Archive for March, 2013

Chill Out

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.

The earliest mentioned “chill out room” was at the legendary Madchester nightspot, Konspiracy.  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 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.

 

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Hard Trance

Hard trance is the natural progression of trance music merging gabber, techno and trance, and originated in Europe, mainly Belgium, Germany and Holland in the mid 1990s.

Hard trance is synonymous with hard and strong kicks with resonant bass ala gabber and usual trance synth riffs to give it the signature trance sound.  Melody is around 130-150 and is mainly instrumental as vocalisation of the songs gives it a more uplifting warmer sound.  It has since evolved and is now mainly a dead genre form, overtaken by genres such as Hardstyle and Jumpstyle.

Hard trance saw a lot of commercial success in the late 1990s with productions from the likes of Cosmic Gate and Technikal achieving commercial success with Hard trance.

 

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The Hardcore Genre – A General Overview

The Hardcore genre surprisingly has one of the broadest terms of all EDM.  There are dozens and dozens of sub-genres but they are incredibly varied.  The term hardcore usually means music that is darker and harder, but not necessarily faster.

Hardcore as a word (in relation to EDM) can trace its roots to Belgium.  A number of artists such as à;GRUMH… and later Leather Strip began to call their music hardcore techno.  The origins of the name are largely rooted in this scene, although hardcore also regularly incorporated elements of house into its sound.

In the early 1990s, the hardcore sound began to introduce sped up hip-hop breakbeats, piano breaks, dub and low frequency basslines and cartoon-like noises, which has been retrospectively called ‘old skool’ hardcore, and is widely regarded as the progenitor of happy hardcore (which later lost the breakbeats) and jungle (which alternatively lost the techno style keyboard stabs and piano breaks).  This is more or less down to the further development of the synthesizer and the very creative use of the Amen Break.

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