- Chill out music
Infobox Music genre
Intelligent drum and bass, Ambient, house music, Electronica, Balearic beat
downtempo, trip hop, Ambient house, flamenco chill
UK, Europe, Ibiza, San Francisco, South America
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 musicscene. The genres associated with chill-out are mostly Ambient, Trip-hop, Nu jazz, Ambient House, Ambient Trance, New Ageand other sub-genres of Downtempo- a major branch of electronic music. Sometimes the Easy Listeningsub-genre Loungeis 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
Madchesternightspot, Konspiracy [The Chillout Room at the Konspiracy nightclub was mentioned by journalist James Style, in his review of the Madchesterscene, 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 Columnbeing 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 Beyondrecord label and soon thereafter in the U.S. on the Waveformlabel - 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
downtempoand trip hopbut 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
retroor retro-futuristic ambience, devoted to the genre. Ministry of Soundin Londonhas hosted many chill out events in places such as Ibizaand 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 ] .
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, Herefordshirewith resident acts including Gilles Petersonand Norman Jay. Sziget Festivalin Budapestalso has a large chillout area.
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