As much as 128 is connected to house, 140 is connected to dubstep, and 150 is connected to hardstyle, 138 has always been connected to trance. However, these numbers — beats per minute, or BPM — always started out as rules and evolved into something more like guidelines later on. Except, apparently, for trance.

138 has become such a focal number in the genre that Armin van Buuren, one of trance’s foremost legends, has a song actually titled, “Who’s Afraid of 138?!” Yesterday, Jono Grant of Above & Beyond addressed the fandom’s obsession with the number:

The obsession with a single BPM number (138) is just ridiculous and misses the point. The first records we made together ranged from around 134 to 140. Yes a lot were at 138, but so what? Getting hot and sweaty specifically about 138 is proper face-palm material.

It’s unclear exactly what prompted the need to make a statement about this, but it’s brought up some apparently much-needed conversation in the community.


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