“Trance 2.0 for me is bringing the epicness of Trance and fusing it with the grooviness and sexiness of Electro House.” — Laidback Luke
The new explosion of EDM in America is it’s biggest so far, creating increased attention and experimentation by the artists of all subgenres. For Trance, the result has been “Trouse” or “Trance 2.0,” as referred to by different producers. Whatever you call it, it is definitely different from the 90’s Trance. Markus Schulz once said in a 2009 interview with Sirius XM that what he plays is “not your big brother’s Trance music,” and has coined a popular reputation as the Unicorn Slayer for playing slower and darker Trance. Expanding this and looking at the genre as a whole, we can definitely see even more changes than the past generation’s image of Trance music.
My argument is not that Trouse is necessarily “better” than the old Trance, but it is a necessary evolution. At one point pure trance was found favorable by many because of it’s increased speed compared to House and other 128 BPM music, but it was still slow enough to retain melodic content and have a distinct flavor. This was when most trance ranged from 135-140 BPM. Now that speed in EDM has decreased in favor of stronger low-frequency instruments (basslines, wobbles, and so on), the danceability is in a dynamic and strong bassline. Classic trance, as a result, is in decline. It’s basslines tend to modestly follow the main riff or follow a repeated off-beat pattern.
This change is evident in modern Progressive Trance in particular, where we are seeing a shift in song structure to a thick bassline driving the beat, reserving the intense melody almost only for the breakdown. Influence from electro’s end-phrase sample chopping (the combining of bits at the end of sequences in Skrillex, Porter Robinson, and Madeon songs) is used in this form of Trance now — it is used to put pieces of the melody and main riff back in as the driving bass is temporarily removed. The sounds used in Progressive tend to be Trancier, but the style in which it is currently being created is an Electro House process. This technique simply wasn’t used popularly until the past 2 years or so, and has been receiving heavy praise from many producers. And even the Trance purists love it, because the sounds in these records themselves are still Trance sounds.
Trouse however, is still a very new thing and in it’s infancy. Many tracks aren’t as pleasing to the classic Trance fan, who is used to a long-established pattern of melodies and atmospheres. It’s important to realize right now producers championing the new Trance are throwing ideas on the wall and seeing what sticks – there is definitely more Electro and House influence than Trance in a majority of the tracks, and it will be that way for a minute. After the Trance producers have figured out their preferences in the new techniques, we will probably see these elements being taken back conservatively to boost the classic sound of Trance. Odds are many artists will accumulate different elements from classic Trance and Trouse to even further diversify their sound – and that’s always good, even if you aren’t a fan of Trouse. Many artists appreciate different styles of work, and it’s a fair prediction that some classic Trance artists will be inspired by these new cross-style tracks and take elements they like back, boosting the original Trance even further.
Overall, the Trouse we’re looking at in 2012 will be largely different from the Trouse of 2014. So will modern Progressive Trance. Whether or not the current style is for you is another matter, but Trouse will be here for quite a while as it develops and finds more ways to achieve balance. It would be strange to see an artist come back to pure Trance after experimenting, but the classic style itself will receive a boost from producers incorporating these different mixing techniques.
What this should remind us is that Electronic Dance Music in general draws a large sphere of influence from other variations, as well as other genres of music in order to evolve. Your personal taste is welcomed, but music does need to progress and diversify in order to create a greater experience for everyone. Let the artists be creative, and keep an open mind. You may for example, find yourself surprised to find you enjoy the new Tiesto even more!
Written by: Tom Rogers