Home News Cloaked shares 15 key tracks in the story of progressive house

Cloaked shares 15 key tracks in the story of progressive house

20 min read

Better known to his friends and family as Andrew Field, Cloaked made his debut with Juicebox Music through "Samasya", his contribution to the second installment of the label's 'Fables' compilation. With releases on Roger Martinez's 'Higher States', D-Formation's 'Beatfreak', Mango's 'Mango Alley' & Paul Hazendonk's 'MNL', to name a few, the UK-based artist holds a formidable discography showcasing his aural vision, earning him some incredible support worldwide. For his latest offering - "1999", Cloaked dials into this magical year for dance music, capturing some of his best influences & inspirations of that time, from driving grooves with soaring leads to emotional chord progressions with evolving elements.

To celebrate the release of '1999', Cloaked has curated a collection of fifteen key tracks in the story of progressive house. Enjoy!

Underworld - Dark and Long [1993]

The legendary UK dance pop band created an entirely new form of hypnotic yet catchy electronic music. You could select any number of tracks from their 90s pomp but “Dark and Long” is Underworld at their best, and laid a template for how to keep a track interesting over nearly 10 minutes by evolving the same core elements with production mastery. Don’t sleep on the drums and percs either, which as usual were totally ahead of their time.

Nalin & Kane - Beachball [1997]

Alongside Chicane’s “Offshore”, the German duo’s perfect soundtrack to any beach holiday defined the summer of 1997 and captured the feeling of being in Ibiza even for people who hadn’t been. The difference with “Beachball” and the reason why it’s part of the story of progressive is that it did so using so few elements, just relying on those lush pads and deep organ bassline to do all the heavy lifting, and keep the feet moving and mind locked in.

Cass & Slide - Perception (Original Mix) [1999]

With a clarity and depth of sound that is almost unbelievable for the pre-VST / digital production era, “Perception” was one of the biggest tracks to be released in 1999 and so was predictably hammered by everyone that mattered, and launched the career of the UK duo (who naturally met in a record shop) fully onto the big stage.

Sasha - Xpander (Original Mix) [1999]

There’s little introduction needed for Sasha and Charlie May’s masterpiece which remains to this day a connoisseur’s pick for both best trance track AND best progressive track of all time. As is often remarked upon, the lead riff comes from the mighty Oberheim synth of the same name, and almost unbelievably had been bounced to tape then left to gather dust!

Bedrock - Heaven Scent (Original Mix) [1999]

John Digweed’s label has been a byword for quality progressive for over 25 years, and one of the cornerstones of that reputation was built upon the epically melodic “Heaven Scent”, which was a favourite of not only club DJs, but home listeners and TV music supervisors alike at the turn of the millenium.

Futureshock - Sparc (Original Mix) [2000]

Described by the one and only Pete Tong (on the vinyl cover no less!) as “the future of dance music”, the irrepressible chugging groove of UK act Futureshock’s “Sparc” found its way onto every serious DJ’s playlist in the year 2000 as well as the era-defining Global Underground compilations to boot.

Halo Varga - Future (Original Mix) [2000]

“We’re making an enemy of our own future” says the vocal sampled from the finest British comedy film of all time, “Withnail and I”. That sounds oddly prescient in the age of climate change and global pandemics, but Halo Varga scored a major international hit in the more innocent time of 2000 with the classic deep progger “Future”. He’s still DJing and is also now a senior designer for Beatport.

Sander Kleinenberg - My Lexicon (Original Mix) [2000]

Without question one of the biggest progressive tracks of all time, Sander Kleinenberg hit the jackpot with “My Lexicon”, named after the leading maker of reverb studio hardware. A real career highpoint that he probably knew straight away wouldn’t easily be replicated, this perfect blend of churning groove, deep bass and soaring melody completely flattened the clubs of Ibiza in particular back in the year 2000.

Trancesetters - Roaches (Peace Division Remix) [2000]

Looking at the three scenes converging around and into progressive (deep house, trance and tribal), the tribal strand felt like a refreshing backlash against the epic trance dominating the wider club scene, putting the funk firmly back into proceedings. The scene was perhaps exemplified best by the mighty Peace Division. Again, you could pick any number of tracks like “Feel My Drums” or “In Piecez” but their remix of the Trancesetters is my pick and was smashed by absolutely everyone in the year 2000.

Love Tattoo - Drop Some Drums [2000]

Featuring surely the biggest and best percs ever committed to record, the Australian producer Love Tattoo’s “Drop Some Drums” was tribal progressive house on steroids and marked the crossover of the sound into the wider cultural consciousness via a release on Positiva.

Funk D'Void - Diabla (Heavenly Mix) [2001]

Scottish producer Funk D’Void created his best-ever work for his friends on the Soma label back in 2001, with the aptly-named Heavenly Mix of “Diabla”. Almost an embarrassment of riches from a musical standpoint, containing top-tier drums, percs, synths, strings, stabs, a vocoder-type vocal, all underpinned by THAT Reese bassline which takes your breath away after 2 minutes…the genuinely timeless “Diabla” got hammered by DJs of all stripes back in 2001, and every year since.

Science Dept. featuring Erie - Breathe (Lexicon Avenue Vocal Mix) [2001]

Representing a high point for production values in the era, some of the scene’s finest minds combined on this slice of progressive perfection for Renaissance back in 2001. A stunning juxtaposition of tribal drums, dark synthwork and a full-bore soulful vocal that is so well-balanced and elegant in its execution that it shouldn’t even be possible.

iiO ‎– Rapture (John Creamer & Stephane K Remix) [2001]

A largely independent label dance scene until the late 90s, by 2001 the progressive sound has exploded into the wider consciousness with major pop releases getting the remix treatment. Few artists had more impact in this area than John Creamer and Stephane K who scored a big hit with their version of IIO’s all-conquering “Rapture”.

Spooky - Belong [2002]

Another track marking the evolution of the progressive sound, Spooky’s “Belong” coupled next-gen production values and glitchy programming with a sumptuous female vocal to create a watershed moment in quality as the progressive sound moved on, and some of its leading proponents began to take things in another direction.

Ame - Rej [2006]

The “original” progressive scene peaked around 2001 or 2002. By 2003 the dominant club scene was funk/disco-influenced house, shortly followed by electro house, or micro / minimal / tech house for the cognoscenti. Some progressive artists did stick with the progressive sound, but most DJs and producers moved onto other genres. Ame’s “Rej” is notable not only because it’s one of the finest pieces of dance music ever made, but also because it coupled the melodic sensibility of progressive house with the sophistication and new digital production quality coming out of the minimal/tech scene. A true masterpiece in every sense.

'1999' is available now via Juicebox Music: https://tinyurl.com/mr28jkys

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Release Promo
Load More In News

One Comment

  1. Robert Jones

    5th June 2024 at 16:28

    Excellent selection and a great read


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *