From full on and progressive to Goa, twilight and psy, the different styles of psychedelic music are aplenty. For a deeper dive, here’s a handy guide to the basics on the plethora of sounds within the wide psytrance genre.

Goa Trance

Also known as: Goa, 604 Psy

BPM range: 135 — 150

The Goa Trance movement was born the in the mid 1990’s and pre-defines what is known as modern Psytrance today. Goa Trance music was able to assist dancers in experiencing a collective state of bodily transcendence, similar to that of ancient shamanic dancing rituals, through hypnotic, pulsing melodies and rhythms. As such, it has an energetic beat, often in a standard 4/4 dance rhythm. A resurgence of New School Goa has taken place since 2003.

Notable artists

Astral Projection, Artifact303, Filteria, Hallucinogen, Man With No Name, Miranda, Ovnimoon, Pleiadians, Transwave

Notable labels

Flying Rhino Records, MDMA Records, Suntrip Records, Timewarp, Twisted Records

Psytrance

Also known as: Psychedelic Trance

BPM range: 138 — 142

This subgenre organically fits between Progressive Psy and the classic Psychedelic in the BPM range, combining the best elements of these two. It is arguably the most common Psytrance subgenre now that sounds on the festivals all over the world, and in fact, if you hear the word “Psytrance”, it’s most likely referred to this particular subgenre.

Notable artists

Artificials, E-Clip, Lifeforms, Outsiders, Relativ, Sonic Species, StarLab, Vertical Mode

Notable labels

Digital Om Productions, HOMmega Productions, Profound Records, Sacred Technology, TechSafari Records, Transcape Records

UK Psychedelic

Also known as: Uptempo Psy

BPM range: 145 — 148

Psychedelic is probably the most iconic subgenre of Psytrance music, with driving basslines and futuristic sounds often created using FM synthesis. The style was pioneered in the UK largely driven by London-based labels like Alchemy, Flying Rhino and TIP Records.

Notable artists

Ajja, Avalon, Burn In Noise, Electric Universe, Laughing Buddha, Aphid Moon, Mad Tribe, Tristan, Dickster, Future Frequency

Notable labels

Alchemy Records, BMSS Records, Bom Shanka Music, Digital Om Productions, Grasshopper Records, Looney Moon Records, Nano Records, TIP Records

Progressive Psytrance

Also known as: PsyProg, Progressive, Minimal Psy

BPM range: 134 — 138

Emerging in the mid 00’s in Europe, Progressive Psy has quickly expanded to become one of the most common Psytrance subgenre. And it’s very diverse too, featuring a quite wide range of vibes. Progressive Psy doesn’t utilise one particular type of sound, but rather focuses on the groove, the flow, and how it progresses over time.

Notable artists

Ace Ventura, Atacama, Human Blue, Liquid Soul, Mindwave, Protonica, Vibrasphere, Zyce, Atmos, Beat Bizarre, Krumelur, Perfect Stranger, Son Kite

Notable labels

Digital Nature Records, Iono Music, TesseracTstudio, Sourcecode Transmissions, Yellow Sunshine Explosion

Hamburg Offbeat

Also known as: The Offbeat, Progressive Trance, Hamburg Psy

BPM range: 134 — 140

The Offbeat Psy uses a specific bassline pattern at which a single bass note hits between four-on-the-floor kick drums, hence the name. It is originated from Hamburg, Germany, in the late 00’s. Tracks in this subgenre often include sampled speech samples processed with the gate or sidechain effects.

Notable artists

Audiomatic, Phaxe, Fabio & Moon, Interactive Noise, Neelix, Unseen Dimensions, Vaishiyas

Notable labels

432 Records, Audioload Music, Spin Twist Records

Full-On Trance

Also known as: Morning/Daytime Full-On, Israeli Full-On

BPM range: 140 — 148

The Morning Full-On genre has its roots in Israel and is a dynamic, playful, and musical subgenre of Psytrance that appeals to a broader audience because of its positive vibe. Unlike of a typical straight Psytrance bassline pattern, the Full-on basssline plays on various notes across few octaves, creating a special rhythm and melody that way. The period of 2004–2009 is considered as the “golden age” of Full-on, before Progressive Psy took over the global Psy scene.

Notable artists

Astrix, Bizzare Contact, Electro Sun, Ephedrix, DigiCult, System Nipel, Sesto Sento, Wizzy Noise

Notable labels

Agitato Records, Dacru Records, Mainstage Records, United Beats Records, Utopia Records

Night Full-On Trance

Also known as:

BPM range: 145 — 150

Night Full-on is the evil twin of Full-on: it has the same fast-paced bass and leads but with a darker vibe and twisted, synthetic sounds. On the festivals, Twilight Psy typically sound during the night-time, hence the name.

Notable artists

Absolum, Brainwash, CPU, Ex-Gen, Outer Signal, Scorb, Stereopanic

Notable labels

3D Vision, Hypergate Records, Lysergic Records, Nutek Records, Mechanik Records

Twilight Psytrance

Also known as: South African Twilight

BPM range: 140 — 152

Twilight Psytrance was pioneered in South African in the mid 2000’s and the can be described for the middle hours between night and day, somewhat melodic but still edgy, often groovier and deeper than the more “mainstream” full-on vibe.

Notable artists

Pitch Hikers, Shift, Deliriant, Twisted System, Brethren, Sick Addiction, Tryambaka

Notable labels

Nexus Media, Timecode Records, MMD Records, Phonix Records

Dark Psy

Also known as: Cyberdelic, Alien Psy

BPM range: 140 — 155

Dark Psy name speaks for itself. This subgenre is dark, cold, and themed with a horror special effects. Sometimes it’s called Cyberdelic, which stands for “cybernetic + psychedelic”, due to a massive amount of artificial sounds, lasers, and other alien sounds. Many Dark Psy producers are hailing from Russia, so you might see this genre referred as a Russian style.

Notable artists

Fungus Funk, Goa Gil, Kindzadza, Ocelot, Penta, Savage Scream, Zik Matutero

Notable labels

Bhooteshwara Records, DejaVu Records, Discovalley Records, Parvati Records, Vertigo Records, Zaikadelic Records

Zenonesque

Also known as: Deep Psychedelic, Dark Progressive, Psygressive

BPM range: 130 — 135

The term “Zenonesque” comes from “Zenon (Records)” + “esque (“alike”)”. Zenonesque music originated in Australia and covers a variety of sounds that are experimental, with both dark and light elements combining both organic and synthetic sounds to create a deep psychedelic atmosphere.

Notable artists

Hypogeo, Merkaba, Sensient, Brujo’s Bowl, Pspiralife, Ryanosaurus, Evil Oil Man

Notable labels

Zenon Records, Cosmic Conspiracy, Omveda Records, Occulta Records, Uroboros Records

Forest Psy

Also known as: Forest Psychedelic, Scandinavian Dark Psy

BPM range: 150 — 160

Forest Psy is very similar to Dark Psy in many ways, but it’s less robotic-themed and focuses more on the ambient noises, nature atmosphere. Forest is darker, more psychedelic but with a funky low end bassline and strange trippy effects in the upper register

Notable artists

Derango, Arjuna, Atriohm, Atriohm, Baba Yaga, Deep Brian From Bosis

Notable labels

Digital Shiva Power, Parvati Records, Sonic Chakras Records, Yggdrasil Records

Hi-Tech

Also known as: Hitek Psy, Psycore

BPM range: 150 — 220+

Hi-Tech is a Psytrance style strongly influenced by Dark Psytrance, Psycore, and Full-On. Typically fast, unpredictable, highly technical, with a focus on polished beats, clear bass lines, and glitchy sounds designed to reprogram the mind.

Notable artists

Highcosmos, Highko, Terranoise, Psykovsky

Notable labels

Kamino Records, OVNI Records

Psybreaks

Also known as: Psychedelic Breaks

BPM range: 130 — 138

Psybreaks or Psychedelic Breaks is a relatively new subgenre that emerged in the late 2000’s and is a combination of psychedelic trance and breaks/drum & bass elements. It lacks a kicks and simple 4/4 rhythm in favor of irregular breaks.

Notable artists

Bad Tango, Beatman and Ludmila, Blazer, Broken Eye, Hedflux, MartOpetEr

Notable labels

Broken Robot Recordings, Luminus Music, Neom Recordings, VIM Records

Suomi

Also known as: Suomisaundi, Finnish Psy

BPM range: 135 — 145

The “Suomi-saundi” is derived from the native name for Finland, the original birthplace of this particularly fat, funky, experimental and freestyle form of psychedelic trance. Suomisaundi tracks are usually very melodic, including heavy influences from early Goa, tribal beats and Acid Trance tracks, as well as funky guitar and keyboard loops and sounds from or reminiscent of 80’s.

Notable artists

Aavepyörä, James Reipas, Puoskari, Salakavala, Texas Faggott, Troll Scientists

Notable labels

Exogenic Records, Random Records, Sonic Dragon, Ultiva Records

Psybient

Also known as: Psychill

BPM range: 90 — 120

Psybient is a much slower downtempo genre that often seeks to reach a state of deep relaxation, close to meditation and lucid dreaming. It utilities various elements of Goa Trance and Psychedelic music in general, and typically has a classic Goa kick drum, 303’s sounds, and lush atmospheric pads.

Notable artists

Ephemeral Mists, Shpongle, Entheogenic, Ott, E-Mantra, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Vibrasphere

Notable labels

Altar Records, Merkaba Music, Shanti Planti, Desert Trax, Sofa Beats

Psychedelic Techno

Also known as:  Psytechno, psytech

Psychedelic Techno is one way to (loosely) label a specific spectrum of electronic dance music. It is characterized by its focus on minimalism, aiming to induce a trance in the listener through shifting, percussive rhythms and deep, rolling basses. Psytech is stripped down psytrance where the sounds are much more non-melodic. Another feature is greater constance of rhythm that is shared with techno.

Notable artists

Midi Miliz, Metalogic, X-Dream (2002 era), The Delta, Opsis, Cold Project

Notable labels

Boshke Beats, Iboga Records, Horns And Hoofs