Inspired by acid house and Detroit techno, trance coalesced with the opening of R&S Records in Ghent, Belgium and Harthouse/Eye Q Records in Frankfurt, Germany. R&S defined the sound early on with singles like "Energy Flash" by Joey Beltram, "The Ravesignal" by CJ Bolland, and others by Robert Leiner, Sun Electric, and Aphex Twin. Harthouse, begun in 1992 by Sven Väth with Heinz Roth & Matthias Hoffman, made the most impact on the sound of trance with Hardfloor's minimal epic "Hardtrance Acperience" and Väth's own "L'Esperanza," plus releases by Arpeggiators, Spicelab, and Barbarella. Artists like Väth, Bolland, Leiner, and many others made the transition to the full-length realm, though without much of an impact on the wider music world.
Despite a long nascent period when it appeared trance had disappeared, replaced by breakbeat dance (trip-hop and jungle), the style's increasing impact on Britain's dance scene finally crested in the late '90s. The classic German sound had changed somewhat though, and the term "progressive" trance gained favor to describe influences from the smoother end of house and Euro dance. By 1998, most of the country's best-known DJs — Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong, Tony De Vit, Danny Rampling, Sasha, Judge Jules — were playing trance in Britain's superclubs. Even America turned on to the sound (eventually), led by its own cast of excellent DJs, including Christopher Lawrence and Kimball Collins.