Chill-out music (sometimes also chillout, chill out or simply chill) is a genre of electronic music and 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 and other subgenres 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.
Monstercat has not assigned Chillout a color yet, making Chillout songs fall under grey. It is important to note that the genres below usually, but not always, go under Chillout for labeling purposes.
Commonly Referenced Subgenres:
- Ambient: a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. A form of slow instrumental music, it uses repetitive, but gentle, soothing sound patterns that can be described as sonic wallpaper to complement or alter one’s space and to generate a sense of calmness.
- Psybient: a genre of electronic music that uses elements from Psychedelic Trance (Psytrance) & Ambient, and, as the name implies, features an emphasis on psychedelic, dreamlike soundscapes. Syncopation is a mainstay, supported by effects such as phasers, flangers, filters and bolstered by gated rhythms. Examples:
- Downtempo: a genre of electronic music similar to ambient music, but with a greater emphasis on beats and a less "earthy" sound than trip hop.
- Trip Hop: a bass-heavy drumbeat, often providing the slowed down break beat samples similar to standard 1990's Hip Hop beats, giving the genre a more psychedelic and mainstream feel. Vocals in trip hop are often female and feature characteristics of various singing styles including R&B, jazz and rock. Ethereal soundscapes built upon hip-work breakbeat drum frameworks. Relatively broad in mood, ranging from sounds you'd hear in a coffe shop, with jazz / swing influences to compositions in very deep, bassy settings. Delay and reverb are effects used very liberally to achieve profound and immersive sonic creations. Vocal & synth pads are used as supporting elements to build ambience. An emphasis on groove, with syncopated / swung rhythms, is to be expected. Examples:
- Gramatik - "No Way Out"
- Lo-Fi (Hip Hop):