The term “Zenonesque” was coined by the head of Ectoplasm.com when categorizing Psytrance subgenres for their well know free music website. If you visit the website, the category “Zenonesque” appears in the menu with different Psytrance genre categories and is described as follows,
“ Zenon Records is widely known for their distinctive blend of progressive psytrance with funk and jazzy influences. Zenonesque, then, is anything that sounds a bit like the Zenon Records sound. It isn’t quite techtrance (which is generally more harsh and mechanical) and there is enough of it that it makes sense to distinguish it from straight progressive (which generally has a brighter/cleaner aesthetic). Zenonesque psytrance is characterized by both dark and light elements, a playful vibe, organic sound design, and a deep commitment to psychedelic atmospheres.”
In other words, the music Zenon Records has released since its birth has been so influential and distinct that it has given rise to its own sub genre known today as “Zenonesque”.
In January 2003 Sensient (the owner of Zenon Records) released the album “Blue Neevus”.
An 8 track album, which was released on German Label, Tatsu Records. A completely revolutionizing take on progressive trance. Slow, hypnotic progressive trance with futuristic sound design and cinematic atmospheres. An aesthetic that paved the way for the entire genre. There were three classic various artist compilations which were released on Zenon before the next Sensient album. That being “Eyes Rolling” (2003) the first Permutations (2004) and Intelligent Manipulation (2004) with tracks from well known Zenon founders such as Shadow FX, Tetrameth, Krumelur and Minimal Criminal.
The track “Morehdel” by Sensient is a classic example of the super low pitched rolling basslines and dark cinematic atmospheres which characterises the Zenonesque sound and still a major infuence in modern releases today.
The Zenonesque style itself is a sub genre of Psychedelic Progressive Trance however the Zenon sound can also be categorised into its own Sub categories. Below is a general categorisation, but remember it is only a generalisation. There is a seriously broad and ever growing spectrum of flavours and textures coming from Zenon Records so to categorise is difficult as most artists take influence from across the board.
The Classic Zenon
With acts like Sensient, Tetrameth, ShadowFX, Krumelur and Minimal Criminal. Characterised by its classic progressive bushy basslines, techno percussion and cinematic sound effects.
Techy Dubby, Glitchy
Artists such as Grouch and Tom Cosm then further investigated by Myself (Dirty Hippy), Evil Oil Man (my brother), Brujos Bowl and others. A merger of Minimal Techno and Progressive Psychedelic Trance with elements of the classic Zenon: futuristic sound design and dark, cinematic atmospheres with lashing of heavy glitching.
This is a style developed and characterised by acts like Kromagon, Hypegeo and Hellquist. Heavy full on and low rumbling basslines with very dark atmospheres and a lot of classical psytrance FM noodling. Two super heavy weight champions of Zenon to mention here are Pspiralife and Ryanasaurus. Both write hard and dark progressive with super intricate futuristic sound design and lashing of their own distinct flavour, plus classic Zenonesque feel.
Super heavy, dark low rumbling techno basslines with dark atmos, minimal glitchy effects. What sets this aside from other Dark techno out there is the science fiction aesthetics.
Another element to the distinctness Zenon is the musicality. The music has some intelligence in design and is what gives it depth and colour that is unique in comparison with other electronic dance music genres. Here is what Pspiralife, one of Zenons major acts had to say about it,
“it relied less on synthesis for sound design and although synthesis was used, it was often combined with the manipulation of organic samples, field recordings, foley and of course traditional, non electronic instruments such as guitar, and acoustic percussion or drum kit. The way in which the compositions were structured came from somewhat less of an electronic music background, and included some emphasis on and influence from music normally associated with bands. Like Rock, Metal and Jazz”
This is an excerpt from his upcoming tutorial series. Check out his Patreon page to read all about it.
There is a music label important to mention which also played a significant role regarding the music considered now “Zenonesque”. That label is called Cosmic Conspiracy Records founded by Aviel Peru, also known as “Tripinstumble”. Founded in 2003 and released debut tracks from extremely influential artists such as Grouch, Tom Cosm and others. Cosmic Conspiracy Records also was the label to first release music from myself and my brother with Dirty Hippy vs Evil Oil Man’s, “Slime and Punishment”. The label is well known also for its themed releases, such as High noon (cowboy cyberpunk), Cryptozoology (mythical monsters), Phobophobia (phobias) and Midi Evil (medieval).
A perfect description for me of the Zenon style is mentioned on the website itself under where is titled “GOT TUNES?” Here is what it says,
“ We are always looking for new music. But please ONLY send us tracks we might be vaguely interested in releasing – don’t waste our time with 160bpm power goa trance. And decent quality please – if you got yourself a copy of fruity loops 2 weeks ago you are probably not ready to send a demo to us! But if it’s organic, trippy or futuristic with incredible sound design, production and programming then we will gladly accept :D”
For me, as an artist of Zenon Records I feel I have the perfect platform for my music. I was a fan of psytrance but after a while my more musical nature wanted to take my music to a more futuristic and open fusion dimension. Now If I write dance music that is deep, trippy, futuristic and innovative I have the perfect place to give it a home.
On a side note be sure to check out if you haven’t already the Zenon experiments. A place where Zenon artists can release their more leftfield, downtempo productions. So far releases from Sensient, Aire, Dirty Hippy and Pirate Juice are available.
If you are interested in affordable private tuition in this style then please check out the available lessons and courses described on the rest of this website.
I hope you enjoyed reading my Bio of Zenon Records. Please be sure to check out my other blogs for essential information on music production.
Daniel Swain aka Dirty Hippy