The First Trance Music Song Ever

A bunch of LPs

Every electronic dance music (EDM) genre started once with the first track (song) in that genre and is also the case for the Trance music genre. We can learn more about the Trance genre by knowing about this genre’s first song.

We can consider the song “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)” by The KLF as the first song ever released within the Trance music genre.

This post first explains why we can consider “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)” as the first Trance song ever and then gives some information about the song itself. This post also mentions a song released before “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)” and might sound like Trance, but it isn’t.

The First Trance Song: “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)”

There are multiple web pages on which we can find information about the first Trance song ever. However, such pages can have conflicting information, making it harder to find the correct information.

A Discogs Page

Looking at the Discogs page, “What was the FIRST trance song ever ?”, which is about people answering the question of what the first Trance song ever is, we can see some conflicting replies placed by different people. Watching only these replies, we might feel that it is unclear what the first Trance track is.

Many of the replies on that Discogs page about what possibly could be the first Trance song ever are not even Trance songs. For example, “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer is not a Trance song but a disco song (source: I Feel Love, Donna Summer – I Feel Love). Another example is “Magic Fly” by Space, which is not a Trance song but a disco and synth-pop song (source: Magic Fly, Space – Magic Fly).

I checked all the replies on that Discogs page and found some Trance songs, which I did by checking them one by one in what genre those songs did release. Also, I checked the release dates of these songs. For example, I did find on Wikipedia and Discogs that the song “The Age of Love” by Age of Love is a Trance song and that its year of release is 1990 (source: The Age of Love (Age of Love song), Age Of Love – The Age Of Love).

I ordered all these found Trance songs by release date, by which it became clear that “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)” by The KLF is the first Trance song ever, according to the replies on the Discogs page, “What was the FIRST trance song ever ?” combined with my research. This song’s year of release is 1988 (source: What Time Is Love?, The KLF ‎– What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)).

As a side note, I found on the Discogs page “The KLF ‎– What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)” that the song “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)” is part of the Trance style. However, I could not find on the Wikipedia page “What Time Is Love?” that the song is part of the Trance genre, but the Wikipedia page does mention that it is part of the Techno genre. It might be good to know that the Techno genre is a stylistic origin of the Trance genre (source: Trance music).

‘Give Trance a Chance.’, Wikipedia, and MasterClass

The ‘Give Trance A Chance.’ page “The History of Trance” mentions that many people consider the song “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)” by The KLF as the first Trance song.

The Wikipedia page “Trance music” gives some early Trance song releases, by which the earliest one is “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)”.

The MasterClass page “Trance Music Guide: Inside Trance Music History and Subgenres” mentions some early Trance songs, such as “We Came in Peace” by Dance 2 Trance. MasterClass did not mention the release dates for some of these songs, but I found these dates on Wikipedia and Discogs. I ordered all these found release dates, by which it became clear that “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)” by The KLF is the first Trance song ever, according to the MasterClass page combined with my found release dates.

Some Information About “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)”

The label of the song “What Time Is Love?” by ‘The KLF’ released different mixes of the song as a series of singles. Of these singles, the “Pure Trance” version was the first release on a 12″ LP (vinyl) and is an instrumental electronic dance anthem.

This “Pure Trance” version is a synthesizer composition, which the producers based around the B minor chord and three low-pitched notes acid house riff. The music’s progression happens through the modulation of the main loops, dub-like dropping loops, and a recurring two notes (B bending to F#) high-pitched refrain. The producers used an Oberheim OB-8 synthesizer for the song’s instrumentation.

A “Pure Trance” mix on a disc numbered KLF 004T, which had a black sleeve with green writing, was released on 24 November 1988. A different “Pure Trance” mix on a disc numbered KLF 004R was released on 24 July 1989, which had a cover sticker and black sleeve with yellow writing.

Due to the popularity in European clubs of KLF 004T, the KLF decided to release a compilation album, “The “What Time Is Love?” Story,” with cover versions and sound-alikes.

The “Pure Trance” version received little music press attention, but when the “The “What Time Is Love?” Story” released, Q Magazine praised the track as “a whirling house stomper … not so much of a tune but a good beat” (source: What Time Is Love?).

We can listen to “What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance 1)” by The KLF on YouTube.

In the Experimental Music Genre but Might Sound Like Trance

Someone on the Discogs page “What was the FIRST trance song ever ?” did mention the song “Kometenmelodie 2” by Kraftwerk, released in 1774. That song is the oldest one I could find on that page that might sound like Trance music. However, that song is part of the Electronic music genre and not part of the Trance genre (source: Kometenmelodie 2, Kraftwerk ‎– Kometenmelodie 2).

To me, “Kometenmelodie 2” does not sound like Trance since that song’s bass drum (kick) is hard to hear for me if there is a kick at all in that song.

We can listen to “Kometenmelodie 2” by Kraftwerk on YouTube.

“Kometenmelodie 2” is also the German name of a single, and the English version of this single is “Comet Melody 2”, both versions have two songs. The German version has the songs “Kometenmelodie 2” and “Mitternacht,” and the English version has the songs “Comet Melody 2” and “Kristallo.” “Kometenmelodie 2” and “Comet Melody 2” are the same songs but differ a bit in duration (source: Kometenmelodie 2, Kraftwerk – Kometenmelodie 2, Kraftwerk – Comet Melody 2).

The songs “Mitternacht” and “Kristallo” are not the same, which I found out by listening to these songs.

We can also listen to “Mitternacht” and “Kristallo,” both by Kraftwerk on YouTube.

Closing Words

Hopefully, you have learned something about the considered first Trance song ever.

If you like this post, look at some other posts on this website since you might also like them.

You can share this post when you know someone who likes to learn more about the considered first Trance song ever.

By Markus Kreukniet

Markus Kreukniet is an electronic dance music (EDM) producer and founder of Passion for EDM. He wants to share his EDM knowledge with the rest of the world. Read more about Markus Kreukniet

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