Contrary to what Beatport would have you believe, Progressive House isn't actually about huge cheesy synth lines and buzzing Electro House drops. That genre is Big Room House.
There is always a lot of debate about the meaning of 'progressive' when applied to music. Does it refer to the structure or composition of the track, or does it refer to playing with or evolving the tropes of the genre, helping move it forward? For the purposes of this guide, progressive refers to the structure and overall tone of the track.
Progressive House tends to sit anywhere between 120-134bpm, and though track lengths have shortened over the years, they still remain quite lengthy relative to other genres of dance music. Having these longer lengths allows the track to evolve and establish a number of peaks and troughs throughout the duration.
Modern Progressive House can be split into two camps. Though not always the case, Prog can take itself quite seriously, with tracks often having a darker and more hypnotic edge to them. The other type of Prog House rose to popularity with the advent of the plucky melodic style of Prog, which is heavily pushed by labels such as Silk Royal.
Prog has become somewhat stripped back in comparison to the highly melodic productions of yesteryear. Many tracks have even begun to take some influences from Techno.
In 2007, Deadmau5 broke through with easily digested Progressive House productions, based on sidechained plucked chords. This spawned a large number of similar productions and the plucky style remains very popular today.
Hernan Cattaneo establishes Sudbeat, a label that becomes a platform for the powerhouses of Progressive House.
Many Progressive producers around this era also mingled with Progressive Breaks.
Early Progressive House shares many characteristics with Trance. It is quite melodic yet remains more subdued than most Trance productions. There is considerably less arpeggiated melodies and a stronger focus on establishing a groove. Early Progressive House was often quite fast compared to modern productions.
The now famous Bedrock Records was established by John Digweed and Nick Muir around this time.