Chill out music

Chill out music

Infobox Music genre
name=Chill out
stylistic_origins=Intelligent drum and bass, Ambient, house music, Electronica, Balearic beat
fusiongenres = downtempo, trip hop, Ambient house, flamenco chill
cultural_origins=Mid-1990s, UK, Europe, Ibiza, San Francisco, South America
instruments= Various software synthesizers, loops

Chill out (sometimes also chillout, chill-out, or simply chill), a term derived from a slang injunction to relax, emerged in the early and mid-1990s as a catch-all term for various styles of relatively mellow, slow-tempo music made by contemporary producers in the electronic music scene. The genres associated with chill-out are mostly Ambient, Trip-hop, Nu jazz, Ambient House, Ambient Trance, New Age and other sub-genres of Downtempo - a major branch of electronic music. Sometimes the Easy Listening sub-genre Lounge is considered to belong to the chill-out collection as well.

The term "Chill out music", as well as the genre itself, originated in chill rooms that were set up by DJs off to the edge of club dance floors to give patrons a chance to take a break from the hectic dance vibe and chill out with this style of music. Chill out as a musical genre or descriptive is synonymous with the more recently popularized terms "smooth electronica" and "soft techno" and is a loose genre of music blurring into several other very distinct styles of electronic and lo-fi music.


The earliest mentioned 'chill out room' was at the legendary Madchester nightspot, Konspiracy [The Chillout Room at the Konspiracy nightclub was mentioned by journalist James Style, in his review of the Madchester scene, for The Independent, May 23 1990.] . In these rooms, visitors would find couches, comfortable pillows, psychedelic light shows projecting trippy images and music that was decidedly downtempo, especially when compared to what was going on a few feet away on the dance floor. Its history began in the UK, with new wave band The Durutti Column being an abstract influence on the genre in the '80s. Higher Intelligence Agency (the HIA) helped move the chill room concept from sideshow to main event with their Oscillate chill party events in Birmingham and elsewhere in the early to mid nineties. Their first releases came out on the now defunct Beyond record label and soon thereafter in the U.S. on the Waveform label - who describes the music as 'exotic electronica.'

A number of compilations with "Chill Out" in their titles were released in the mid-1990s and beyond, helping to establish the genre as being very closely related to downtempo and trip hop but also incorporating, especially in the early 2000s, slower varieties of house music, nu-jazz, psybient, and lounge music. The genre also includes some forms of trance music, ambient music, and IDM, and it has entirely subsumed the older genre Balearic Beat, although that term is still used interchangeably with chill out. Chill out is generally tonal, relaxing (or at least not as "intense" as other music from the styles it draws from), although when used to describe the music played in chillout rooms at raves, it can also encompass extremely psychedelic experimental sounds of great variety.

Chill-room club culture

An entire culture surrounding chill out music has evolved, with many fashionable bars and clubs, designed with a retro or retro-futuristic ambience, devoted to the genre. Ministry of Sound in London has hosted many chill out events in places such as Ibiza and there are hundreds of mix compilation titles including the words "chill out" or just "chill" that cater for the chill out audience. As of 2005 "chill out" is recognized by all major UK dance magazines and their charts. Ministry of Sound released an album in 2008 named "Chilled", they described the songs in the album "the best chill out songs from 1991 to 2008

Chill out rooms at dance clubs fill a safety need for users of Ecstasy, which has had problems and deaths due to dehydration or heat stroke. In 1992 a UK rule required dance clubs to provide free water and chill out rooms in response to a number of Ecstasy-related injuries and deaths [ Foster, Jonathan. "Free water rule to raise safety at rave clubs", The Independent (London), December 16, 1992, Page 5 ] .

Notable artists

Although chill out is an emerging - however loose - genre of music, it is quite robust and features many prolific artists. Throughout the 1990s and the current decade, there have been many artists who have made a significant impact on what has come to be known as "chill out music" today. Among the most notable of those artists and projects are (in no order of precedence): Air, Fila Brazillia, Portishead, Afterlife, Massive Attack, De-Phazz, Chris Coco, Zero 7, Jens Gad (former co-producer of Enigma), Kruder & Dorfmeister, dZihan & Kamien, Thievery Corporation, Sven Van Hees, Lemongrass, Tosca, Monte La Rue, Nightmares on Wax, The Dining Rooms, Bluetech, Sounds from the Ground, Jens Buchert, A Man Called Adam, Electric Skychurch, Mystical Sun, Single Cell Orchestra, Alex Cortiz, Boards of Canada, William Orbit, Groove Armada, Leftfield, Lenny Ibizarre, Timonkey, Banco de Gaia, and Lemon Jelly.

A few highly notable DJs that specialize in chill out and have achieved world celebrity are: José Padilla, Chris Coco, Pete Lawrence, Alex Paterson, Unity Dub, and Mixmaster Morris, who is also known for having released "Global Chillage" and also records under the pseudonym The Irresistible Force.

Some of the labels with the most important rosters of chill out artists and largest catalogs of releases and compilations are (also in no order of precedence): Life Enhancing Audio, ESL Music, Instinct Records, Café del Mar, United Recordings, Water Music, Pork Recordings, Muti Music, Ninja Tune, Mole Listening Pearls, Six Degrees Records, Waveform, Compost Records, Interchill, Cyberset Music, Liquid Sound Design, and Ultimae.

Among the most popular and influential of globally-available radio stations and programs are Groovera, Groove Salad (Soma FM), and Musical Starstreams.

The chill out genre's increased following was noticed by the Ministry of Sound, a record label which specializes in dance music, which then began to produce a series of albums called The Chillout Sessions.


High-turnout festivals and events include The Big Chill, Sundaze, and Shambhala. The Big Chill festival, established by Pete Lawrence, is a large annual event catering for chilled out clubbers and families in Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire with resident acts including Gilles Peterson and Norman Jay. Sziget Festival in Budapest also has a large chillout area.


See also

* Ambient
* Downtempo
* Groovera
* Illbient
* Psybient
* Trip hop

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chill-out music — chill out redirects here. For other uses, see chill out (disambiguation). Chill out Stylistic origins Ambient, electronica, New Age Cultural origins Early 1990s, Europe. Typical instruments Various software synthesizers, loops …   Wikipedia

  • Chill out music — Chill out Dans les rave parties ou dans les free parties, le chill out désigne un espace ou une salle aménagée pour permettre aux participants de se reposer avant de repartir sur les dancefloors. Généralement pourvu de sièges, voire de matelas,… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Chill out — Orígenes musicales New age Ambient Lounge Dub Trip hop World music Quiet storm Orígenes culturales Europa Principios de los años 90 s …   Wikipedia Español

  • Chill out (disambiguation) — Chill out may mean: Chill out music, a laid back style of music Chill Out, an album by KLF Chill Out (Black Uhuru album) Chill Out, an album by John Lee Hooker See also Chilling effect (disambiguation) Chilled 1991 2008 …   Wikipedia

  • chill-out — ADJ: ADJ n Chill out places or things are intended to help you relax. [BRIT, INFORMAL] He shuffled off to one of the chill out rooms to collect his thoughts. ...some summer chill out music …   English dictionary

  • Chill Out — Studioalbum von The KLF Veröffentlichung Februar 1990 Label KLF Communications Format …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chill Out Zone (album) — Chill Out Zone Studio album by Wiley Released July 12, 2011 …   Wikipedia

  • Chill Out (Black Uhuru album) — Chill Out Studio album by Black Uhuru Released December 1982 Genre …   Wikipedia

  • Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! — Directed by Joe Sichta Written by Adam Scheinman Joe Sichta …   Wikipedia

  • chill-out — chillˈ out noun (informal) A period of relaxation adjective (esp of music) suitable for relaxation • • • Main Entry: ↑chill …   Useful english dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.