The Evolution of Psychedelic Electronic Dance Music

The Evolution of Psychedelic Electronic Dance Music
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Psychedelic Electronic Dance Music, also known as Psy Edm, has come a long way since its inception in the mid-1960s. From the hippie movement to its present day status, the genre has undergone a series of transformations and has seen various sub-genres emerge.

In this article, we’ll explore the different periods of the Psy Edm scene, and how it has evolved over the years.

The Pre-Goa Era (Mid-1960s)

  • The hippie movement of the mid-1960s brought the love for nature and free spirit to Goa, India. With the free use of psychedelic substances and the beauty of the area, it quickly became a dream destination for the hippie community. During the 1970s, the first open-air parties and psychedelic gatherings were held on the beaches, with psychedelic rock music such as Pink Floyd and The Doors being the soundtrack of these events.

     (Sacred Technology 2022)

The 1980s – The Birth of Psychedelic Electronic Dance Music

The early 1980s marked the birth of Psy Edm, as DJs like Laurent, Fred Disko, Stefano, and Goa Gil began experimenting with electronic equipment and the manipulation of sound. This gave birth to the first psychedelic Edm sounds, and the mixing of different genres such as trance, techno, house, and local Indian music resulted in new sub-genres.

The 1990s – The Rise of Goa-Style Parties

The beginning of the 90s saw Goa become a top destination for young party-goers. The scene was growing bigger, and Goa-style parties were gaining popularity all over the world. The first big festivals were held in Europe, and many labels were created to promote the music of the new producers and DJs.

By 1995, psy edm had already spread throughout Europe, with big festivals being organized all over the world. The experimentation of the previous years and the combination of different genres resulted in many different styles, with an uplifting vibe and euphoric melodic leads. With the peak of the rave movement, different sub-genres emerged, such as nitzhonot/uplifting trance, psytrance, and progressive psy.

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The Late 1990s – The Futuristic Science Fiction Style

The late 1990s saw the Psy Edm scene adopt a futuristic science fiction style, which was reflected in the cover artworks, event posters, and the sound itself. However, the excessive drug abuse and the negative perception of the older generation resulted in a loss of popularity for the genre after the year 2000.

The 2000s – The Emergence of Dark Psychedelic Genres

The mid-2000s saw the emergence of many new genres, diving into the inner self and the dark side of the soul. The new genres, such as darkpsy, forest, full-on, twilight/night full-on, and dark progressive/zenonesque, experimented with new sounds and faster BPMs. The trance and melodic elements of the previous years were replaced by dark soundscapes, stretched sounds, and crazy sound effects, mostly in genres like darkpsy and forest.

After 2010 – The Resurgence of Psychedelic Edm

After keeping a low profile for around ten years, the psy scene made a comeback around 2010, stronger than ever. Many psy festivals gained popularity again, each with its own unique vibe and music style. Faster BPM genres such as hi-tech and psycore gained more listeners, and many festivals were organized with high-tempo line-ups.

After keeping an underground profile for about ten years, around 2010, the psy scene seems ready to come back, and this time much stronger. Many psy festivals start gaining popularity again, each one with its own vibe and music style, being a nice choice for people who love music and nature, to spend their breaks.

Also, faster bpm genres such as hi-tech and psycore gain more listeners, and many fests are organized having a complete high tempo line-up. There can also be spotted a return into the values of goa movement by the psy community, such as love for nature and spirituality.

Today the psy edm scene and its community continue evolving keeping a strong connection with nature and spirit, and big fests all over the world bring people together, creating chances for cultural exchange, thus promoting unity and equality. Labels and artists from many countries into each genre, give their own special sound stamp, and the listener can nowadays choose between numerous different styles, grooves, emotions and tempos.

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The Psychill Scene

Between all these years, the psychedelia of the psy scene has also been expressed in a chill-out way having a slower tempo around 100bpm. It is usually called psy-chill, and may have elements borrowed from dub, downtempo, ambient and ethnic music, accompanied by psychedelic effects, soundscapes, and chants, creating a spiritual meditative state.

Although it is not really an edm genre, it is important to be mentioned, as it can frequently be found in the line-ups of most psychedelic festivals, from the pre-goa period until today. Also, many psy edm artists release psy-chill tracks or even have a side-project dedicated to this music style.

Other Psy Subgenres

Finally, it is worth mentioning that there are some more sub-genres that may have not been mentioned above, in order to keep the timeline simple and comprehensible for the newcomers of our community. So, let’s take a quick look at some of them.

Psybreaks/psystep is a genre characterized by some elements of breakbeat, neurofunk, drum and bass and dubstep, and a relatively slow tempo. Also, experimental psychedelic music can be considered a psy edm genre, usually breaking the rules of 4/4 kick structures and steady tempo basslines, trying to provide a psychedelic chaos for the listener.

Suomi/Finnish psy can be considered as a genre born by experimental psy, having a more melodic, funky, and humoristic vibe. These genres have been active and evolving for more than 25 years into the psy scene.

Also, psytech, borrowing techno and hard house elements, and tribal/ethnic/natural psy, using organic percussion, traditional instruments and chants, are some more sub-genres we can add to our psy edm list.

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