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Thread: what makes music "psychedelic"?

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    what makes music "psychedelic"?

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    A DJ mentioned that Tears For Fears "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" as something psychedelic. I'm not sure if it's the sound or the lyrics itself, but it was trippy! Is it delay and reverb, that's also commonly used in trance music which is very trippy as well?

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    I don't know if you can break it down with a simple definition... and I also wouldn't call Tears for Fears psychedelic (in my personal opinion). I think you're sort of right though with the idea that most psychedelic music has elements drenched in trippy delays or reverb. Does that mean that anything with big epic delays and verb is psychedelic??? Not in my opinion, but here's wikipedia haha...

    "Psychedelic" as an adjective is often misused, with many so-called acts playing in a variety of styles. Acknowledging this, author Michael Hicks explains:
    To understand what makes music stylistically "psychedelic," one should consider three fundamental effects of LSD: dechronicization, depersonalization, and dynamization. Dechronicization permits the drug user to move outside of conventional perceptions of time. Depersonalization allows the user to lose the self and gain an "awareness of undifferentiated unity." Dynamization, as [Timothy] Leary wrote, makes everything from floors to lamps seem to bends, as "familiar forms dissolve into moving, dancing structures" ... Music that is truly "psychedelic" mimics these three effects.[2]
    A number of features are quintessential to psychedelic music. Exotic instrumentation, with a particular fondness for the sitar and tabla are common.[3] Songs often have more disjunctive song structures, key and time signature changes, modal melodies, and drones than contemporary pop music.[4] Surreal, whimsical, esoterically or literary-inspired, lyrics are often used.[5][6] There is often a strong emphasis on extended instrumental segments or jams.[4] There is a strong keyboard presence, in the 1960s especially, using electronic organs, harpsichords, or the Mellotron, an early tape-driven 'sampler' keyboard.[7]

    Elaborate studio effects are often used, such as backwards tapes, panning the music from one side to another of the stereo track, using the "swooshing" sound of electronic phasing, long delay loops, and extreme reverb.[8] In the 1960s there was a use of electronic instruments such as early synthesizers and the theremin.[9][10] Later forms of electronic psychedelia also employed repetitive computer-generated beatsA number of features are quintessential to psychedelic music. Exotic instrumentation, with a particular fondness for the sitar and tabla are common.[3] Songs often have more disjunctive song structures, key and time signature changes, modal melodies, and drones than contemporary pop music.[4] Surreal, whimsical, esoterically or literary-inspired, lyrics are often used.[5][6] There is often a strong emphasis on extended instrumental segments or jams.[4] There is a strong keyboard presence, in the 1960s especially, using electronic organs, harpsichords, or the Mellotron, an early tape-driven 'sampler' keyboard.[7]
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    Study how drug culture literally plays a huge role in the sound(s) of music.
    "Once black music leaves its original context, it begins to take on different meanings and serve different functions, and it is interpreted very differently." Portia Maultsby

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