GOA : History & Uprising of GOA Trance

History and Uprising of GOA Trance

Goa Trance (often named as Goa or even 604) is a sub-genre of electronic dance music – EDM which had started to take its form back in 80’s. However, the very first instigators, ideologists and style formers can be found even further in the past, more accurately – during the period of psychedelic rock in the 60’s and 70’s. Considering the name of this style, it’s easy to relate it with the Indian province called Goa, which is located on the western bank of India. The historical and cultural heritage of Goa is known world-wide, for it was a colony that was fought over during many periods in the past. The first conflicts in that region were between Hindu and Muslim population. These conflicts can be tracked to as far as 10th century, and they had continued all the way to the 16th century.

In the year of 1510, Portuguese colonists arrived to Goa. They made a great influence in this Indian province, which can be seen in numerous catholic churches and monasteries that were built during that time. But, the Portuguese were not the only European nation that controlled Goa in the history. The British colonists occupied the region two times. The first period was from 1797. to 1798. and again from 1802. – 1813. During 1961. Indian army seized control over Goa, and integrated it into the sovereign country of India. Multi-cultural history of Goa has its place in history of Goa Trance genre, especially when we point out the very first parties that were organized on the beaches of Goa during the 60’s.

According to Ray Castle (one of the first DJs in Goa) the first colonists were hippies which were coming to India seeking spirituality. The second important factor which mostly attracted Europeans (and Americans) to this region was that there was no legal limitation to the consuming of hashish. This was a fact until the mid-70’s when the US government pressed the issue on Indian authorities to ban this practice. Early history of the pioneers of Goa and their first parties was never documented, but according to some witnesses (who were hippies at that time), the first Goa parties were organized in 1968. thanks to eight-finger Eddie who was probably the first modern settler on the beaches of Goa. Together with his friends, he discovered beautiful beaches and got friendly with the local villagers, which gave them a feeling of absolute freedom and happiness, which they had expressed through consuming psychedelic drugs and dancing on the beach.

The music at that time did not have any relations to the style of Goa trance, or even with electronic music in general, but the philosophy which they were following is almost the same as the one that Goa trance followers are sharing today. The music that had to do with Goa parties back then was more related to bands like Grateful Dead, The Doors, The Eagles, and Pink Floyd. Fred Disko was one of the first DJs in Goa who started to promote electronic music as well. After all, that decision gave him his “Disko” pseudonym. Besides Fred Disko, there was earlier mentioned Ray Castle, and Goa Gil, who promoted rock/fusion during the 70’s. Later, in the 80’s, Goa Gil started to promote Goa influenced electronic music too, and he gave it a rather “simple” name: the first post-punk experimental electronic dance music coming from Europe, the neue deutsche welle, electronic body music.

Ray Castle explained that the very first form of Goa Trance sound could be recognized with bands/projects like Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, Frontline Assembly. Fred Disko also mentioned the influence of classical-traditional Indian music which was easily recognized in Goa trance sound. The symbiosis of these rather different influences was inevitable. The reasons of that symbiosis become very clear, especially when you imagine 10 tablas, 6 sitars and an Indian female vocalist performing a song in the repetitive way, so that you can actually feel like flying. Fred Disko and Ray Cole said that the contemporary “scene” in Goa was formed from a handful of DJs who were mostly people from France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland. The main goal was to exchange and collect the music which was brought from Europe. They were all trying to obtain hard-to-get rare music as much as they could. They also wanted to have rarities which sounded more psychedelic. These quests were labelled as “The quest for weird psychedelic music”. The great part of their inspiration was hidden within the consummation of LSD, the drug which became a symbol of Goa parties, especially because it was easy to get, and mostly free of charge. It was known as “free acid punch”.

DJs of the late 80’s had often used DATs for their DJ sets, but the preparations for the show were hard and time-consuming. According to Steve Psyko (he was also one of the first Goa DJs), the DJs would often cut-out the parts of the songs mixing them with other tracks, in order to create a mega-mix which would be played at the parties later on. The use of vinyl records was not practiced because of the risk that the vinyl could actually melt due to high temperatures. Ray Castle recalls one time when DJ Sven Vath came to Goa with all his records, in order to become “Techno pope of India”. However, that didn’t work out well, because you just have to be used to DATs on such high temperatures.

Paul Chambers (British Goa trance DJ) recalls his trips to Goa and the very first electronic music parties that were held there. There were no more than 200 people on those events. The decorations were really colourful but not numerous and there were a few black-light lamps around. The first police raids occurred during the 1990. but the situation became better in 1991. and 1992. It was during these years, that the first hype and rush to Goa had started. The number of people on parties noticeably increased, and the numbers were from 500 to 1500 visitors. More and more people were coming to Goa, especially from Israel and Japan. With the increasing number of tourists that arrived to Goa to dance, consume drugs and live a free life, the whole underground feeling started to fade, and the music itself started to become more and more popular. This was even more supported by numerous English and other European DJs and publishers, which resulted in first releases in the 1993. The release which was probably the most influential for Goa trance uprising was the Project II Trance, released by Dragonfly Records. This release featured artists like Gumbo, Genetic, The Infinity Project, Total Eclipse, Mandra Gora and others.

Except for Goa trance in India, parties started to occur in other parts of the world, and the most known ones were in Byron Bay (Australia), where many hippies found their new place for Goa trance, since more and more tourists were visiting Goa and the scene was booming. In England, the first Goa trance parties were organized in London and Manchester. It was interesting that almost the very same DJs performed in Goa and in England, and the visitors were mostly the same in the both areas. It was just a matter of season where the caravan will be settled.

After Goa trance found its place in electronic music scene, many new artists, publishers and DJs had emerged. It would take a lot of time to mention all of the names which took part in the scene during the six golden years of Goa trance (1993-1999). Because of that, we will mention only some of them:


Perfecto Fluoro
Flying Rhino
Blue Room Released
Matsuri Productions
TIP Records
KK Records
Trust In Trance


Kox Box
Astral Projection
The Infinity Project
Man With No Name
Green Nuns Of The Revolution
Juno Reactor
Total Eclipse
Slinky Wizard
Electric Universe


Paul Oakenfold
Goa Gil
Ray Castle
Steve Psyko
Fred Disko
Rickard Ahlberg
James Munro
Dominic Lamb
Sven Vath
Tsuyoshi Suzuki
Planet B.E.N.
Mark Allen

Many DJs participated in several projects at the same time, like the New Zealander Ray Castle who was a member of Rhytmystic, Masaray, Insectoid, Mantaray. Also, there was Ofer Dikovsky who was a member of Phreaky, Omputer, Tandu, Indoor, Sound Pollution, Oforia, Pigs in Space.

The music in that period (1993-1999) was characterized as psychedelic trance-dance. That term was mentioned even earlier and it was often used as a title for parties. The tracks became longer than earlier, so the average track was around 8.30 minutes, and the tempo was around 145 BPM (beats per minute). Generally, the BPM range can vary from 120 to 160. The structure of tracks mostly had the same pattern, so almost every track had an atmospheric intro, 4/4 rhythm which was followed by oriental and eastern melodies, acid sounds (the legendary TB303) and vocal samples (mostly taken from SF movies).

The climax of the track would usually emerge around 5th minute, although some tracks didn’t follow that pattern. Iconography on parties, CD covers and T-shirts was mostly related to Hindu and Buddhist motifs. There were also science-fiction motifs (mostly aliens, UFOs and other characters), colourful psychedelic fractals and drawings.

The end of Goa trance music occurred in the period between 1998./1999. with the newly formed psy trance sound which was rather minimalistic comparing to Goa trance, containing less melodies, shorter bass lines and sharper kicks with emphasis on psychedelic sound effects. Many Goa trance projects started to fade, while others formed within the psytrance genre. Although, some other projects kept their former names while they adjusted their production to the present trend. One of such examples is a legendary Goa trance project – Etnica. Many publishers also followed the change, and one of the biggest trance labels, TIP records was renamed to TIP World. TIP Records used to publish Goa trance (The Infinity Project, Doof, Psychopod…) while TIP World started to publish new projects like GMS, Logic Bomb, 1200 Mics, and others.

Goa trance sound of the new millenium

Since I’ve already written about the history and the uprising of goa trance, this time I’ve decided to devote more attention to the reincarnation of goa trance music which has emerged in the new millenium. I am sure that I shouldn’t write too much about the basics, but in any case, if you did not read the introduction about this theme, I recommend you to read History, uprising and the climax of Goa Trance. The Neogoa synonym is mostly used as an abbreviation of a popular phrase New School Goa which has already become common between the people in the goa trance community. It defines the whole spectrum of goa trance sound which was created after 90’s.

The exact birth date of neogoa cannot be determined, but what we can use to mark the first steps into neogoa are the publishers (labels) which started to promote and release the very first new school goa trance music by a new school pioneer artists. One of those was a label from Finland, Tranceform Records, which released the first neogoa album called Anima Mundi, written by Ethereal back in 2003. Besides them, there was a Greek based label called Unicorn Music, which released a few goa trance and nitzhonot releases during the same year.

One year later, a Belgian label Suntrip Records published their first album: Filteria – Sky Input, which helped the label to build the foundations of neogoa sound, and to present itself as a pure new school goa trance publisher. Also in 2004, a well-known Kagdilla Records presented their first uptempo neogoa compilation: V/A – Pure Planet, while the Finnish Tranceform served us with the Ypsilon 5 – Binary Sky album.

It is very important to note that the year of 2005 was marked mostly by re-issues of classical goa trance albums, a trend which was also present in theprevious two years. According to this schematic, several re-issues have been presented, such as: Sandman – Witchcraft, Orion – Futuristic Poetry, Asia 2001 – Amnesia, and Indoor – Progressive Trance, Prana – Geomantik one year earlier. Concerning some new artists in 2005. Suntrip Records published their first compilation called V/A – Apsara, which presented names like: Goasia, Filteria, Radical Distortion, Lost Buddha, Ka-Sol, names which today represent leading artists in this genre. Also, one of the best artists that Suntrip Records presented in 2005 is Khetzal with his wonderful album Corolle (Khetzal – Corolle).

We could say that the year of 2006 was a turning point in a sense of distribution of the new goa trance style, because during that year the publishing of cheap mp3 releases was popularized on the Internet, so spreading the new sound became simple and best of all – available to everyone. A new publisher in the scene – Metapsychic Records was surely accountable for that. Their new compilation Pyramidal Trancendence (Lost Buddha, Astrancer, Travma, Mindsphere, Afgin) is, according to many fans of this genre, even today the best showcase of neogoa style. Then, there was the first release from Lost Buddha – Ataraxia EP. Besides Metapsychic Records’ releases, Unicorn Music presented the album Radical Distortion – Regenesis, and also a split album Goasia vs. Omegahertz – Purple Energy 2. In the same year, Suntrip Records presented a full length release Ka-Sol – Fairytale, and a second Filteria’s album Filteria – Heliopolis. Israeli collective Old Is Gold also released Afgin’s album Afgin – Old Is Gold.

The year of 2007 was a year of mp3 releases, when this form of released albums and compilations reached it’s peak. New labels and new artists were emerging quickly, and the fans of this genre were practically overwhelmed by the new releases. On the other hand, Suntrip Records presented their new CDs: Goasia – From Other Spaces (album), Dimension 5 – Transdimensional (remastered), and their second compilation: V/A – Twist Dreams. Metapsychic Records announced their first full length albums in 2007, and the first artist who got to release was a Turkish producer Mindsphere with his new album Inner Cyclone. The second album featured on Metapsychic Records was the one from a Croatian producer, Vox – Innerpolarity which was also in a free mp3 form. Along with the above mentioned, they also published their second compilation V/A – Human Hyperactivation, which featured two tracks of Croatian neogoa projects – Liquid Flow & Brain Technology. The Lost Buddha project (the co-founder of Metapsychic Records) released his another EP in the same year, and a full length Lost Buddha – Untold Stories (2004-2007) which contained some of his unreleased tracks. In Israel, Old Is Gold collective released their new compilation Golden Vibes 1 & 2. The scene became richer with a new label from Austria, Phototropic Records , which releases it’s first album Nolax – Persistence 2.0. Besides these, Kagdila Records published their second part of Pure Planet compilation, and the Canadian net-label Ektoplazm published a couple of EP releases. In the end, it’s worth mentioning that the 2007 was marked both by a great and bad news. The good one was the revival of the cult Flying Rhino label, while the sad one is the closing down of a young and perspective Metapsychic Records, which is covered by a rather long drama.

The year of 2008 was full of great releases by Suntrip Records, which started with the compilation V/A – Sundrops (Light In Motion). The same label published an album of the legendary Norwegian duo: Ra – 9th. Austrian label, Phototropic Records, released six albums: Amithaba Buddha – Goa Gate, Nolax – Persistence 2.0 (remastered issue), Zolphinia – Utopia, ArmagedDance – Dimension Surfers, Pandemonium! – Muinomednap! (side project Filipe Santos aka Lost Buddha) and a nitzhonot album Agneton – Horizon In Your Head. Besides the mentioned releases, there were also V/A – Jelly Marbles, and Amitahaba Buddha – Psyramid EP. Old Is Gold label from Israel released the third part of the Golden Vibes series, and Shivlink Records published V/A – Goa Times (Now And Then) which featured some of the old goa trance classics, together with neogoa tracks. Some of the notable EPs which came out in 2008 are those from a neighboring Serbian label Ultiva Records: E-Mantra – Signals EP, and Amanians – Induced Experience EP. Canadian Ektoplazm presented Magic & Witchcraft – Misty Shades EP in the same year, in a form of free release.

During the year of 2009, Suntrip strikes back at Phototropic with a significant number of releases in one year. Suntrip launched a bunch of interesting releases: Afgin – Astral Experience, E-Mantra – Arcana, Filteria – Daze Of Our Lives, Merr0w – Born Underwater, Radical Disortion – Psychedelic Dreams, and a MP3 album: Filteria – Remixes + Unreleaseds. The Russian Zvukotronika Records published two new free albums of a Russian project ArmagedDance: ArmagedDance – Homo Astricus & ArmagedDance – Kray Neba. In the same year, Ultiva Records released an album :California Sunshine & Har-El – Dark Side Of The Brain, while a Croatian project Liquid Flow made his first album for Kagdila Records, Liquid Flow – Presence. Newborn online label UAF Records (UAF – Underground Alien Factory) released it’s first full length issue: SETI Project – Tribal Trance, and three free EPs: Goalogy – Secret Tales EP, NK47 – Outer Space Shaman EP and PharaOm – Awakening Bodhisattva EP. When it comes to compilations, the 2008 saw a lot of interesting releases, such as: Kagdila Records’ V/A – Pure Planet Vol. 3, while Phototropic Records launched V/A – Artificial Sun, V/A – The Sitting Goddess and V/A – Ya Wichna. Moonquest Records from Romania published their showcase compilation V/A – Organic Vision. Israeli Cronomi Records presented some new names on their remarkable V/A – People Walk Funny compilation, while a newborn labels Sita Records and Ezel-Ebed Records launched V/A – Nitz-Ho-Goa and V/A – Alternative Colours, respectively.

The first half of 2010 was marked by a great album from Ukrainian project Alienapia – Goapocalipsis which was released by Ukrainian goa trance label Space Baby Records. It’s also worth to mention great albums by a Polish project Artha – Influencing Dreams which was released on Israeli Cronomi Records as their first full length album. Also there was the second album from Goasia: Goasia – Dancing With The Blue Spirit on Kagdilla Records. For this year, Suntrip Records prepared two sister-compilations: V/A – Energy Waves & V/A – Temple Of Chaos where the main point was to present a difference between the positive and dark atmospheres in the neogoa sound. Turksih label Ezel-Ebed published their second compilation V/A – Elixir Of Life, while the guys in Phototropic published V/A – Goatronika. During this year, the second album by Amithaba Buddha is expected (Amithaba Buddha – Myself In The Mirror), and the second album by Nolax: Nolax – Turning Point. On the other hand, UAF Records & Ektoplazm have introduced some new names through their new EP issues: Beast303 , Somnesia, Grand Cheff, InnerSelf, Sky Technology and others. Cronomi Records presented the introduction to Artha’s album in a form of a free online Mp3: Artha – Fluori Dolby EP. Nitzhonot forces from Sita Records also released their second compilation: V/A – Protozoa and announce debut Goalien album.

Article courtesy of Richpa via Psynews.org

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