What makes Progressive House unique? How do I know when I've discovered it? More on that in just a minute. During one of my ritual music discovery days, I came upon a preview sample of Gai Barone's latest release. Four seconds into the sample, it was an instant buy, no second thoughts, just an immediate click 'add to cart', and move on. Half Tower was released with Voices in my Head as a two track E.P. on December 2, 2013 by the Berlin based, Afterglow Records. Known for it's roster of Trance and Progressive house artists, becoming a seminal release.
Progressive House in 2013 has come in such a wide variety it's very identity becomes confusing.
Many track releases under the Progressive House genre tag could be equally considered (at this time of writing) on one end, mainstream Electro House or Trance music at the other end, respectively. For myself, Progressive House should fall somewhere neatly in between. Without extreme leanings to towards either/or of the sub-genre spectrum.
Half Tower has some of the best elements of Tech-House, a rhythmic polished bass beat that rolls nicely around 60 Hz, a well mastered snare with reverb, and clean but not over powered hi-hats. Gai added his signature layered complexity with a Conga drum that gives Half Tower it's rhythmic depth. Gradually, a nice harmonic synth flows gently with the rhythm and Gai layers in some subtle arpeggio plucks. What makes this track unique was Gai Barone's fantastic breakdown. The melody enters with a string like synth. Gai's classical music influences were wonderfully showing, as it became clear of brilliant melody arrangement. After the breakdown the beat was dropped like smooth Techno. Silky, Deep, Techy, and with a melodious synth that harmonizes; this is what Progressive House should be.