It’s that time of the year when people are making their own best of lists and since this year brought many interesting Goa trance releases it took me some time to make a selection for some of them and present it to you. Regarding the list I decided to include as much as possible releases (unlike the previous year when I decided not to include releases from my own label, this year I had to put some of them because I consider them to be worthy enough to be featured). The list is made out of 15 releases and if you got your own list, please make sure to post it in the comments box below. Before we get started, I will introduce and review each release in few sentences and leave the link for download or purchase (just click the release title).
So, let’s start with the list, shall we?
15. Ufomatka – The E.P. (Lookinglook Records)
Many people might not be familiar with the work of Ukraine based Lookinglook Records and their catalogue, but they release some interesting Goa-trance music from time to time and this time I stumbled upon The EP (great name for the release), by Ufomatka a project founded by Alexandr Yemelyanov. He appeared few times on compilations by Anjuna Records and Lookinglook Records and now he is presenting his stand-alone release which was totally positive suprise. I need to say this one isn’t really for people who are more into melodic and euphoric Goa trance, it’s more for people who dig experimental and a little bit darker Goa trance. These five tracks bring enough of interesting moments and they proove that there are artists who are doing something different nowdays.
14. New Born – Nothing But A Title (Cronomi Records)
Cronomi Records has been known since the early days as a label that pays a lot of attention to the details. They don’t release a lot of new music, but when they do it’s always something interesting and fresh. This double-CD album by Israeli project New Born, entitled Nothing but a Title (yet another great name for the release) is a continuation on his previous works which were released on this label. Tom Rarin delivers yet another emotive release presented through over 20 tracks which might seem to some people a bit repetitive, but trust me, his music gets better with each new listening and subtle mastering by Mario from M-Run project and great looking artwork by Sara (DJane Psara) gives this package additional quality.
13. VA – Hearts Of Goa (Submoon Records)
Many people still remember Filipe Santos and the important role he had back in the early stages of the new breed of Goa trance music, releasing some top notch Goa music on Metapsychic and Phototropic with various projects he founded. Well, this time he’s back, just like Arnold in Terminator movies, but does it sound good as his previous releases? Yes. Submoon Records flooded us with new projects and releases this year, but some stuff they published shouldn’t be missed and this compilation is one of them. It may seem strange to some people why the artists on this compilation sound very identical, but this release is more an album than a compilation, as Filipe wrote and produced all the music. If you’re up for some bad-ass Goa trance music, filled with acidic melodies and oriental vibe you should check Hearts Of Goa.
12. Proxeeus – At The Mountains Of Madness (Neogoa Records)
If there were folks who said that there is no acidic Goa trance nowadays, then this HP Lovecraft inspired full-length album by French producer Jerome Lesterps will definitely change their minds. Proxeeus is a very young project but in so little time he delivered a lot of material. At The Mountains Of Madness is an acidic-straight-forward rollercoaster and it introduces the style of this project perfectly. It’s one of the releases which Goa trance acido-philes shouldn’t miss. It’s available for free download at Ektoplazm or on hardcopy at Neogoa Records Bandcamp.
11. Doof – Let’s Turn On – Remixed & Remastered (DAT Records)
Doof is a legend and DAT Records has become one in 2015 without any doubt. From the beginning to the recent days, this label stayed true to its vision and they remind me of the History channel TV show called ‘American Restoration’. Seriously, each new release they put out is redefined in terms of quality, from sound to visual and this legendary album isn’t an exception. It comes with improved sound, slightly different visuals and bonus material that each old-school Goa-head will love to have in his/her collection. I might not be the biggest fan of Doof music, but with this release I will evaluate my opinion and that is all because of efforts that DAT Records is making to bring old vibe to new (and old) Goa-heads.
Okay, it’s time for my favorite 10 releases and we’re starting the list with a compilation.
10. VA – Goa Spacetime (Timewarp Records)
This year Timewarp had some really great releases and one of my personal favorites is this latest compilation entitled Goa SpaceTime (well, all of their previous compilations are Goa-something, and this one doesn’t change the rule). Compiled by Renato from Nova Fractal, Goa SpaceTime brings two CDs of energetic and melodic Goa trance from different artists who previously appeared on Timewarp and some new names. I really like this one and it doesn’t sound mediocre but for the future I’m expecting to see 1-CD format compilations by them. In my humble opinion it will bring their vision on a new level and probably there will be less room for fillers.
09. Denshi-Danshi – Fluid Dynamics (Suntrip Records)
Suntrip Records had yet another strong year and they offered a lot of great Goa trance music to the masses. The focus on old-school vibes was dominant this year and it’s an interesting direction which might pay off for them. Denshi-Danshi was a pleasant surprise and Fluid Dynamics is among few albums that I really liked this year. Probably it won’t be something for the people who are more into new-school and modern sounding Goa trance, but the old-school audience will be thankful for this one. The sound and mastering are really amazing, Tim Schuldt did great job respecting the old-school vibe of this project.
08. VA – Evolutive Perceptions (Goa Madness Records)
One of the biggest and most positive surprises is the folks at Goa Madness Records. This young Belgian label run by Ephedra and Kuririn delivered 4 amazing releases so far and their second compilation Evolutive Perceptions might be the best one so far. The line-up for this one brings you a lot of energy and…madness. Seriously, it’s a well-rounded compilation with some brilliant moments and it’s one of the positive examples how modern Goa trance compilations should sound and look like.
07. Sky Technology – In Search Of Ancient Knowledge (Sita Records)
Sky Technology’s first Goa trance album was one of my most anticipated releases for a while and this year the nitzhogoa temple called Sita Records released it and it was such an experience. Each day at Balkan Goa Fanatics they had at least one track from this album played during the DJ sets, and that proves how big an impact Sky Technology had on the DJs and crowd. There are no bad tracks on this one and some of the most brilliant moments in Sky Technology’s musical career can be found on this album. It’s well produced and the melodies are so damn catchy and well-made that I can say it’s probably one of my favorite releases by Sita Records so far.
06. Celestial Intelligence – Perpetual Energy (Suntrip Records)
The little country of Macedonia has offered so much great music in recent times and just like their fellow countrymen from Cosmic Dimension, Celestial Intelligence (a project founded by Branislav Dimkovski, Dalibor Anastasovski) delivers a true gem entitled Perpetual Energy. This album is emotive, melodic, well-written and has true spirit of Goa trance music. Even if I’m not the biggest fan of the mastering on this record, I can still appreciate the importance of Perpetual Energy and the quality this music brings. For sure it’s one of the best stand-alone albums Suntrip Records delivered in last few years.
It’s time for my ultimate top 5 picks for this year, the releases which had the most impact on me and one of the reasons why even today I enjoy Goa trance music so much.
05. Lunar Dawn – Kolovrat (Neogoa Records)
This narrowed selection starts with one of the biggest surprises this year – the long awaited debut album by Lunar Dawn from Croatia. Kristijan Ilišinović and Saša Prečanica already made appearances on different compilations but this time they’re presenting their vision and work in the best possible way. Kolovrat brought so many needed different themes and elements into world of Goa trance. It’s melodic, it’s powerful and at sometimes you can feel the real fantasy and mythical aspects of Lunar Dawn’s music. It will be hard to top this release in the future, but we will hope it will be at least equal to Kolovrat. It is available for free download at Ektoplazm or on hardcopy at Neogoa Records Bandcamp page.
04. VA – Goa Trance Legacy (Spacedock Records)
We had to wait almost three years for the first compilation by Spacedock Records since its founding. Compiled by DJane Ine, Goa Trance Legacy brings some of the best Goa trance music nowadays from start to the end. Even if I’m not the biggest fan of the few EP releases they published in recent times, Goa Trance Legacy was a step in a new direction without any filler, made with a lot of passion and love towards Goa trance music. My biggest problem with this epic release was and still is the artwork, but hey music is what counts in the end and on that side Spacedock Records with this compilation is at the top.
03. VA – Aurora Sidera (Suntrip Records)
At the end of each year, you have to reserve one spot in each best of selection for a Suntrip Records compilation and this year Aurora Sidera was their biggest project and it delivered so much joy. What makes Aurora Sidera special is the fact that Suntrip managed to make a good balance between their usual melodic production and more darker and experimental music. Some old names spiced up with new names made Aurora Sidera one of the best compilations in recent years. The artwork and mastering are so great that it actually brings some of the brightest moments of Suntrip history back on the table. You shouldn’t miss this, not because of nostalgia factor, but because it has basically everything for everyone.
02. VA – The World Beyond (Neogoa Records)
The World Beyond project by Neogoa Records was in development for a while and after it appeared for free download on Ektoplazm people recognized why it required so much time. Since then it’s probably one of the biggest and most interesting releases published this year. The unusual and challenging concept spiced up with enigmatic promotion and unique storytelling was something that Goa trance scene needed so badly. Even it can’t be considered a full Goa trance release due to the storytelling factor and ambient opening, the World Beyond delivers some of the most emotional and epic moments in the second wave of Goa trance. It’s available for free download at Ektoplazm.
01. Pleiadians – I.F.O. (Identified Flying Object) (DAT Records)
The moment you’ve been waiting for – the best of the best: I.F.O. Well, what I can say about this release. It’s the Star Wars of Goa trance, the most anticipated release that every goa-head on this planet waited for, and now finally the lovely folk at DAT Records deliver this epic package in different forms but with outstanding material. I already posted a few words about the importance of I.F.O. on my Facebook page, but it can’t be praised enough. Without any exaggeration, I.F.O. is at the top of the pyramid in almost every serious Goa trance selection and this new and improved package will only spread the masterful sound of Pleiadians and Etnica to the new generations who will know how to appreciate it. DAT Records and Pleiadians are in their own class in every aspect, from sound, mastering, and music production to visual aspects and presentation. If you want to be inspired and give something to Goa trance music and culture, look no further.
So there you have it. It’s my personal list of favorites released in Goa trance world in 2015. I know some people might disagree but hey, you can make your own list and post it in the comments box below, that way each of us can learn, discuss and find maybe some releases which went under the radar. In conclusion, 2015 was one of the best year in Goa trance history without any doubt and it’s a clear proof to few people on this planet who are claiming that Goa trance is dead. No, it’s not dead, it’s more alive and kicking ass than ever. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate to all artists and musicians, graphic designers, painters, DJ’s and label owners who made this year so special, at least to me. At the end we all are doing our best to promote and give something unique and wonderful to people and hopefully we will continue to do so in the future aswell.
Also, I feel obligated to post worthy mentions which couldn’t find their place among the best (hey, it was great year and so much beautiful music has been released):
Asia 2001 – Psykadelia [Reissue] (Suntrip Records), VA – Floating Between The Moon and The Sun (Goa Madness Records), Journey Into Sound – Transdimensional Vision (Neogoa Records), Night Hex – Viziuni Nocturne (Suntrip Records), JaraLuca – Perpetuum Mobile (Neogoa Records), GoaTree – Akasha Connection (Neogoa Records), VA – Goamystica Vol. 1 (Mystic Sound Records), The Faithealers – Until The End Of The World (Neogoa Records), VA – Oriental Accidentalists (Submoon Records), Skizologic – Robotized (Zion604 Records), Nostromosis – Battle Times (Timewarp Records).
As a bonus, below you can find some extra picks by yours trully. Thanks for reading and have a awesome and amazing 2016 aswell!
Best dance moves of 2015: Agneton (at Sita Records)
The best moment in 2015: The Sphere climax (at Neogoa Records)
Best looking art in 2015: Aurora Sidera painting by Margot Schaefer (at Suntrip Records)
Best sound and mastering: Analog Dimension (I.F.O. at DAT Records)