Evolution of Progressive House



While eurodance was taking over Europe in the late 80s and early 90s, Britain was quietly developing its own trance-infused brand of house music called progressive house. It started with the 1990 release of “Not Forgotten” by the group Leftfield, which had so many elements that it was tough to pin down to a specific genre. Other artists like Bassomatic and the KLF also helped define progressive house with a heavy emphasis on dynamics, layered arrangements, and longer track durations.




Progressive house is directly influenced by the rave and dance scenes of the US, UK and Europe. Early on, progressive house was indistinguishable from trance but, by the early 90s, its aesthetic elements could be traced back to everything from Euro house to Chicago house.




The sound of progressive house is mainly attributed to its use of complex layering and longer formats. The four-on-the-floor and punch drums are constant, with a very deep bass, and a synth lead that carries the track. Added in are the many layers of filtered evolving pads, white noise risers and riffs that come and go as the tune grows building up to a climax. The use of risers, white noise and filters are very prevalent since the transitions and breakdowns make a big part of dividing the arrangements by section.



Leftfield - "Not Forgotten"

London, 1990


Leftfield's "Not Forgotten" was the first of a string of releases that would help create an identify for the British house scene.



Bassomatic - "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Bass"

Sheffield, 1990


Bassomatic releases "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Bass", officially the first ever progressive house track.



The KLF - "3am Eternal"

London, 1992


The KLF fuse hip-hop and progressive house to appease to the mainstream with their stadium anthem hit "3am Eternal".



Spooky - Gargantuan

Manchester, 1993


Spooky mark their debut in the progressive house scene with the release of their Gargantuan album.



Moody Boyz - "Destination Africa"

Manchester, 1994


Moody Boyz release Destination Africa, a blending african rhythms and breakbeat.



Spooky - "Strange Addiction"

Manchester, 2006


Spooky break it down with "Strange addiction" off of their 2007 album, Open.



Eric Prydz - "Pjanoo"

Täby, 2008


Eric Prydz’s critically acclaimed track "Pjanoo" topped the British dance charts for ten consecutive weeks.



Deadmau5 - "Strobe"

Niagra Falls, 2009


Deadmau5 takes us on a slow journey through his critically-acclaimed 10 minute hit, Strobe.



The M Machine - "Immigrants"

San Francisco, 2012


Newly-formed The M Machine hit the ground running with their debut EP featuring the hard hitting track "Immigrants".



Adventure Club - "Wonder"

Montreal, 2013


Adventure Club release the uplifting progressive house track Wonder (feat. The Kite String Tangle).



Eric Prydz - "Generate"

Täby, 2015


Veteran producer Eric Prydz releases the third single "Generate" off of his debut album Opus (2006) a year in advance.



Zhu - Ringos Desert

San Francisco, 2018


Zhu channels the healing properties of the desert through Ringos Desert LP.



AfterU & Leibo & Zarhi - "Menora"

Tel Aviv, 2019


Pakpak records introduces middle eastern progressive house track, "Menora" by AfterU & Leibo & Zarhi.



Evolution of House Music

Check out our 31-part series, starting with an overview of house music's 40-year history.

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