The Top Progressive DJs

Progressive music is a style of experimental forms of rock, trance, and house music that emerged in the early 1990s. The sub genre developed in the UK naturally from American and European house music in the late 1980s. The term progressive refers more to structure than a genre in the way that the music builds up in layers, leading often to epic tracks. Progressive music is known to subvert genres and expand stylistic boundaries outward. It is an alternative type of music that deploys various forms of music beyond rock, despite it being the most significant, such as country, folk, and jazz.

Characteristics of Progressive Music

Some of the properties that are contained within progressive music, or prog, includes the following:

  • Longer sounds (known as epics)
  • Interesting time changes and odd signatures
  • Complicated yet sophisticated instruments and composition choices
  • Higher-level vocal range
  • Intricate conceptual ideas and intense lyrics
01
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Sasha

DJ turntables in a nightclub
Nisian Hughes/Iconica/Getty Images

Sasha is a Welsh DJ who has always been at the forefront of innovation in the DJ community, focusing on genres such as progressive house and trance. Sasha is also known by his birth name, Alexander Paul Coe, and his alternative name The Man Like.

Following his critically acclaimed Involver album, Sasha reinvented himself again with a custom-made Maven controller. Sasha completed a national tour showing off his new mixing power which launched the release of FundacionNYC on the label Global Underground, his first CD showcasing how he has reinvented himself, yet again.

02
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Hernan Cattaneo

Hernan Cattaneo, known as El Maestro, is a founding father of the underground house scene and has worked as a DJ for more than 30 years. With over 11 albums and 30 singles, Cattaneo has worked with the biggest names in the industry from Paul Oakenfold to John Digweed.

The only DJ with two Masters Series releases on British record label Renaissance Recordings, Argentinean native Hernan Cattaneo has steadily climbed up the progressive house DJ charts to number six. He has spun in places like Nashville "Music City USA" Tennessee all the way across the world to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

03
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John Digweed

John Digweed is an English DJ, record producer, and actor voted The World No 1 DJ in 2001. DJing at the age of 15, Digweed worked as a DJ on club nights in Hastings, England, the town where he was born. Digweed had many raves that led to his breakthrough in 1993 when famous DJ Sasha listened to his mixtape. Subsequently, they became friends and colleagues and developed a working relationship with each other.

Digweed has been actively DJing since 1989 under labels Bedrock Record and Global Underground Renaissance. His music has focused on progressive house and trance, tech house, and techno.

04
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Sander Kleinenberg

Sander Kleinenberg is a Dutch disc jockey, DJ, and record producer with over 20 years experience producing and mixing progressive house and electronic music. Kleinenberg founded and runs the labels Little Mountain Recordings and THIS IS Recordings. He got his start by DJing at local bars in the Netherlands in 1987 at the age of 15.

With his third release in the ever-growing and popular Everybody series, Sander Kleinenberg continues to annihilate dance floors from the Space terrace in Miami to his residency at Crobar New York. The brand Everybody focuses on a mix of disco, Detroit techno, and tech house music.

05
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Gabriel & Dresden

American DJs and producers Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden created the project Gabriel & Dresden in 2001. Collaborating since, Gabriel & Dresden snagged their seventh #1 Billboard Dance Chart Hit with La Ciccone's Britney Spears collaboration "Me Against the Music" and their own group Motorcycle, with vocalist Jes, with their track "As The Rush Comes In."

Focusing on progressive trance, electronica, and house music, Gabriel & Dresden have showcased their work at famous festivals like Coachella under labels like Organized Nature and Armada.

Between 2008 and 2010, Gabriel & Dresden had a temporary break to develop themselves individually as artists. After working on various album projects separately, they reunited for a special New Year's Eve celebration and then officially started performing at big clubs and festivals again, from Electric Daisy Carnival to Tomorrowland. 

06
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Ferry Corsten

Ferry Corsten is a Dutch DJ, record producer, and remixer also known as Gouryella, System F, Moonman, Pulp Victim, Albion, and more. He has created several pertinent trance tracks in the 1990s and 2000s under various aliases and has recently shifted to a wider electronic music style.

Corsten owns a weekly radio show and plays at events and festivals globally, and has been ranked on the Top 100 DJs Poll since 2004. He closed the progressive and trance lineup at the first South American Music Conference. His appearances in Buenos Aires have created quite a following, and the 7,000 people that packed into the arena were left with no doubt that the Dutchman will return.

07
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Darren Christian

Darren Christian has been working as a DJ since 1995 and received a break in 2001 when working on a lineup along side Tiesto and Paul Van Dyk in Glasgow. Christian has worked with MTV Europe for events like the Valkana Beach Festival in Croatia and has traveled to many dance floors around the world, from Japan to Egypt.

Spinning everywhere from Croatia to cruise ships, Darren Christian is building an international reputation for banging tech house and trance. Branching into production, his work has been championed by all the big-name DJs ensuring his "robotic magic dust" is spreading everywhere.

08
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James Zabiela

James Zabiela is a DJ and producer based in the UK. This British disc jockey was born in 1979 in Southampton and has mastered his signature style, a mixture of breakbeat and house music. Skilled in turntable techniques and use of loops and effects, Zabiela has made a name for himself.

Between his residency at Club Space in Ibiza and his gigs all over the world, James Zabiela is taking his unique mix of breaks and house to the people. His debut CD Sound in Motion on Hooj Choons was recorded live in one take, showcasing his exceptional mixing skills and tearing up Pioneer CDJ 1000s like Technics 1200 for the new millennium.

09
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Josh Wink

Josh Wink is an American electronic music DJ, label owner, producer, and remixer in Philadelphia. Wink was born in 1970 and has been a pioneer of the American rave scene since the 1990s in regard to techno and house music. His background in piano and clarinet led to his interest in DJing as a young teenager.

Wink eventually worked in nightclubs before joining the label Ovum Recordings. As many record labels are struggling to survive in this download economy, Josh Wink and Ovum records thrive by staying true to their musical vision. Integrity and diversity are two words that are not often used to describe dance music, but Wink accomplishes this.

10
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Steve Lawler

Steve Lawler is a house music producer and DJ from Birmingham, England. He has won DJ Awards five times and had residencies at popular dance clubs like Space, The End, and Twilo. Lawler is involved with record labels like VIVA Music, Ministry of Sound, and more.

Lawler has had discography in 2005 with Lights Out 3 on Global Underground. Since its first release in 1999, Global Underground has been the definitive source for dance music mix compilations from top international DJs. Not only have there been over 25 releases on Global Underground alone, there have also been many successful series such as Prototype, Nubreed, and 24:7.

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Your Citation
Slomowicz, DJ Ron. "The Top Progressive DJs." ThoughtCo, Sep. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/top-progressive-djs-1015123. Slomowicz, DJ Ron. (2017, September 3). The Top Progressive DJs. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-progressive-djs-1015123 Slomowicz, DJ Ron. "The Top Progressive DJs." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-progressive-djs-1015123 (accessed November 25, 2017).