Good progressive house is sometimes like a smooth road- when the quality is good, the journey is so smooth that you don’t even think about it. And that’s the approach taken on the “Collage” EP, a collection of three original tracks and two remixes, all of them steady seven-minute-ish instrumental progressive tracks full of the usual ingredients- steady soft kicks, even softer single-note synthbass, gentle melody loops, slow risers and so on. It’s a familiar set-up, but in this genre that’s not a bad thing.
“The Blacksmith” uses a spoken single-word sample in lieu of a cymbal sound to good success. The title track “Collage” has just a hint more purposefulness to it, and ominousness in the bass, but is still ultimately rather sweet. The track already has such a classic Bedrock feel to it that it seems something of a no-brainer to draft in the legendary Nick Muir for a remix of it, but it’s the Nick Muir mix that deviates from the tone the most, which isn’t saying much, thanks to rockier drums, a more driving, almost Moroder-ish synth line and a remarkably glam, almost over-the-top breakdown.
The unique detail in the fairly bubbly “Tahiche” is a slight off-step in the kick drum on the last bar of each phrase, which may sound tiny but in an EP defined by straight 4-4, it could qualify as the EP’s only surprise element. The Morttagua remix dwells more on the string pads and feels a little more cinematic.
The promo blurb for this release suggests that this is a genre mash-up mixing techno, trance, and deep house, and that’s not untrue, but it does it by sitting cross-legged and steady right in the middle of them, rather than crashing any of their more disparate sounds together. But if rock bands are allowed to stick to the boring guitars, bass and drums formula for so long, why shouldn’t progressive house get the same liberty? If high quality releases like this keep coming, then there’s absolutely no reason why not.