Here it is...Chillout Scene’s ten favorite chillout tracks. Just in time for Christmas! It’s been some time in the making as I’ve been listening to the chillout genre so long I already had a mental playlist and just had to write it all down. The tough part would have been trying to rank them, so I am avoiding that for now. I love all of these tracks and it would be so hard to single out a few to put on top. As you can see, I've also included videos and links to add to the massiveness!
Motorcycle- As the Rush Comes (chillout mix)
Ever since I first heard this version of the popular trance track I fell instantly in love with it. Whether it is the ghostly intro, the stunning emotional vocals by Jes Brieden, the stripped down simplicity of the middle section, or wall of sound spacey ending, it all just comes together perfectly.
Bent- I Remember Johnny
This track has a lot of random samples in the seemingly messy intro, but then begins to include some lovely ambient chords that lead into a nice groove with a catchy electronic melody on the keys.
Boards of Canada- Julie and Candy
This track has an awesome groove with amazing multitudes of sounds going on in the background. It seems to continually build and build upon itself to a feeling of near-paranoia, but retains its downtempo nature and provides a beautiful ambient atmosphere for chillin’.
Zero 7- Destiny
In my opinion this is this quintessential chillout track. Sia Furler’s vocals grab you and bring you in and are not overpowering. The acoustic guitar part blends perfectly with the light drum. The mix on the backing vocals is perfect. You can hear the different chords which produces almost an off key sound, but it is wonderfully uplifting. The end of the song meanders a bit, but it makes you feel as though you’re floating back down to earth as Sia sings “I’ll fly home...”
St Germain- Sure Thing
“That aint right....” It aint right when a chill track is as good as this one.
St Germain always provides a perfect balance of electronica and jazz elements on his tracks. This one focuses more on the guitar than brass instruments.
Static Revenger- Happy People (Chill Mix)
An ambient intro leads nicely into a descending buzzing sound that is likened to sliding down a slide into a nice warm pool or pond. Has a catchy repeating It is the perfect summer chill track. Try listening to this one with the windows down while you’re driving- it provides almost a soundtrack to your life as you drive and sets the summer chill mood just right!
Neon Heights- 16 Again
This one is also a great summertime listen as it features the lyrics “so fine in the sunshine”. If I had to compare it to another song I’d definitely say the offbeat, almost reggae-like rhythm reminds me a bit of “This Must Be the Place” by the Talking Heads (made famous by its appearance in the Wall Street motion picture soundtrack). The light guitar part is a perfect compliment for the moderate pace of the song. It also helps aid the warm feeling the song produces.
Massive Attack- Teardrop
This track seems to appear everywhere (it is famously featured on the intro to the television show “House”). The bass-filled, pulsating intro is joined by beautiful acoustic guitar work. Massive Attack has produced dozens of beautiful chillout tracks, however, this is not only is their most famous work, it is also their best. Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins provides a delicately beautiful voice to the track as well. Jose Gonzalez covered this track nicely as well, but new ground was broken when Massive Attack released this winner in 1998.
(official video HERE)
Nightmares on Wax- Les Nuits
Love everything about this track! From the beautiful strings featured throughout to the relaxed and catchy bassline, everything on this track just “clicks.” It’s a great laid back track by the pioneers of chill. Gotta love the sound of rain in the outtro just reminding you that staying in for the night to chill is a good idea from time to time.
The Egg- Venice Beach
This track is another great warm weather one (hence the title). It reminds me a little of "My Only Sin" by Deep Dish and Richard Morel in that provides a large wall of sound throughout the song. Moby has also added a lot of organ and synth to his tracks to create that similar grand sound. However this one has a break in the middle section is more relaxed and includes a light harmonica melody. I also really like the snare rim taps to keep the drum part light. Definitely gives the listener the feeling of being on a beach or at a pool dipping their toes into the water.
I received some suggestions after asking for Twitter users' favorite chill tracks.
Here are those-
Air - La Femme D'Argent
Cinematic Orchestra - Burnout
Fever Ray - Coconut
Groove Armada - From the Rooftops
Massive Attack - Black Milk
Zero 7 - Likufanele
Solar Quest- Singtree
Massive Attack - Karmacoma
Of course I could probably do a top 20, 50, or 100 favorite chillout tracks post, but I thought this was a good sample of what I like in the chillout genre. I also think that these are pretty mainstream chillout tracks and I did that on purpose. My next massive blog post will be my ten favorite more obscure tracks. In the meantime, enjoy these videos and links, happy holidays, and keep chillin'.