Great topic! This. In my case, it works even better when I listen to audio not directly related to the "psytrance culture". I think about: - movie soundtracks (good to think about techniques that create precise emotional reactions) - movie SFX and voice cues (good for sound design inspiration) - video games audio (mainly for harmonic inspiration. Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda come to mind, but there are lots of others because primo, 70% of the big licences composers are classically-trained vets (the others are metalheads ) and secundo, the video games audience seems to be largely more tolerant with harmonic eccentricities...) To answer the main topic, I generally start a track with a melodic theme. This theme is a character and the track is his story. If I feel other characters are needed along the way, I add themes. Harmonies describe their emotions. Sound design is the scenery. Rhythmic elements (obviously...) set the rhythm of the action. The process is also easier to me if I work on a track that is part of an ensemble (EP, album, live set...) because it's easier to define its "role" in the big plot and how it should be structured (is this track the intro of the ensemble, or the climax, or the happy end...).