This year is slowly dropping its curtains: 2013 is swiftly on its way to us. I believe now might be a nice moment to look at 2012 in retrospect, analyze myself as a Trance fanatic throughout the years and look ahead to what I expect will be a promising new year!
As 2012 progressed and I embraced Radio Unity and GDJB as my new havens for proper Trance and proper Progressive respectively, with the Inspired Podcast offering the more Downtempo/Breaks driven relaxing nutrients for my EDM hunger, I came to realize how "real Trance" (as in Trance with long melodic textures, deep builds and non-cliché piano breakdowns) did very much still exist, be it that sometimes there could be a driving Psy-Trance bassline underneath to give it a more energetic twist. The same goes for the Progressive brilliance that reached my ears through the likes of Basil O'Glue, Wellenrausch, Tucandeo, Guy J, Styller, Danilo Ercole and others supported on GDJB (mind you, I am solely referring to the Progressive dropped on this show, the Coldharbour Bigroom sound is quickly becoming as generic as 140 BPM uplifting has been for ages now). Both these shows have their dedicated followers and both Orkidea and Markus are capable of finding such beautiful music. Orki even manages to kick off some shows with Breaks (like the flawless Radio Unity #045) or with a slightly more Progressive House vibe á la Jody Wisternoff before building towards more Trancey goodness. Every time I heard a track that nostalgically shot me back to my early 2006 ASOT days I couldn't help but wonder: "Armin, what is your excuse to keep playing cheap Trouse, stupid vocal Pop-Trance and braindead Generic Uplifting?" Do you know the answer to this rethorical question? It's quite a simple one actually! You see, there is no excuse. It's just reality: Markus & Orkidea drop quality Progressive (House) and Trance, Armin does not. Not for someone that first got acquinted with Trance in 2003, 1999, 2005 or whenever. As I came to realize this, I started feeling joy for Trance music again but I also started to believe that this music is not dead; it is simply mislabeled by legions of people new to the scene or deliberately ignorant of its Past.
Now that's plain bullsh*t, of course. Trance, as well as any genre for that matter, is bounded by vague borders we can't accurately describe but of which we can agree to a large extent where these borders lie. Moreover, we can definitely agree what does not count as Trance. Now this is an Age-Old tricky subject of which I believe there will never be agreement since the categorization of any genre leads to objectifying them, making them static, frozen entities in the flow of time that in a way, makes no sense at all. Then again, thinking of a genre as an endless continuing stream defies the essence that allows it to be a genre all together. There seems to be a constant clash between the verbally established borders versus the temporal transformation of a genre which makes it hard to ever reach consensus over what is or what is not. If we verbally try to categorize a genre, we will always end up doing it injustice. I believe there is a social scientific theory that proposes that once we try to capture thoughts, emotions or music in langauge, it loses its fluidity and its essence at the same time. I believe this idea can be mentioned as one of the core problems underlying the so-called "decrease of P.L.U.R." many claim to be tainting EDM scenes today. Even though I am rather skeptical of depicting the past as one big, happy, Conflict-Free Hippie Era, I can agree that today's EDM communities are sometimes overflowing with verbal conflict. How has this come to pass? Allow me to give my vision on that.
Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with trying out a pair of new shoes. BUT. Wouldn't it suck to have thrown out your old trusty ones before having tried the new ones long enough to realize they were not your thing after all? I have my moments when I really enjoy a contemporary "noisy club" track like say, Festen - Wassup Vegas (though should I add this might in part be caused by that wicked main synth sounding similar to the one in Meet Her At The Love Parade?)... And I'm not THAT obsessed with Oldskool EDM that I demand each track be built with 909 kickdrums before I give them a chance. But let's be honest: it's time people stopped being so genre-phobic/fad-ophilic and stopped lying to themselves about what they do. In my eyes, EDM is like a supermarket: it offers a variety of distinct products (read: genres) which you may or may not like or need. If you look at it like this, suddenly you realize how much sense it makes to place the milk where the beans are stocked... And suddenly there's no point in going there if the products lose their diversity because everyone offers the same garbage.
Anyhoo. Let me make a toast *collides glass with bottle* to the return of Bounded Diversity within a Reborn Trance in 2013. Cheers!