Jan 31, 2012
The Top 15 Progressive Tracks of 2011
While hard gritty basslines have their time and place, there’s nothing quite like chilling out to deep progressive house. A solid fusion of deep house and trance elements, its growth in the last few years was greatly accelerated by artists like Deadmau5, Kaskade, and labels like Anjunadeep. It may not be as popular in the clubs as its big room brother, but it sure knows how to get its groove on.
Andrew Bayer – Counting The Points (Original Mix)
Andrew Bayer - Counting the Points [Anjunabeats]
Andrew Bayer is one in a billion. Even the renowned BT said in our interview with him that Bayer didn’t even need to go to the Berklee College of Music, but that he pushed him to go just to learn the essentials. He made a splash in 2011 with his track Counting The Points, which was the highlight of his album It’s Artificial, and was even featured as the intro track for disc two of Armin van Buuren’s Universal Religion 5.
Tom Fall ft. Jwaydan – Untouchable (Original Mix)
Tom Fall feat Jwaydan - Untouchable (Original Mix) [Pilot 6]
Jwaydan was undoubtedly born to sing. Her hit with Aly & Fila, We Control The Sunlight, even made it into our Top 15 Trance Tracks of 2011. Finland’s Tom Fall knew well to work with her on their track Untouchable. Her lyrics are not only sincere and relatable, and her talents are a welcome breath of fresh air to the progressive house scene.
Jaytech – Paradox (Original Mix)
Jaytech - Paradox (Original Mix) [Anjunadeep]
Australia’s Jaytech has an exceptional taste for deep progressive house; his monthly podcast always showcases the very best. Not just a great DJ, he also made several terrific productions this year including New Vibe and Djembe. However, the crown belongs to the delicious glistening arpeggios and chopped female vocals that make up his track Paradox.
EDX – Embrace (Original Mix)
EDX - Embrace (Original Club Mix) [Toolroom]
When EDX isn’t making hard dancefloor bangers like Szeplo or Angry Heart, he’s making wonderfully upbeat tracks like Embrace. He used gentle harp strings and a catchy beat to recreate a little piece of heaven. If you dig this kind of sound, then you’ll definitely enjoy the music of his crew The Helvetic Nerds, which includes producers like Dinka, Daniel Portman, and George F. Zimmer.
Gabriel & Dresden pres. Andain – Promises (Soundprank Remix)
Gabriel & Dresden pres. Andain - Promises (Soundprank Remix) [Black Hole]
Gabriel & Dresden reunited and made a huge come back in 2011 through their Andain project. Fans of the legendary San Francisco duo were overjoyed when Above & Beyond invited them to debut their new single Promises on their radio show Trance Around the World. A little later in the year, a young prodigy who goes by the name of Soundprank applied his Midas touch to the vocal piece, and somehow made the beautiful voice of Mavie Marcos even more serene.
Josh Gabriel pres. Winter Kills – Hot As Hades (Francis Preve Remix)
Josh Gabriel pres. Winter Kills feat Meredith Call - Hot as Hades (Francis Preve Remix) [Different Pieces]
Josh Gabriel and his Winter Kills track Hot As Hades just so happened to attract one of America’s brightest studio engineers, Francis Preve. He’s a professor from Texas who teaches about dance music for a living, and so of course he knew just how to support Meredith Call’s tormented vocals with a solid beat and a mean bassline. If you enjoyed this track, you must take a listen to more of his work here.
Michael Cassette – Pangaea (Envotion Remix)
Michael Cassette - Pangaea (Envotion Remix) [Anjunadeep]
Envotion (pictured) took the retro grooves of Michael Cassette to a whole new level with a crisp remix of Pangaea. The Dutch trio performed an excellent job of harnessing the ’80s vibes; the gentle beat they put in makes it easy to get lost in the music. For another taste of this kind of precious harmony, be sure to check out their other Anjunadeep release, The Last Wave.
Boom Jinx & Andrew Bayer – By All Means (Solarity Remix)
Boom Jinx & Andrew Bayer - By All Means (Solarity Remix) [Anjunadeep]
Solarity (pictured) did what few can do–make By All Means by Boom Jinx and Andrew Bayer even more dreamy. Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman used special care while giving the original some well-rounded basslines and enhancing its euphoric ambience. For more by these guys, check out their Anjunadeep album, which features some of their best productions, including Terminal 6, Diophantine, and Corvette.
BT ft. Kristy Hawkshaw – A Million Stars (Original Mix)
BT feat Kristy Hawkshaw - A Million Stars (Original Mix) [Nettwerk]
The enormously talented BT is highly adept at making his tunes stand out. In A Million Stars, he emotionally enriched Kristy Hawkshaw’s yearning vocals with some electronic vibrato, effectively making her sound like an angel. The trance legend used all the right elements, including acoustic guitar strumming in the intro and a soothing breakdown to offer a bit of calm amidst the storm of techy basslines and haunting pads.
Late Night Alumni – In The Ashes (Original Mix)
Late Night Alumni - In the Ashes [Ultra]
No progressive list would be complete without Ryan Raddon, aka Kaskade. In addition to his awesome Fire & Ice album, Ryan got his Late Night Alumni band back together again to release the new album Haunted. Although the release held mostly chilled breaks, the LP did have one spectacular progressive house tune called In The Ashes. It’s quite the relaxing track, and Becky’s soothing voice ties it together nicely.
Deadmau5 – HR 8938 Cephei (Original Mix)
Deadmau5 - HR 8938 Cephei (Original Mix)
Deadmau5 single-handedly took down the entire SoundCloud website when he uploaded HR 8938 Cephei and armies of fans swarmed in to listen. The supremely progressive track was hailed by Armin van Buuren as a great “return to his roots," and fans flooded Google searching for answers as to why the mau5 named it after a 900 million year-old star. We may never know the true motivation behind Joel Zimmerman’s choice for its name, but we know it was a boss successor to his last progressive foray, Strobe.
Eric Prydz – 2night (Original Mix)
Eric Prydz - 2Night (Original Mix) [Pryda]
It’s not very common for deep progressive house to top the Beatport Top 100 chart, but London’s Eric Prydz pulled it off with his brilliantly enchanting work 2night. There’s also a couple of terrific mashups for it, including one with Wonderwall by Oasis and another with Breaking Ties by Above & Beyond’s OceanLab project. Altogether, it was incredibly successful year for the Swedish born producer, with many more hit productions including With Me, Mokba, and a thunderous big room remix of Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode.
Hiroyuki ODA – Submarine (Tomoyuki Sakakida Remix)
Hiroyuki ODA - Submarine (Tomoyuki Sakakida Remix) [Otographic Music]
Japan’s trance and progressive house scene is one of the EDM world’s best kept secrets. Led by the record label Otographic Music, they’ve been making stunning masterpieces over there for awhile now including tracks like Tomoyuki Sakakida’s remix of Submarine by Hiroyuki ODA. It has one of the smoothest, most easy-going beats on the whole chart, and its melodies absolutely shine with creativity. If you’re looking for more of this style from the land of the rising sun, go check out LessThan3’s Tokyo Bliss podcast.
Matt Lange – Rift (Andrew Bayer Remix)
Matt Lange - Rift (Andrew Bayer Remix) [Anjunadeep]
Matt Lange sprung up out of the blue in 2011. Also a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, he made his impression on Anjunadeep this year with his deeply melodic Rift. His fellow alumna Andrew Bayer (pictured) took it a step further, giving it deeper and darker overtones. With talent like this, Andrew easily deserved this #2 spot on our chart.
Spooky – Belong (Soundprank’s Bootleg Edit)
Spooky - Belong (Soundprank's Bootleg Edit)
Earning more than one spot on the list, including #1, we have Canadian prodigy Colin Fischer, whose career soared high after the release of his version of Belong by Spooky under his Soundprank alias. Colin blew everyone’s mind with his bootleg of the progressive house classic–it was even featured in Anjunadeep:03. Its vocal samples and synths wrap themselves completely around your heartstrings in a way that is unique, yet familiar at the same time. Congratulations to Soundprank for his #1 spot.