So, yeah, I’ve been getting back into mixing thanks to stumbling on to a couple of great blogs while looking for some random 90s House tunes.

Methods of Dance and Acid Ted have served me well over the last few days with some great stuff from when I thought I looked the business with a skinhead, leather waistcoat, Destroy trousers and Blundstone boots, doing my dodgiest dancing to the heavy and dark Progressive House tunes du jour.

‘Progressive’ was a term given to a genre of House music that developed over the early to mid 90s. I believe it was first used by Dom Phillips, the then editor of the hugely influential dance music magazine, Mixmag. Labels like Guerilla in the South and Limbo in the North featured music that was deep, dark, dubby and generally light on the vocals. These were tracks that really embraced the technology of the time and used it to create a more complex and driving sound. Leftfield featured large in the development of Progressive House and Neil Barnes’ and Paul Daley’s Punk/Reggae/Dub background had a big influence on it’s sound and feel. DJs like Billy Nasty, Justin Robertson and even fleetingly Andy Weatherall played the tracks that became a soundtrack to my life over two or three years.

Probably the peak of my Progressive House affair was on the dance floor of the Love Ranch, a legendary night run by Sean McLusky (who would go on to open the superclub Club UK in Wandsworth) at Maximus in Leicester Square. The club was seedy, dark and full of ne’er do wells. Right up mine and the girfriends alley. My abiding memory is a hastily painted banner draped across the wall behind a podium which read, simply: THIS IS WHERE IT’S FUCKING AT.

It didn’t take long for the breakdowns in the tunes to become longer, the beats more breaky and the production even glossier. DJs like Sasha and John Digweed took the sound to somewhere more cinematic with their Renaissance and later Northern Exposure mixes and eventually Progressive, in my mind disappeared up it’s own backside; for me, it was over. I believe that House really hit it’s peak in the mid 90s. The clubs had become bigger, the music cheesier, the drugs cheaper and nastier. Maybe I turned into a House snob? Maybe I just got old and jaded. I’d been around for the raves in Hampshire fields in 89; The Second Summer of Love and all that, hearing prototype Drum and Bass at Sterns in 1990, to what I considered ‘real’ House Music played by the legends like DJ Pierre and Todd Terry. Maybe I was spoiled.

Anyway, you’d do far worse than checking out this little mix by me and (also here) if you’re interested in hearing what Progressive House was. The mix was made on Traktor but I’ve tried to keep the FX to a minimum. Otherwise, anything on Guerilla will give an idea of the sound; there’s currently shedloads gone up on Spotify. The tune below is a real highlight from the label and the genre.

Renaissance: The Mix Collection

The Second Summer of Love

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