What is Psytrance?
Well Wikipedia will tell you that it is sub-genre of electronic, dance music and on the surface level, this definition is more or less satisfactory. And yet it is also woefully inadequate…
Psytrance is not music because Psytrance is more than music. Music is an aural sensory form that exists within very concise limitations. It has a definite beginning and end. Notes sound, then they fall away and decay. This is not Psytrance. Whereas, music has energy Psytrance is energy.
Rather, Psytrance is an experience. You do not simply listen to it, you become it. It is somehow, an eternally living, sentient being that has its own consciousness. It flows where it will and not merely where its mediator would will it to flow and just because you turn off your stereo doesn’t mean that it will go away; as anybody who has ever been to a trance party will tell you, you can still feel the music even several days later.
Psytrance is the now. It is the absolute, unadulterated expression of pure existence manifesting itself from one instant to the next. It is one single moment replicating itself eternally with unlimited variations. It is neither light nor dark, joy nor sorrow, creation nor destruction; it is pure energy. It simply is.
You do not choose Psytrance, rather Psytrance chooses you. Wherever you are in the world, it will call you when you are ready to hear its patterns and feel its beats which is to say, when you are ready to transcend. You will somehow heed its beckoning and find yourself entering its presence by stepping onto its dance floors someplace in some time. Once you step off its dance floor, you will do so a different person.
How is this possible I hear you say? Because Psytrance is the same perpetual rhythm which has been beating out of human hearts ever since Adam split the atom. It’s algorithms are the same algorithms which constitute your DNA and its throbbing life pulse is the exact same vibration which is infinitely occurring at the very epicenter of each and every sub-atomic particle in the entirety of creation – including the ones which make up the being which you have learned to call yourself. Therefore you are really already inside it and it is expressing itself through you right now. It is simply that you cannot hear it yet, not until you learn to adjust your receiver and tune in to it that is.
When one enters the Psytrance experience, one is not actually experiencing anything new although it may well seem so; it is after all pretty mind-blowing and one will indeed have the feeling of finding brand new sensations. But the truth is that these frequencies were already playing in the background all along. It was a simply a case of tuning in and channeling them. And so the awakening is less one of discovery and more one of recognition and realisation. “I’ve been here before. In fact, I’ve always been here!”
Within the sound itself, there are no obvious barre structures, no melodies and no refrains but then again why should they be? Does existence organise and then repeat itself several times over so that you get to know what’s coming next and learn to sing along? Instead, Psytrance, like existence, forever flows, moves and evolves. It is constantly transient because it is only through this constant transience that one can find any constance because after all, the only permanence in life, is its impermanence. If you don’t believe me then simply check your pillow to see how many hairs you shed last night in your slumber. You will shed more tonight too, and in fact you are probably shedding a few now without even knowing it.
Psytrance is pure beautiful confusion and continuous cosmological chaos. It is consciousness itself trying to work out just what the hell it is and the first ever being with awareness looking around and asking itself; where the fuck am I? who the fuck am I? and in fact, WHAT the fuck even am I? It makes no sense because life makes no sense, but you in your mind may try to make it make sense which is a pretty insensible thing to do really. I mean, imagine your own imagination trying to imagine that it doesn’t exist because it’s imaginary?
A Psytrance party
Psytrance is not simply the soundtrack to a night out. You do not go to a Psytrance club the same way you would a mainstream nightclub, a dance club or an Indie club. You do not go to a Psytrance party to have “fun” or a “good time”. Rather you go there to transcend your body and your mind, vacating both whilst possessing both more than you ever have done before. It is the most intense experience humanly possible and will exhilarate and terrify you in equal measure. You will dance, you will spin, you will laugh and you will cry. It will leave you feeling utterly cleansed & purged and this feeling will last for days, weeks, months and possibly even lifetimes. It will change your life forever because your perception will change forever. There is no going back afterwards.
A Psytrance party is therefore not actually a party. It is instead a collective experience of communal spiritual transcendence. It is a temporary exodus from earth back into paradise and a fleeting reprieve of our eternal exile from grace. At Psytrance parties, our feet dance on earthly grounds and yet we are back again in heaven. Each and every one of us enters into ecstasy and into union with God; just as it was in the beginning and as it will be again in the end.
I first discovered Psytrance in Goa, its spiritual home. The beaches of Anjuna are not made from sand but rather they are made from scattered shards of shattered consciousness. They are the collected residue of countless blown minds and the molecular remnants of the innumerable revellers who have congregated there and collectively transcended over the past 40 years. Therefore when you attend a Goan Psytrance party, you become one with Goa; it becomes a part of you and you become a part of it forever.
Why Does The World Need Psytrance?
Why am I writing this? Firstly, because I have recently had my mind blown by this sound, by this energy and by this experience and just like any old young poet in love, I feel compelled to endlessly pen long love letters to my amore. So in part, this is simply my love letter to Psytrance. But as Psytrance itself cannot read words in the English language, I offer this love letter up to all off you to either read, wipe your butts with or simply ignore altogether.
But there is more (because in existence there is always more…)
I live in a sick society. In the western world, I am surrounded by ever-increasing unhappiness. Depression, loneliness, and emptiness; these are the collective experiences of our time. Maybe it has always been this way and perhaps it is simply that we are indulging our own misery more than before and so have simply invented more words for it now? Whatever the case may be, there is, without doubt, an endless market (yes market) of aspiring solutions to these ills. Malls offer retail therapy & bars suggest you drown your sorrows in a pint glass. Then, Doctors prescribe medication, help-lines suggest you simply talk to them and psychiatrists offer counselling if you can afford it. Our society takes very seriously these problems and invests heavily in promoting these solutions because it wants us all to be happy right….?
And yet the one thing it does not encourage is the Psytrance experience. On the contrary, it demonises it. The psychedelic substances which are an integral part of the experience are criminalised. They are destroyed when seized by authorities and anybody caught using them risks been thrown into jail alongside rapists and murderers (but strangely, not with corrupt investment bankers who are seldom incarcerated). Advocates of prohibition will, of course, point out that prescribing chemicals is not the correct way to deal with a deep existential sadness whilst waiting in line for their own anti-depressant tablets which they will then chase with a glass of Merlot…
Aside from the substance element, even the parties themselves are often considered illegal. Please reflect on that for a moment; an illegal party. What does that even mean? Illegal dance moves perhaps?! And whatever next? An illegal conversation? An illegal idea…?
My home country of the United Kingdom long ago banned “open-air gatherings featuring repetitive music” thus, maiming, if not ending, the nations trance party culture forever. (To the initiated, trance music is actually one of the least “repetitive” forms of music in the world but try explaining that to a Judge…). More troublingly, this season in Goa (spiritual home of Psy-trance which between the months of December and March nightly transforms itself into a throbbing, living eden…), the police turned up at more or less every single party I attended. In some cases they shut them down completely and in other cases needlessly paused them, disrupted the flow and bullied revellers whilst the organisers raised a sufficient bribe. Why is this happening? The only solution which I can arrive at, is that somebody in authority does not want you to be free to find your own transcendence and therefore your happiness. If you are going to perhaps suggest that the authorities are maybe trying to protect people from themselves and save lives that could be lost to drug overdoses, then I will point out that these exact same authorities are actively encouraging visitors too Goa to drink cheap alcohol all day long, pass out on the beach and then ride a 500cc motorbike home…
The transcenders of Goa, locals and foreigners alike, now need to unite. We need to take action. We do not simply need to “fight for our right to party”, instead, we need to strive for our right to transcend.
First, we free Anjuna, and then we free the whole world.