Überwältigende Gestaltverläufe: Build-Up & Drop sowie geschichtete Synthesizer-Patterns in Psytrance DJ-Sets


  • Lorenz Gilli Universität Siegen


This paper explores the embodied experience of listening to build-up & drop and layered synthesizer patterns in DJ sets of electronic dance music (EDM). The analysis draws on phenomenologist philosopher Hermann Schmitz's work and his conception of the »corporeal dynamic of tension and swelling«. I rely on Gestalt Theory to differentiate between the ›simple Gestalt‹ of build-ups & drops prevalent in EDM pop and the ›complex Gestalt‹ of layered synthesizer patterns often implemented in psytrance (short for psychedelic trance). Furthermore, I illustrate how these Gestalt enable distinct overwhelming aesthetic experiences and experiences of collectivity by exploring the dynamics of tension and swelling. With my analysis of a psytrance DJ set, I argue that both simple and complex Gestalt significantly determine the creation of a DJ set as well as its reception by the crowd on the dancefloor. They provide scope for examining diverse aesthetic strategies pertaining to different genres and they constitute a vital component of a (yet-to-be-developed) methodology for analysing EDM DJ sets.