Over the past few months I’ve been on an obsessive progressive house music kick. This obsession started about a year and a half ago in the form of random moods. I’d randomly hear a track or run across a podcast that would tickle my ears right. I listed to it a couple of times then move on to the next genre and not revisit it for a couple of weeks. For the longest time, minimal and progressive electronic music used to bore me. I’d play it or go dance to it live and it just wouldn’t satisfy me much. Now that I think about it, I think it was that at that time I was a lot focused on a different song structure with big, noticeable drops, vocal lines, and distinctive samples.
A Sasha and Digweed show is what did me in. It was about 2 years ago at a show that came closest to what I imagine an old school rave would be like (still not close enough to be called one). It was in a run down complex, with very little advertisement and it packed lots of what seemed to be true, appreciative fans. That whole night, unlike club DJ shows, the music and the experience associated were the focus of the night. I was a little skeptical when I first came in. But at the end of the night, after chatting with a bunch of people and feeding off people’s energy and getting some guidance on what to look for, I was definitely sold.
Over the next week or so, I got a hold of a bunch of progressive house records, put my headphones on and started doing some deep listening that I sometimes do when I’m introduced to some new music. I tried to figure what elements exactly appeal to me; why does this music make me feel good? after an hour or two it started clicking. It was a smack-myself-in-the-head kind of moment. Of course I like it! I like it for the same reason I like progressive rock! And for that matter, all progressive music genres.
I realized that my ear likes a consistent baseline that sets a tone for a period of time, and takes me on a journey through different layers and levels. I find great pleasure in listening to basic pieces, layered on top of each other, in different combinations with drops and splashes of distinctive samples. I like it because I get to appreciate every piece for what it is. I am given the opportunity to get introduced to everyone of them, get familiar with them, and then see them go play with other sounds and make their contribution to the whole track. I realized that it took me some patience and a little shift in what to listen for, compared to the more traditional EDM I listened to. Focus more on the elements, less on the variance in structure. Get closer to those elements and give them more attention, rather than “zooming my ears out” and listen to the blended product.
My approach with music in general is that genre is a loose umbrella I use to refer to music in conversation, or for easier organization in my music library. While there are lots of artists who fit some sort of definition of what progressive house is, I have enjoyed listening to records that combined more than one genre. Those bridges are one of my favorite things to pin point.
Here are a couple of my current favorites