Top 60 classic trance tracks, in order of best to...least best

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  1. Trance was a very different kind of music before 1996. I'm not really going to describe it, because it was very freeform: the only connecting factors were a primarily 4/4 beat; a spacey, ethereal, hypnotic atmosphere; long songs; and a slow progression of layers as tracks unfolded.
  2. In truth, it's a far stronger genre than post-'96 trance, the style hadn't templated, artists were still coming in from the world of "art music" (musicians with university degrees, classical artists expanding their repertoire, etc.): it was far more innovative and interesting.
  3. I've assembled a collection here of tracks that perfectly capture this era of trance, all pre-1996 (in other words, the absolute best of pre-1996 trance). You may recognize some from my other trance lists:
  4. Age of Love - Age of Love
  5. Orbital - Halcyon On & On
  6. Humate - Love Stimulation (Paul Van Dyk mix)
  7. Banco De Gaia - Heliopolis
  8. Balil - Parasight
  9. Spicelab - Amorph
  10. Underworld - Dark Train
  11. Dance 2 Trance - We Came in Peace
  12. Humate & Rabbit in the Moon - East
  13. Caucassus - Our Dream
  14. PHD - Summer Storm (Leisure Lounge Edit)
  15. Art of Trance - Octopus
  16. Drum Club - Sound System (Underworld mix)
  17. Quench - Dreams
  18. The Future Sound of London - Papua New Guinea
  19. Moby - Go
  20. The Visions of Shiva - Perfect Day
  21. Jam & Spoon - Stella
  22. Paragliders - Oasis
  23. Exit EEE - Epidemic (Straight from Heaven mix)
  24. Odysee of Noises - Capriole Three
  25. Art of Trance - Orange
  26. Cygnus X - Superstring
  27. Banco De Gaia - Last Train to Lhasa
  28. The Visions of Shiva - How Much Can You Take?
  29. Hallucinogen - LSD
  30. Ramin - Brainticket
  31. Odyssee of Noises - Firedance
  32. Cosmic Baby - Airplay
  33. Dance 2 Trance - Hello San Francisco
  34. Odyssee of Noises - Troya
  35. Arpeggiators - Freedom of Expression
  36. Zyon - No Fate
  37. Vernon - Wonderer
  38. Hardfloor - Acperiance 1
  39. Red Planet - Star Dancer
  40. Orbital - Chime
  41. Cosmic baby - Loops of Infinity
  42. Union Jack - Red Herring
  43. 4 Voice - Eternal Spirit (Northern mix)
  44. Cygnus X - Positron
  45. Paragliders - Paraglide
  46. Brainchild - Symmetry (C-mix)
  47. Emmanuel Top - Turkish Bazaar
  48. Juno Reactor - Samurai
  49. Zero Gravity - Medicine Man
  50. Dance 2 Trance - Power of American Natives
  51. Effective Force - Diamond Bullet
  52. Marco Zaffarano - MZ 5
  53. Marmion - Schoneberg
  54. Cosmic Baby - Liebe (red) [NO! This track is NOT by Ayla]
  55. Vernon - Vernon's Wonderland
  56. Tyrell Corp - Running
  57. Cherry Bomb - Eclipse
  58. Norma G - Son of Norma
  59. Ambush - Ambush 2
  60. Force Legato - System
  61. Legend B - Lost in Love
  62. The Shamen - Possible Worlds
  63. Absolute - Past vs. Future
  64. DJ Tom & Norman - Be Slave of Your Desires
  65. Hardfloor - Confuss
  66. I'll add more to this later. Note: Don't expect to hear post-'96 sounding trance here. You won't find it.
  67. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :) :)

This list is that I wonted t see long ago and finaly you made it, great job :)
I noticed in your list Jam & Spoon - Stella, but isn't it ibiza trance?
Also I missed some tracks I enjoy a lot ant I think thay are real classics fo example:
Emmanuel Top - Acid Phase I think this track is one of the best classic trance tracks ever created.

Few more tracks which I think could expand this list:
Alcatraz - Orbital III
Arpeggiators - The Force Of Unity
Arpeggiators - X-Plain The Un-X-Plained
BBE vs. Emmanuel Top - Orion
Blue Alphabet - Cybertrance
Blue Planet Corporation - Crystal
Blue Planet Corporation - Overbloody Flood
Cherry Moon - The House Of House
Commander Tom - The Vulcan
Cosmic Baby - A Tribute To Bladerunner
Cosmic Baby - Magic Cubes
Cosmic Baby - The Universal Mind
Dance 2 Trance - Where Is Dag
Emmanuel Top - Lobotomie
Emmanuel Top - Rubycon
Emmanuel Top - So Cold
Frank De Wulf - Afrika's Rhyme
Hardfloor - Kangaroos And Bubbles
Hardfloor - Mahogany Roots
Legend B - End Of A Season
Marco Zaffarano - Supernova
Mike Oldfield - Let there be light (Hardfloor remix)
Milk Inc. - La vache
Mystic Force - Planet
Moonbreaker - Cosmic Chaos
Norman - Dynamic Visions
Paragliders - Change Me
Push - Universal nation
Resistance D - Cosmic Love
Sosa - The Wave
Soundcraft - The Movement, The Message (Norman Remix)
Sourmash - Pilgrimage to Paradise (Hardfloor Remix)
Trance Allstars-The First Rebirth
Union jack - cactus (for me it sounds much better then Red Herring)

Stella is indeed Ibiza trance, but also classic trance, it being pre-1996. The ibiza trance subgenre hadn't yet been assigned when that track came out (and a lack of stifling subgenres [mostly - acid trance did start to template itself a little by the mid-90's] is pretty much the spirit of classic trance).

Thanks for the suggestions, I honestly will check them out (I do have a good number of them already, but I'd say about 50% are new to me).

BTW, by Trance Allstars - The First Rebirth, do you mean Jones and Stephenson - The First Rebirth?

Actually I don’t even knew about Jones and Stephenson - The First Rebirth, as it is the original version and it sounds much better then that by Trance Allstars(few german dj’s as I know).
Also I wont to ask question is this list made by your personal taste or by each track influence to genre? Because I noticet from your other list that Future Sound of London - Papua New Guinea is marked as 5th in all time trance list, but in this list it is only 15th.

And few more tracks I wont to offer (in alphabetic order):

3 Phase - Open Your Mind
808 State – Colony
808 State – Nimbus
Acid Bells - Acid Bells
Acidphase III – Innocence
Acrid Abeyance - Speed Freak
Afrotrance - Spiritual Energ
Albion - Nok su kow
Alici & Ralphi Dee – Primitive
Alpha Chimes - Tack & Go
Amorph - Solar Cells
Amorph - Sunflow (Oliver Lieb Remix)
Analog Vogue – SwayEx
Aqualite - What Is Love
Art of Trance – Cambodia
art of trance - deeper than deep
Ascorbin Acid - Sweet Liberty
Astral Pilot - Electro Acupuncture
Astronuts – Voyager
Awex - Back on Plastic
Awex - It's Our Future
Axel Stephenson - Varcaz In Trance
Azid force - Brain killer
B.B.E – Hypnose
B.B.E - Seven Days And One Week (Club Mix)
Barbarella - My Name Is Barbarella
Blue Alphabet – Cybertrance
Brainvibe - System Of Love (Odee X-Mix)
Buzz & Ace – Alone
Car & Driver – Drive
Casseopaya – Overdose
Caunos – Herzsprung
Channel X - A Million Colors
Clanger - Seadog (Original Mix)
Commander Tom - Are A Eye
Cores – Acidious
Cores - Argon (Part 2)
Country and Western – Reincarnation
Cyclone Tracy - Pianos In trance
Dave Angel – Artech
Dee Rex - Soilent Green
Der Dritte Raum - Magnetic fields
Dimension - Ascention to Altitude
DJ Franky Jones - 400 Years
DJ HMC - Cum on
DJ TV & Azidman – Stop
Dr. DNA - Love Ball
Drax - Section 2
Drax Ltd. II – Amphetamine
E.H.G – Warmth
Electric Skychurch – dues
Ethnica - Chemical Trance
Exit EEE - I Laugh
FUSE vs. LFO – Loop
Gangsta – Symphony
Genic - Flaming Grooves
Hardfloor - Fish'n'Chips
Hardfloor – Funalogue
Hardfloor - Into The Nature
Hardfloor - Lost In The Silver Box
Hardfloor - Reverberate Opinion
Hooligan The Mystic Culture
Hoschi - The Tribe
Infinite Aura - C-Trance
Infrequent Oscilation Traxx - Burning Phibes
Jens - Loops & Tings (Fruit Loops Remix)
Juno Reactor – Pistolero
juno reactor - Spiritual Healing
Komakino - Frogs in Space
Komatsu - Watch Out!
Krid Snero - Into My Dream
Love Inc - How deep is your love
Mandala – Acidney
Mark N - R-G - Nightflight On Wax
Misjah & Groovehead - Trippin' Out
Mystic Force – Spirit
Nexxus - Lose Control (Original Mix)
Nip Collective – Rejoinder
Norman - Metrum Reflex
Norman - The Big Deal
Nuclear Hyde - Inverse Reflexion
Nuclear Hyde – Observer
O – Stratosphere
Odysee of Noise – Circe
Paul Van Dyk - Beautiful Place
Paul Van Dyk - My World (original or Florin Mix)
Paul Van Dyk – Today
Pergon 3 - Loop Therapy
Psychic Media - Bio Feedback
Psychobabble – inverted forces
Resistance D - Skyline (Eternal Basement Remix)
Scape Goat - Unwanted Erection
Scubadevils - Celestial Symphony
Solar Quest - Into The Machine (I need to sit down after that one Mix)
Speedy J - De-Orbit
Sven Vath - L'Esperanza
Tesox - Funky Bassline
Timo Maas & Gary D - Die Herdplatte
Tonka - Phun-ky
Tranceliner - Tribal Spin
Ultra Shock - Sound Of -E-
Unreal 3 – Prologue
Velocity - Future (Appregiators Remix)
Velocity - Lust (Oliver Lieb Remix)
Westbam - Celebration Generation
westbam - wizards of the sonic(I found that there are few didifferent versions named same, but one with more acid for me sounds best)
Yves De Ruyter - Outsiders (Santini & Stephenson Remix)

Actually I have much more tracks to offer but I am too lazy to write them all so I just gave better ones to your trial. ALso sorry for my bad Eanglish.

Nope, that was a mistake (on Papua New Guinea). This list is personal taste, and the track should be much higher.

As for the other tracks...whoa! It'll take me a while to get through that, but I'll do what I can (although I do have a few already). Thanks a lot! :)

thanx

I notice you put East in here. Which version of it are you refering to: the Opium Den Mix done by Humate which is in your other Trance list; the Rabbit in the Moon Mix or the actual original version which is proving difficult to find?

Both Opium Den and Rabbit in the Moon. Humate originals tend to be terrible (although I think Opium Den actually is the original).

I looked on discogs and it turns out i was wrong, the Opium Den Mix is done by Rabbit in the Moon as well as Rabbit in the Moon Mix which sounds identical to the Original Mix. The difference between the Original and the Opium Den Mixes is that the latter has the well known breakdown.

Ah. Gotcha.

system is classic tranc? really?

Not really. It's more "proto-trance" (in the EBM style) but Oliver Lieb produced it, so it was heading in the right direction. It probably doesn't deserve to be here, it being really EBM, but I do like the track. And I did put Amnesia - Ibiza on the trance list, so I might as well leave System.

Why go with the original instead of Opium Den? Opium Den is more of a classic, even featured on Northern Exposure, not to mention its darker and entrancing.

Great list. I'm still wavering between various genres of trance, trying to find my niche sound.

The pre '96 trance is like the compromise of it all...its not like normal anthem, its not like normal progressive, nor psy/goa...but it has the best parts of all of them .

Atm I'm leaning towards a more progressive sound in my taste:

"a spacey, ethereal, hypnotic atmosphere; long songs; and a slow progression of layers"

I find this more in progressive than in any other modern subgenre.

If you wanted something that was truly entrancing though, I'd have to give it to psy/goa. And if you wanted something that you wouldn't get depressed listening to, then I'd have to give it to anthem. That leaves progressive...

Entrancement in its truest form can't be labelled to a single genre, as some goa has the sound of acid and the typical goa feel, but isn't entrancing and is in fact a dance floor filler. If anything I'd say Acid Trance, more often than not it's about as entrancing as you can get.
What other genres other than trance are you into atm?

Ambient, Tech House, Electro, and a little mainstream stuff (Linkin' Park)

Cool, try some techno and more house to broaden your horizons a lil' bit. What sorta ambient you into?

Stuff like Airdrawndagger...there's a drum track in it, not just unguided ambient synths

I'm into some techno...not really keen on stuff that has absolutely no melody...but stuff like Steve Lawler's Courses For Horses http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp9JgTsPCEM I like

I also suggest checking out some of the more melodic minimal. I have a list up for that, so instead of giving you 1012834 suggestions here, just look at that list. Enjoy! (hopefully) :D

Here are a few suggestions. Nice list btw.

Energy 52 - Cafe Del Mar (Kid Paul Mix)
Jens - Loops & Tings (Fruit Loops Remix)
Humate - 3.1
Velocity - Lust (Rabbit In The Moon Mix)
L.S.G - Hearts

I was surprised that some of those suggestions weren't on already...
I'll add them (and others) when I'm back at home again.

I am looking for a trance release from about 1993-1994, and the only thing I remember about it, was it was purplish color on the label but had a lightbulb also, maybe with some electricity on it. In either case it definitly had a lightbulb on the label and was from maybe brussles or somewhere in Europe. Any thoughts???

Sorry, no idea.

How about:

Icon- Desire (Icarus Mix)
Juno Reactor- Guardian Angel
Juno Reactor- Ice Cube both of these are much less gaudy than Samurai
Spicelab- Falling - one of the best trance melodies ever
Spicelab- We Got Spice - again one of the best melodies ever surprised you didnt include these I know you know them.

www.electronicmusicreview.net

Here's a few suggestions you made not have heard.

Golden Girls - Kinetic (Frank De Wulf Mix) (1992) (Classic trance/techno)

OT Quartet - Hold That Sucker Down (Builds Like A Skyscraper Mix) (1994) (More house, but awesome)

Renegade Legion - The Weeping Waste (1993) (Trance)

Opal - the Snake (1993) (Classic Trance)(Great tune!! thanks to djjd21 for that one)

Meteor Seven - Signs of Life (1994) (Gabber/Trance)

Li Kwan - Point Zero (surprised this is not on your list)

guys all of u forgot about ayla by ayla is been made in 1996 so should be part of the list because is an awesome track

and robert miles children 1996 again!!!

Brainchild - Synfonica
Age - Doomsday
Drax - Phosphene
Tempestada - Illuminatae
Nexus 6 - Tres Chic