shift – Kapitol (Dark Full-on)
This track has some beautiful dark pads
- Solar Spectrum – Vibrations (Braincell Remix) (Full-On)
- Space Tribe vs Electric Universe – The Acid Test 2006 (Full-On)
- This is not the original, but the remix released on Electric Space Phenomenon.
- StiTch meets Lullaby & Goodnight – Banya!!! Something On The Dancefloor (Dark)
I added this because of what I thought was the inventive use of a classical lead over darkpsy beats, which starts about midway through the track. Can be found on Twisted Minds from Hell Vol. 5
- Talamasca – The Simulation (Full On)
Beautiful Goa melodies over a full bassline
- Talamasca – Joint O Clock (Psybient)
- Texas Faggott – Narkpsy (Suomi)
- Trold – Its all about cycles
- X-Dream – The 1st
Awesome track, the perfect Terminator soundtrack. An amazing atmosphere with some good synth work and perfectly distorted cyborg vocals.
- V-Storm – Yoshi Master (Full-On)
- V-Storm vs Eskimo vs 220V – This Drugs (Full-On)
I think these tracks are unreleased, as they’re not on Discogs. They’re both a 100% energy boost :)
- Void – Junky
- Wizack Twizack – Welcome to Knutby
If you liked this list, you might also be interested in my Goa Trance list.