Goa Trance is a form of electronic music that originated during the late 1980s in Goa, India. Goa in the late 1960s and early 1970s was a hippie mecca. Although musical developments were incorporating elements of industrial music and EBM with the spiritual culture in India throughout the 1980s, the actual Goa Trance style did not officially appear until the early 1990s.
Goa Trance did not evolve from one single genre, but was inspired mainly by EBM and psychedelic rock. In addition to those, oriental tribal/ethnic music also became a source of inspiration. The introduction of Trance and its techniques to Goa led to what eventually became the Goa Trance style.
The original goal of the music was to assist the dancers in experiencing a collective state of bodily transcendence, similar to that of ancient shamanic dancing rituals, through hypnotic, pulsing melodies and rhythms.
Generally 8-12 minutes long, Goa Trance tracks tend to focus on steadily building energy throughout, using changes in percussion patterns and more intricate and layered synth parts as the music progresses in order to build a hypnotic and intense feel.
Goa parties have a strong visual aspect, usually associated with a spiritual, dharmic ambience, psychedelic art, shamanism and technology. Shrines in front of the DJ stands featuring religious items are also common decorations.
The kick drum often is a low, thick sound with prominent sub-bass frequencies. The music very often incorporates many audio effects that are often created through experimentation with synthesisers.
A well-known sound that originated with Goa Trance and became much more prevalent through its successor, Psytrance, is the organic “squelchy” sound (usually a saw-wave which is run through a resonant band-pass or high-pass filter).
Goa Trance parties began in the late 1980s in Goa and often take place in locations such as on a beach or in the middle of the forest.
With the spread of Goa Trance music across the globe, parties are now being held at locations all over the world. Among the most notable of these parties are the Full Moon Party held monthly at Koh Phangan and multiple events held in Byron Bay as well as in Israel, Japan, and Europe.