Is Progressive Dance Music Replacing Trance Or Just The New Trend?

Editor note: This article is a collection of thoughts presented during a recent online discussion. Trance Farm would like to thank everyone who contributed to this piece.

We see it more and more lately.

Trance DJs are venturing from their 138-140 b.p.m. realm and focusing more on the Progressive side of music during their livestreams and productions. You know, the Progressive House, Deep House, and Progressive Trance that, for many, were untouchable unless they were opening a room during a gig.

And, it’s comforting, isn’t it? Early evening Progressive tunes are the foundation to your evening while having a drink and conversing with friends before the headliner arrives to blow your euphoric brains out by playing every big room anthem known to humanity.

But, whose to say Progressive sounds can’t do the same for the entire night? For many, they do. And, that’s why we’re seeing a resurgence of this particular type of music. But why?

Hormones peak at an early age, and the same music was easily sold with a hook and a vocal. But, when that was the focus, sound design and exploration took a back seat. As people grew older and the backlash of the EDM explosion years ago led a sector of dance music fans in an eager search for the other end of the musical spectrum, the creative ceiling at the time was virtually non-existent.

Folks wanted new sounds and textures, so what was created and delivered was more intelligent, complex, and melodic. The work was so different that it created a new genre, and taken from its influence from the ’90s and early ’00s Trance, Progressive music has that essence of Trance, but hasn’t been rehashed to death like so many generic 138 b.p.m. songs.

Some people are still capable of listening to 138 b.p.m. for hours on end. Nevertheless, an argument can be made that it’s not practical to expect the majority of people to have a metronome style kick as the backdrop to every daily activity.

We’re experiencing a shift towards music that has a lot more contextual flexibility. It can be played in the background of a YouTube video, streaming on a Spotify playlist, or played loudly at a show. One of Trance Farm’s writers was to bet that if surveyed, most people would find Deep House something enjoyable to hear on a Bluetooth speaker on a boat, at a loud Mid-Western American festival, or while working out. In laymen’s terms, it’s easily enjoyable.

And, isn’t that what we’re searching for right now? 138 b.p.m. can be considered intense and raw – things the world are consumed by along with uncertainty and complex negativity, so we instinctively look for that effortless, comforting way out, and this music is the perfect recipe.

On top of that, brands like Anjunadeep/Anjunabeats and Silk have consistently released top-notch material, showcasing this sound, and have built a following around it. The longevity of those brands speaks to their popularity and the popularity of the Progressive sound. It’s still not as popular as the run of the mill Trance from some of the more prominent names in music, but does popular always mean better?

Based on this, and as the headline states, it’s not a “new trend” per se, since it never really went away – it just seems to be getting more exposure. That still could be due to a number of things not mentioned, and I invite your comments on the subject, but I find the structure of these genres to be incredibly alluring.

Erik Lake

All this machinery making modern music can still be open hearted.

4 thoughts on “Is Progressive Dance Music Replacing Trance Or Just The New Trend?

  1. It’s not just older fans , overall the deep and progressive house sound of Ben bohmer and Nora en pure are very , very , popular among gen z and millennials. The tempo seems to peak at 135 for the majority, 130-135 seems to be what people like the most. It’s easier to listen too and when worked right creates lush emotions the way trance is supposed too which has been lost at times due to “the drop”. Don’t give me wrong “the drop” trance is still very emotional at times when done right . However point is people seem to favor the melodic over the hardcore , and overall it’s simply more diverse . To me though this newer wave progressive is still trance in spirit . Many trance legend djs play this style in their podcasts.

  2. Yes, I believe there is also a factor of the Trance audience just getting older, some of those who listened to Trance as teenagers around the year 2000 (myself included) are either now are or are becoming parents/settling down, maybe the partner doesn’t like the intensity of harder or uplifting Trance, so there maybe more of change to styles to suit habits. To the benefit of the progressive scene, those who are already familiar with older Progressive House sound during the earlier 90s (think Sasha/Digweed et al) will happily pick up the newer forms of melodic and progressive sound (I stress not the commercial end of the market). For me personally I love what Tim Penner, John 00 Fleming, RPO, Airwave, Gai Barone, Solarstone etc are doing in the Trance space of Progressive, this is an area that deserves far more exposure.. but then do I want that? I do love the underground edge.

  3. I find it interesting that for the longest time it seemed like you had to belong to “one camp” or the other but not both. Glad to see that people are finally realizing the benefits of both styles.

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