trance (tràns) noun
1.A hypnotic, cataleptic, or ecstatic state.
2.Detachment from one's physical surroundings, as in contemplation or daydreaming.
3.A semiconscious state, as between sleeping and waking; a daze.
tranced, trancing, trances
To put into a trance; entrance.
[Middle English traunce,
from Old French transe, passage, fear, vision, from transir, to die, be
numb with fear, from Latin trânsìre, to go over or across.
- trance´like´ adjective
As an organizer of images
experienced in trance, the occultist reflects back to the
archaic idea of creation by idealistic aesthetics. He
suspends authorship in the materialistic sense (similar to
the conceptions of Marcel
Duchamp or Andy Warhol), whilst re-organizing what has already been created
through visions received in trance; and in this way "old"
traditions are welded together into a new entirety.
- P.R. Koenig - _Ecstatic Creation Of Culture_
Old Rituals For New Space
Trance music in Morocco is magical in origin and purpose, concerned with the evocation and control of spiritual forces. In Morocco musicians are magicians. Gnauoa music is used to drive out evil spirits. The music of Jajouka evokes the God Pan, God of Panic, representing the real magical forces that sweep away the spurious. It is to be remembered that the origin of all arts -- music, painting, and writing -- is magical and evocative, and that magic is always used to obtain some definite result. - W. S. Burroughs
Q: You've said that you don't consider yourself a shaman just because shamans cure and you don't cure anyone. Also you write a lot about the re-emergence of the shamanic institution. What do you think of its re-emergence in the modern world - how can it's integrity be preserved, if at all, and how must it evolve?
TM: The music. And the trance-dance drug-taking situation is the establishment of a ritual space outside the conventions of ordinary society, that is the new shamanism. And that's again what makes it so suspect in the eyes of the establishment. They sense that this is something they can't get a handle on and control, or that it takes them some time to get a handle on - they have to figure out how to co-opt each generation in a new way. My generation was co-opted in a very crude way, with money. Your generation... The Establishment's not interested in that, they'd rather keep the money for themselves. I'm hoping that the new trance-dance culture has enough integrity to resist being folded into commercialism and ordinary mass cultural entertainment. But we shall see.
- Terence McKenna
African Music in Society
Professional musicians served as historians in
the African kingdoms that developed from the 10th century to the 20th century.
Among the Mande people of western Africa, professional bards still recount
the histories of powerful families and advise contemporary rulers. Music
in African societies is a medium for the transmission of knowledge and
values and for celebrating communal and personal events. Accordingly, important
stages of an African person's life are often marked with music. There are
lullabies, children's game songs, and music for adolescent initiation rites,
weddings, title-taking ceremonies, funerals, and ceremonies for ancestors.
In many African religions, sound is thought to be one of the primary means by which deities and humans impose order on the universe. In West Africa, drummers play a crucial role in possession-trance ceremonies, in which the gods enter the bodies of devotees. A drummer must know specific rhythms for particular gods and be able to regulate the flow of supernatural power in ritual contexts. Music is also used to organize work activities. The pygmy societies of the central rain forest use singing and vocal cries to coordinate during hunting.
sun dance (sùn dàns) noun
A religious ceremony widely practiced among Native American peoples of the Great Plains, typically marked by several days of fasting and group dancing and sometimes including ritual self-torture, as in penance or to induce a trance or vision.
Fabricated and nonmeaningful speech, especially such speech associated with a trance state or certain schizophrenic syndromes.
[New Latin : Greek glossa, tongue + Greek lalein, to babble.]
Achieving samâdhi liberates the self from the illusions of sense and the contradictions of reason, leading to an inner illumination.
Axiom releases by Nicky Skopelitis (Ekstasis) and Material (Hallucination Engine) incorporate traditional styles of trance music with new technology and varied musicians, expanding on existing traditions and styles to create stunning and ethereal new organic/electric trance musics.
According to his researches in North Africa, writer and composer Paul Bowles found that, in Morocco: "Music, literature, and even certain aspects of architecture have evolved with cannabis-directed appreciation in mind." This was the holy grail pursued by Brian Jones, William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Ornette Coleman and Bill Laswell in the Rif Mountains, where the musicians of Jajouka smoked kif and played their swirling trance music from dusk to dawn.Clandestine lines of influence run from trance cults through to current music. Laswell's Axiom label has released recordings of the Jajouka musicians and the Gnawa brotherhood of Marrakesh, and on his own tracks he is making links between trance musics, dub and ambient.
-- David Toop, "Dope Beats" - The Face
Trance States & Inner Rhythms
Techno beats, new tribes forming with new codes andlanguages, out of zeros and ones, and electronic pattern forming devices. Edutainment, inner peace through pounding club systems and sensory deprivation, within concrete mazes. You're in an altered state, you've relinquished control of something and it feels great. You don't have to feel bad about life, just responsible for making the future a more enjoyable place to be, and you're not the only human that feels the same way. The collective feeling of the trance state is probably akin to Colin Wilson's description of early societies; the ability for individuals to think and act as one in the same way that a flock of birds move in-formation. The mechanics of this shift in modern times are known to most clubbers or festival goers; drums/repetitive beats, lights/colors (to feel our photovore brains) to sleep deprivation and food choice - by which I mean anything we choose to imbibe. If enough minds and bodies agree to do the same thing, the collective reality of those involved can be changed, or a new one created. It has been argued that everyone is in one form of trance state or another, and many of us are imprisoned in types of repetitive behavior and thought, that if we had the option, we would escape from it. Cleaning out the cobwebs/breaking down the barriers between people every so often is pretty essential to our well being. When we are in a euphoric state, we wonder - how is it possible for us to all feel so different and isolated at one point and yet connected the next?
The four major brainwave cycles measured are
If you want a natural effect listen to polyrhythms: drum circles, African rhythms, Tibetan and Moroccan music. The chaotic quality of the shifting natural patterns confuses the brain - as it tries to find the "correct" timing - we decipher our own "beat" within it, the action of doing this forms the non-fucsed, attentive mental state which stimulates Alpha wave activity.
The other "turn-on" with sound is frequency. This is where the "chakra" idea comes into it. Bass most strongly affects the lower nerve centers - sexual organs and the stomach. Midrange affects the chest - particularly the heart rate - fastert kick drums can affect the heart and thus manipulate adrenaline levels. Top end and white noise has most effect on the head/brain - as do piercing acid squeals. And the rest of it - melody, chord progressions, scales, the human voice? These are what influence our more subtle emotional responses which we are highly varied. To mis-quote Terence McKenna, "we have more words to describe narcotics than we do our emotions", and they seem to be one of the key areas of development of our species.
Any move to a permanent higher consciousness would require greater emotional capacity and understanding of inner rhythms via biofeedback techniques. These techniques enable conscious manipulation of brainwave and body function. This is why people are exploring group trance states in time and space at this period in human evolution."
Clive Austin - 1998 Sources "Alpha waves" on the net, writings of Terence McKenna, talk by Colin Wilson - from _Dream Creation_ magazine
So, from a practical point of view, the trance theory model says that there is a trance generating loop which consisting of repeating cognitive objects. This loop creates a dissociated trance plane in which various cognitive functions are disabled. And depending on the order that these cognitive functions are disabled as well as which specific ones are disabled and which are not, you have different trance states.
Let's look at some more examples of trance so that you can understand how to further apply this model.
Music consists of repeating rhythms and melodies. From a trance theory point of view, music consists of multiple trances, one for each repeating rhythm or melody. Most of these musical loops repeat only a few times and there is a minimum number of repetitions needed before a dissociated trance plane will be created. Musical trance can be described as the creation of multiple trances followed by their collapse. However, another cognitive loop is precisely this repeated creation and collapsing of dissociated trance planes.
Certain types of music are more trance-inducing, generally, than others. Musical loops which are sustained, such as in shamanistic or so-called trance-drumming, have at least the critical element of high repetition. Thus, the high repetition of the musical loop is more likely to produce a single dissociated trance plane. Religious and military marching music also has a higher likelihood of inducing trance because of the high repetition of the musical loop.
Certain sports such as jogging, swimming, basketball, etc. require repetition of action and therefore a repetition of cognitive objects. These sports all create dissociated trance planes and therefore trance.
Watching television or a movie also generates trance because of the attention loop between the viewer and the images viewed. This cognitive loop is very short and simple. You look, you integrate the image, you look again. The processing of the content of the images takes place in the dissociated trance plane in which a variety of cognitive functions are disabled.
All forms of meditation practice involve the repetition of cognitive objects of varying degrees of complexity. The relatively simple meditation of watching the breath will induce a meditation trance. More complex forms such as are practiced by Tibetan Buddhists or Sufis may consist of combinations of meditation and hypnotic trance. Visualizations and physical movements can be combined with mantra yoga to producemultiple dissociated trance planes.
604 release _Dance, Trance & Magic Plants: Otherworld_ compilation 12"x2 on Transient (1997)
604 release _Trust In Trance 3_ by Astral Projection (et al.) on Trust In Trance
604 release _Israel's Psychedelic Trance Vol. 2_ compilation on Trust in Trance
_Shamanic Trance: Psiberfunk_ Mix by Mark Allen : Return To The Source
604 release _Deep Trance and Ritual Beats_ compilation on Return To The Source
book _Trance: From Magic To Technology_ by Dennis R. Wier
You are in a trance when yourattention is limited and there is a certain repetition of thoughts. In an extreme case, your attention is so limited that it feels like "tunnel vision." The repetition of thoughts might be mantras, songs, repeating fantasies, or even the math calculations of balancing your checkbook. That song you can't get out of your head indicates a trance. Concentration, when the mind is focused on a specific problem or thought, is also a form of trance. You could characterize trancecybernetically as an awareness loop, or a circular flow of consciousness.
Repetition of mantras, the whirling
of dervishes, the chanting and drumming
the repetition of TV commercials all induce trance by limiting your attention
and overloading your mind with repeated thoughts. The purposes may be different,
the results may be different, but in my opinion the difference in trance
is mainly of degree.
Trance Inducing Music
This is a brief and simplified
overview of trance inducing music, since the word trance is closely
associated with the musical genre. There is a connection between trance theory and the musical genre 'trance music' or 'techno trance' as well as the trance inducing music of shamans of Africa, Central and South America and other areas. Moreover, the ritual music of many western and eastern cultures has trance inducing aspects which can be analyzed and described using trance theory.
The general trance inducing aspect of music is well-known, but trance theory helps to specifically identify those aspects of music which induce trance, and lays the foundation for describing the nature of the specific trance.
Why should we want to do this? One reason is so that we can engineer better trances through music.
There is a part of any music that does induce trance. Sometimes it is only the trance inducing aspect of music which many people feel is what makes music successful or not.
Why is this? Because people get pleasure when they are in a trance. Therefore, if you can make better trances through music, then people will like your music. So, it comes down to trance engineering. But to do that, you have to have a practical model for trance. You got that. Now all you need to do is apply the model.
'Pure' trance inducing rhythms are simple to produce. Even tapping your foot rhythmically will produce a trance; but most people are not aware that a trance is produced since such a trance is not very compelling. However, a trance is produced.
More complicated and interesting trance inducing music needs at least three or four (or more) individually engaging rhythms. Some kinds of reggae music does this, so do the canons of J.S.Bach. In much so-called generic trance music only two rhythms are used, and only occasionally three.
The 'engaging' aspect of trance inducing rhythms is important. What may be 'engaging' to one person may be repulsive to someone else. Repeating rhythms can be perceived as 'boring' but it is precisely this 'boring' aspect which is also precursor to trance. So, whether a rhythm is boring or engaging is not a condition of trance, but says something about the person who is listening to the music.
One important characteristic of successful trance inducing music is what trance theory would call 'modulating the dissociated trance plane'. The music of shamans and many aboriginal tribes create effective music which modulates the dissociated trance plane by slightly varying the underlying trance generating loop. Several good examples of this can be heard in the CD 'Heart of the Forest' The music of the Baka Forest People of Southeast Cameroon. Several good examples can also be heard in Glen Velez's Assyrian Rose. el-HADRA: the Mystik Dance has some good attempts at creating the dissociated trance plane, but fails to exploit the opportunities to skillfully modulate it.
There are many nature sounds,
such as birds, frogs, crickets
which fundamentally repeat, but which contain slight variations within
each repetition. Who has not spaced out listening to the songs of birds
and frogs? The fundamental repetition is the trance generating loop (TGL)
and the variations in each repetition results in the modulation of the
dissociated trance plane. It is for this reason that the sounds of nature
tend to produce trance. The type of variations within the TGL determine
to a great degree the effectiveness and depth of the trance.
When there is some 'subtilty' or artistry in the creation and modulation of the DTP, then the trance is compelling and there is an increase in the trance force.
A loud, heavy beat is not necessary. Loudness or heavyness is not of itself productive of trance but insofar as the loud, heavy music repeats, such music will be trance inducing.
Although repetition produces
trance, it will be the type of repetition which is 'engaging' or which
produces an involvement with the inner reality. In some trance music - such as goa - there are multiple loops, some of which are subtle. Subtle loops tend to bring the attention to a finer focus. The resulting splitting or dissociation results in trance. But that is not the whole story. What 'subtle' is to one person may be different for another. The effect - which is to say, which cognitive functions are disabled - is another story. Again, this can vary between persons listening to the same music. Another consideration is the order in which cognitive functions are disabled, and finally, what additional processes are being encouraged when these cognitive functions are disabled. In other words, how is this state of mind being used?
Dissonance is also not necessary; although loud heavy beats and dissonance may be interesting from aesthetic points of view, they will not produce trances over which there is much control.
Complex rhythms are also not necessarily in themselves productive of deeper trances. Deeper trances are more easily produced when, after some time of engaging rhythms, there are increasingly more subtle rhythm or melodic changes, or if rhythm loops become longer and longer. The point is that the rhythms or melodic sequences become more subtile and more engaging.
Avoid sharp or unsettling rhythmic or melodic changes as these will most likely terminate the trance by destroying the trance generating loop resulting in the collapse of the dissociated trance plane. One of the reasons that 'trance music' works to produce trance is that there are long periods of the same loop or loops. The traditional music of shamans and dervishesis characterized by long periods of the same loop.
At the point that a deep trance is produced, subliminal messages could be introduced with effectiveness. The content of the suggestions should be carefully crafted to empower. Suggestions will also affect the music producer, since the producer of such music listens quite closely to the music as well.
Most instances of trance
music do not allow sufficient time for deeper trances to develop, as
complexities are introduced too quickly. Remember, in shamanistic trances, drumming would go on for days. Subtile changes in the rhythm and melodic structures over time will produce deep trances because it is the 'subtilty' which is engaging. Commercial trance music should continue for a minimum of 20 minutes to induce deep trance. Perhaps we are all fortunate that such long trance music riffs almost never happen.
Trance theory mentions secondary trance loops and multiple dissociated trance planes. I can show you how this has a musical equivalent. It is possible to produce schizophrenic-like behavior from music alone.
You don't want to do that, right?
It is also possible to produce 'addictive trance music'. Jeez! Why would anyone want to do that?
Additional research in the application of trance theory to music as well as to other arts which produce trance and trance-like effects is needed.
The chief characteristic of minimal music is the repetition of short motifs which alter imperceptibly and are varied only minimally. Music is transposed into a state of constant regeneration, so that a "continuous, iridescent sound results which gradually alters without changing its substance" (Dieter Schnebel). Through the successive superimposition of minute figures, or through nothing more than the sustaining of a note and the production of its overtones, the distinction between movement and non-movement is dissolved into a kind of synchronicity. Everything proceeds as though the principle of repetition had no other purpose than to hypnotise the listener. At first hearing, such music sounds "primitive: and monotonous; yet as soon as one gets the feel of it, a deep self-experience becomes possible.
Not the least significant precursors of these endless repetitions, periodic formulae, and prolonged sounds are Indian music, African rhythmic figures and Balinese gamelan music. The fathers of this new music in the early sixties were the Americans Terry Riley, La Monte Young and Steve Reich, who are still today the most important representatives of this movement, alongside Phil Glass, Robert Moran and Frederick Rzewski. The best-known and most seminal of them is without doubt Terry Riley, who has influenced musicians of all schools.
Individual parts of the cycle always emphasize one or more aspects of an essentially compulsory figure, and yet the development pursues unusual paths: it is carried on, so to speak, under a time-magnifying glass. A short, melodic, motif-like figure is continually repeated, and through overlappings with similar melodic figures, produces new resultant patterns. Of its first performance in Berlin, Glass writes: "Once it is established that nothing is 'happening' in the normal sense of the term, and that instead the gradual 'surveying' of the musical material can hold the listener's attention, perhaps he can discover a new kind of attentiveness, one in which neither memory nor anticipation (the psychological axioms of Baroque, Classical, Romantic and most modern music) have anything to do with the quality of musical perception. It is to be hoped that music will then become free of dramatic structure, as a pure sound-medium, as 'the Now'
Sight Smell Taste Touch Hear
the five senses....
you are blind when you are
womb. your nose is blocked. your
mouth closed, your taste buds too new
to taste. you are floating weightless
in a bubble of umbilical fluid so you
can feel nothing. the only sense you
have left... is sound.
what do you think the first
that you heard was. Your mother's
heartbeat? Your father's deep
vibrating voice? all the grunts
and squiggles that a body makes as
it moves and breathes and digests
all the noises of a body and a
voice and a soft muffled sound that is the world.
think of a stillness... then think of a
vibration... all through your body
as if you heart has only just started beating
for the first time... feel the
blood filling you... feel a deep rumbling
sound stirring your tiny body...
feel it move for the first time...
now think of a beat... just
thump thump thump in your ear... like a
beating heart... like blood rushing through veins
as you float in a dark
silence... feeling nothing but slight vibrations
through your body. now
think of the sound of someone breathing right
above you... someone big and
comforting... someone who you are living inside of...
hear the air rush in and rush out in a rhythm
synched with the beating heart.
all the squiggles and the jiggles
of a body coming together with this rhythm.
each movement and crack of a joint, each bubble
and secretion, each sigh and moan and scratch.
everything synched together... held together
by the the threads of life....
now imagine yourself... now... here... in your
body that has been born and has grown strong.
imagine yourself standing in a dark room...
and you can see people around you. and you can
smell them. and you can taste the air.
and you can feel their skin touching your skin....
now think of a beat...
(ever wonder where trance comes from)
Secret Life Of Trance by Robin Sylvan
t-shirt of atomjack's alma mater