The Progressive House subgenre originated back in the early 1990s. It began in the United Kingdom as a development of American and European dance music.

How History Coined the Term Progressive House

In the 1970s, people used the term “progressive” to distinguish experimental rock forms from current trends. Some artists sought to raise the artistry of rock music by adding elements from classical instrumental music. As a result, progressive rock emerged. Some also describe it as “rock’s most self-consciously arty branch.”

A similar desire led DJs and producers to use this term. In 1980, musicians in Detroit established the word “progressive” to describe Italo disco, according to DJ and producer Carl Craig.

Before the advent of techno, musicians like Alexander Robotnick, Klein + MBO, and Capricorn filled a void left by the decline of disco in Detroit. People described the music as “progressive” as Giorgio Moroder’s Euro disco influenced it. Rather than the disco genre influenced by Philadelphia soul’s symphonic sound.

Simon Reynolds, a British music writer, characterized bands like 808 State, The Orb, Bomb the Bass, and The Shamen with the phrase “progressive dance” in the late 1980s. Also, between 1990 and 1992, musicians used the word “progressive” to describe this subgenre, and “progressive house” was a short-form buzzword.

The Establishment of this Style

According to DJ Dave Seaman, the progressive rock received backlash in the early 1990s. Since progressive house followed in the footsteps of progressive rock, it was pompous, po-faced, and full of self-importance. However, it was largely uninteresting.” In the beginning, people used progressive house and trance interchangeably.

Leftfield’s “Not Forgotten,” released in October 1990, was among the first progressive house productions. William Orbit and Dick O’Dell founded the label Guerilla Records, and it is credited with aiding the establishment of a movement for the genre.

The Mix Collection and Northern Exposure, released in 1994 and 1996, are credited with popularizing the genre through mixed compilation albums. Deconstruction Records, Hooj Choons, and Soma Records also contributed to the scene’s growth in the early to mid-1990s.

Characteristics of Progressive House

House DJs who used to play Eurodance drew inspiration from this genre. As a result, Progressive House developed the commercial sound that is now associated with it.

According to Seaman, the distinctions between genres have blurred over the years. True, some consider progressive rock to be “masquerading” as techno, tech-house, or even deep house. As a result, one can find elements from dub, deep house, and Italo house in this style.

The progressive sound distinguishes itself from the latter dream trance and vocal trance. A lack of anthemic choruses, crescendos, and drum rolls, focusing on rhythmic layering, all characterize Progressive house. Also, producers like to add and delete layers of sound to create intensity. Phrases usually have two bars and frequently start with a fresh or distinct melody or rhythm.

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