Chill-out music

Chill-out music
Chill out
Stylistic origins Ambient, electronica, New Age
Cultural origins Early-1990s, Europe.
Typical instruments Various software synthesizers, loops
Mainstream popularity Medium-High since 1990's
Fusion genres
Downtempo, trip hop, ambient house, chillwave

Chill out music (sometimes also chillout, chill-out, or simply chill) is an umbrella term for several styles of electronic music characterized by their mellow style and mid-tempo beats — "chill" being derived from a slang injunction to "relax."

Chill out music emerged in the early and mid-1990s in "chill rooms" at dance clubs, where relaxing music was played to allow dancers a chance to "chill out" from the more emphatic and fast-tempo music played on the main dance floor.

The genres associated with chill-out are mostly ambient, trip-hop, nu jazz, ambient house, New Age and other sub-genres of downtempo. Sometimes the easy listening sub-genre lounge is considered to belong to the chill-out collection as well. Chill out as a musical genre or description 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.



Renowned sunset at the Café del Mar in Ibiza

The earliest mentioned 'chill out room' was at the legendary Madchester nightspot, Konspiracy.[1] In these rooms, visitors would find couches, comfortable pillows, psychedelic light shows projecting entrancing 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 post-punk 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.'

In 1990 the KLF released their seminal ambient house album named Chill Out.

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 tempo varieties of house music, nu-jazz, psybient, and lounge music of approximately 80 to 110bpm . 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.[2]

Notable artists

A few notable DJs that specialize in chill out and have achieved popularity are: Chicane, Roger Shah, Blank & Jones, Ryan Farish, José Padilla, Chris Coco, Pete Lawrence, Alex Paterson, Björk, Nujabes (Jun Seba) and Mixmaster Morris.

Some of the labels with the most important rosters of chill out artists and DJs, and largest catalogs of releases and compilations are (also in no order of precedence): ESL Music, G-Stone Recordings, !K7, Instinct Records, Hearts of Space, Café del Mar, Water Music, Pork Recordings, Ninja Tune, Mole Listening Pearls, Six Degrees Records, Beyond Records, Waveform, Compost Records, and Ultimae.[citation needed] 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.


Mandala Meditation Music By Ney Angelis

Fly Away With Me by Alien Tribe shows an example of Chill with the use of vocals and a cascading style rhythm structure

See also


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Foster, Jonathan. "Free water rule to raise safety at rave clubs", The Independent (London), December 16, 1992, Page 5 [1]

External links

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