The Romance of Trance

Music is aggressively emotional. Songs have the power to transport our minds and bodies to a memory, a mood, a mindset…all within seconds. And unlike so many other experiences in our life, listening to music is a willing partner to almost anything we do. Work, play, grief, elation. Music can ride alongside, building a soundtrack to parallel the journey of our day.

It begs the question, if the soundtrack of our lives runs the gamut from ballad to bass, what makes a particular song good? For me, it’s how the song influences my emotions, how well it inspires daydream. Which is why I like trance. Imagine a beat that resembles the rhythm of your heart. Now add the sweetly haunting melody of a woman’s voice, superimposed against a sharp drumbeat. Slowly, the tune rises, gaining momentum, synthesizing a multitude of sounds into a calling. Dance. Smile. Move. Take it all in.

Many psychologists claim that anticipation is the most enjoyable emotion. Social psychologists Liz Dunn and Mike Norton take that one step further, categorizing anticipation as a vehicle for “free happiness”. And I believe. It is exciting to imagine, to dream, to get lost in the “what if”s of our visions. Now let’s get back to music. Trance is punctuated with rising beats, with melodies that evolve slowly, with a crescendo of notes that eventually explode into a beautiful, cacophonous, sensory overload. If there was ever a musical genre that embodies anticipation, it is trance. But that’s not all.

The magic of anticipation is the journey to a dream. Trance is particularly good at transportation to cerebral wonderland because it mirrors one of the dreams every person strives for– true human connection. Walk with me there. In a truly good relationship, we each bring something different to the table. And those differences are exciting because we are drawn to layers, to depth. Who wants to live a ‘one note’ life? The juxtaposition of steady & dynamic, of dark and ethereal, of explicit and obscure builds layers in our world. Trance weaves the beauty of a woman’s voice—soft, lilting–with the comfortable intensity of a steady beat. 

Ready to be transported? One of my favorite artists and an OG in the trance world, Paul Oakenfold, is a master driver. (1) In “Southern Sun”, we find the cadence of a heartbeat, alongside the voice of a siren. (2) Tiesto reinvents Adagio for Strings with an infectious beat and distorted rhythm. (3) Deadmau5 offers a loud, clear beat against a beautiful melody in  “I Remember” . (4) Armin van Buuren layers a haunting voice into a danceable beat with “In and Out of Love”. (5) William Orbit sends us on a journey through time, marrying synthesizers, piano and meditation in “Water from a Vine Leaf” 

In our best relationships, we find both comfort and excitement. We complement one another. We each bring a different dish to the table. After all, what’s a picnic of simply ambrosia salad? One note. 





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