Spooky — Gargantuan. Brief story behind best progressive house album of the 90s

George Palladev

Spooky — Gargantuan. Brief story behind best progressive house album of the 90s

Charlie May and Duncan Forbes grew up and studied together, and when musical equipment became more or less available to everyone they started recording music together. In the UK at the beginning of the 90s, among the whole range of styles that appeared in the UK and abroad, the most prominent style was the one that would later be called progressive house, where one can feel the heritage of Italian house music, Jamaican dub and hypno trance from Germany. “As far as I can gather, progressive house means Guerilla Records,” said Paul Hartnoll from Orbital in 1992.

“It’s just a new name for genuine house, adds Phil Hartnoll. Like, many of the people who were making house music originally are people who are doing that style of music now. But because there’s nothing you can really describe as house now, suddenly it’s called progressive house.” Hartnolls knew what they talked about — they also participated in the creation of juicy house :)

William Orbit, the founder of the Guerilla label, had been collecting gifted people since 1990 and undermined traditions with new music like a guerilla fighter. He noticed Charlie and Duncan in a music shop (where else can a life-changing meeting occur? X-Factor?) Together they brought a nameless cassette (it seems that the participants themselves didn’t deny that the name of the band and the first single appeared spontaneously before it was printed. It’s likely that the same happened to the album) with the track that opened the album — the childish Don’t Panic with the influence of happy hardcore that hadn’t yet disappeared. But after this the magic begins — catchy melodies, cool arpeggios, bouncy funky bass, nice rhythms. Not like the overseas garage house — this was the general mood of the article by Dom Philips in Mixmag where the new genre was presented to the broad audience.

Gargantuan, with incoherent track names but strong music, is called the monument of early-90s progressive house for a reason. It’s an amazing album which sounds unbelievably fresh and spring-like even 25 years after — not bad for another cult record made in a bedroom.

Gargantuan became the only one progressive house album in band’s history. Shortly after it success Charlie May and Duncan Forbes thought to make something new and in 1996 released experimental IDM album Found sound. Zeitgeist. But in the late 90s Charlie May teamed up with progressive house icon — DJ Sasha. Charlie was a true author of Sasha’s Xpander. Just listen a Little bullet and you’ll understand why.

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