By definition, and label, trance music is meant to put the listener in a state of complete mental absorption. Entrancement (aka mental hypnosis) has long been used as a way to reduce pain, improve health, and increase happiness. In order to do this, a trance is used as the lulling medium that relaxes the body, and allows the consciousness to go into an altered state in your right brain. This state allows the release of opiates, enkaphalins and Beta-endorphins. From the human origin in Africa, drum beats have been used to lull the mind into a trance. As humans evolved, mechanical skills improved, and beats moved from clapping hands and stomping, to drums made from hollowed out objects sealed with leather, to digital sound waves. But through the years, the intention remains the same. Depending on which definition one looks for, the origin of electronic music can be different. In 1928 Léon Theremin patented one of the first electronic musical devices (the aetherphone, aka. theremin), and the first “rhythm machine” in 1930, but the electronic loudspeaker was patented some fifty years earlier. Trancemusic is as old as music itself, but it’s most modern formation is what we focus on here at  TranceCity, and so the story begins in 1970.

Chapter One

While Africa is the origin of the beat and of trance, Germany is the origin of the electronic formation. By 1970, German experimental music groups like Can and Tangerine Dream opened the door for further musical experimentation, and thus Kraftwerk was born. Minimalistic and rhythmic and steadily engaging, Florian Schneider and Ralf Huetter gained steam. At the time their robotically passionate noises had never been heard before, but it didn’t take long for the sound to catch on. In 1974, Kraftwerk released a 22-minute epic overture that proudly commemorated one of Germany’s greatest achievements, Autobahn.

For the next ten years, synths become used on a wide-scale. Most notably in pop music and disco, but quietly in underground club scenes in Chicago. The underground scene was usually enjoyed in warehouses, garages, and which was essentially extended disco tracks until Roland mass produced their TR-Series of drum machines which opened up new opportunities for sounds. In the mid-80′s, Jamie Principle began recording this disco-drum-machine mélange for very large followings, and none are more seminal than Your Love.

In the meantime, a Jamaican named Clive Campbell was busy pioneering the art of isolating beats with turntables, or breakbeats, and in essence creating hip-hop.

Techno did not emerge until ten years after Kraftwerk’s monumental release, when the synth sounds created by Kraftwerk, Prince and the B-52′s, were finally mixed together with breakbeats from the hip-hop movement in 1982. The result was phenomenally fresh. One man is credited with this colossal idea that opened the genesis of techno: Juan Atkins with Clear. It was this track’s sound that layed the foundation for a new genre that was clearly different from disco and pop.