Psychedelic music was made popular in the 1960s, in the U.S. Although it englobes a wide variety of music genres, from rock to electronic, the concept of psychedelic music was heavily influenced by the psychedelic subculture.
To qualify as psychedelic, a song must feature a number of particularities, such as combining exotic instruments, song structures that seem to lack connectivity, modal melodies, as well as drones. When lyrics are present, they are oftentimes whimsical, esoteric or almost surreal, adding to the trippy feeling.
Besides unusual instruments, psychedelic tracks also use a series of studio recording techniques, such as extreme reverbs, multiple repeats, backmasking, and electronic phasing, as well as electronic instruments, amongst which theremins and synthesizers, or betas generated entirely on the computer.
Psychedelic music is perceived as musical experimentation, with elements being included in multiple genres, the most popular being trance and rock, as well as in meditation music, due to its close connection to spirituality.
Psychedelic Rock Music
Psychedelia heavily influenced the New York, San Francisco, and California rock scene, together with what we now know as the Hippie Movement. The first use of the term “psychedelic rock” was used on the business cards of the band 13th Floor Elevators in 1965, considered one of the pioneers of the genre.
Amongst the most popular bands that fall under the psychedelic rock movement are The Doors, Pink Floyd, Red Krayola and The Byrds. Their songs included extended electric guitar solos, often used with fuxxbox and feedback effects units, elements of Indian music, and swell as disjunctive song structures and a prominent presence of keyboards, including electronic organs and the Mellotron.
Psychedelic Trance Music
A subgenre of trance music, psychedelic trance music, often called psytrance or psy, is placed at the more underground or hardcore spectrum of the genre. Its origins are rooted in the Goa trance movement sometime in the 1970s. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s, when the first Goa DJs, Laurent, Fred Disko, and Goa Gil started introducing electro-industrial elements into the Goa scene.
Psychedelic trance music is characterized by an energetic sound, very distinctive and often faster than other electronic genres. Tempos usually go over 135 BPM, with a prominent bass beat constantly heard throughout the entire song. Tracks also tend to be long, usually over 6 minutes, with layering effects being used to combine different rhythms and beats that change every eight bars.
Psychedelic Meditation Music
Meditation music has long been used to assist the practice of meditation in various cultures and religions. Psychedelic meditation music goes by many names, such as psybient or psychill, and is characterized by having a relaxing, almost sedative body, but doesn’t lack strong electronic elements, combined with eastern traditional instruments and powerful vocals, often chanting ancient mantras.
By being overwhelmingly relaxing, it is often used in music meditation, either as a main focus point, or playing in the background. Therapeutic and emotional, psychedelic meditation music manages to combine fresh, often futuristic sound elements with ancient, sacred and almost hypnotic rhythms.
If you are looking for a special kind of musical experience, don’t hesitate to buy psychedelic music. You can use it for meditation, or to accompany videos that evoke a more unusual feeling.