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The Paul Oakenfold Goa Mix


For anyone who has ever appreciated Goa trance music, there are moments that make you say wow. One such moment happened to me this weekend, when I listened to the Essential Mix dubbed the “Goa Mix.” This was broadcast on 18 December 1994 on Radio One in the UK, and became the most requested rebroadcast ever. Listening to it, one can understand why exactly. Paul Oakenfold created a timeless classic.

Goa trance is the precursor to modern psychedelic trance. The beats are somewhat slower, sound more melodic and chunky. Often there are live instruments in the recording, or a wider range than in psytrance. The whole sound is very different. I’ve been a fan of both genre’s now for many years, but only in the last few months have I begun to understand just what I missed in Goa. It’s music to take you on a mental exploration trip. It’s tough to get hold of some of the records now, but it won’t stop me from trying. Man with No Name, Cosmosis, Juno Reactor, Hallucinogen, Astral Projection and others shaped a movement that enlightened me many years later.

Getting back to the mix, this was in the days before Oakenfold was a superstar and moved into commercial trance. He also mixed an album for Dragonfly Records, A Voyage into Trance, which is another classic in its genre.  The mix starts off slow, but with plenty of vocals, piano riffs and moderate pace, before a vocal interlude changes everything. Suddenly it gets dark and moody, full of the acid noises trance is famous for. It really is a marvel to listen to. As the mix goes on, it goes deeper into that, before lightening up again after the hour mark. After some more chunky dancing type of music, it goes back into Goa heaven, but not perhaps as dark as the first half. There is a wide range of movie extracts in the mix, as added vocals and filler for a quick breaks. The whole experience can be called cinematic, ahead of its time.

The amazing thing is that this mix still is as fresh as the day it was made. I dare say, it stands heads above what most current dj’s can offer. The music hasn’t aged a day, and I think this mix could be a floor killer still. I find it sad that Goa died down, as psytrance sometimes doesn’t have the same quality to it. It can be quite similar between artists, and while the beat is more dance orientated, it doesn’t quite take you on that same trip.

The mix can be hard to get hold of, but if you can, listen to it and wonder at the greatness of it. I just wish there could be a movement back to classic Goa, a sort of return to the source. One can hope 🙂

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  1. jon
    October 23, 2014 at 20:47

    Listened to this mix when it was first aired driving back to Scotland, for xmas. Totally blew me away!! Have it on my phone today and still listen to it more than anything else that i have on my phone. Pure class, simple as!!

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