Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Gabriel and Dresden in Des Moines!



I was shocked when I checked my Bandsintown app to find out that vaunted house DJ’s Gabriel and Dresden were coming to my fair city of Des Moines. They played at a smaller venue called Lime Lounge (now The Nightingale) and only 100 tickets were sold for the event. The duo were playing a very limited number of events around the country this fall so I feel very fortunate they chose our fair city to play a show.

I talked to a few people during the set and most were fellow EDM/trance fans who were elated that G&D decided to come play this little room when they could sell out huge venues in Vegas or Miami or play festival sets. It was a very cold night but inside the quaint Lime Lounge it was warm and I could hear the thumping of the bass as I approached. Since there were only 100 tickets sold, the venue was not jam packed so it was easy to get a drink and then get back to the dance floor quickly. The venue itself was a nice place to dance and listen to some awesome trance music, yet it still had enough room to lounge in VIP areas on the side of the stage or stay off the dance floor and hang by tables in the bar area.

They promised to play “classics only” and did they ever! Of course they played their biggest hit (as Motorcycle) “As The Rush Comes.” Everyone seemed to be singing along with that one. They also played the very popular trance hit “Without You Near” as well as the more poppy “Tracking Treasure Down.”  Two remixes hit the mark for me which were the Killers’ “Read my Mind” and Sia’s “Breathe Me.” A video of the “Breathe Me” remix is below. I hadn’t heard either of those tracks before and just loved them!


It was possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity to see these guys in such a intimate setting and if you ever get the chance to see them in a small room I highly recommend you go as well!

Keep chillin’


 (Reposted from February 21, 2017)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mr Scruff

During my chillout sessions or sometimes during a workout I’ll check out Pandora radio to help aid my search for the chillin’ tracks. On my David Holmes (a Chillout Scene favorite) station, I encountered some great tracks by Mr Scruff.

Mr Scruff (real name Andy Carthy) uses a lot of piano, jazz, and soulful vocal samples in his tracks. He ends up creating a great retro sound very similar to David Holmes' which is again why I was drawn to his music.

I sampled a few tracks from his MySpace page most of which were taken from his latest album "Ninja Tuna" (an awesome name, by the way).

"Music Takes Me Up" features a groovin' melody provided by piano/keys and great vocal work by Alice Russell.

"Kalimba" sounds like it would fit right in on the Ocean's 12 soundtrack. This upbeat track really gets you moving with a fantastic disco-like string melody and a rich bass line. The congas and percussion are what made me think immediately of David Holmes work on the O12 soundtrack. The frenetic pace of the track also brings the listener to a world of high class criminals out on another job and on the run. Maybe not the best track to relax to, but it's quite enjoyable and would be a great one for getting ready to go out on the town.

"Donkey Ride" which features Quantic has a wonderful piano part at the beginning which then moves to a groovy piano/key alternating melody. This track also features a bossa-like feel and gets pretty crazy at the end with a lot of vocals, piano, and everything else coming together but then slowly fades out to end the song. I think this one is a very eclectic track, but after a few listens the groove really took over and I appreciated it that much more.

"Champion Nibble" is another high energy track that features some funky guitar and and a smokin' sax melody. I also loved the organ/synth part towards the end!

"Get a Move On" was featured on Ultra Chilled 05. I immediately loved the vocal samples and 40's sounding "big band" wind instrumental melody. It's a nice, medium paced track with a steady beat and again really captures the retro sound that Mr Scruff excels with invoking in his music.

Mr Scruff even has his own brand of teas you can drink while chillin’ out. Check out his tea company at www.makeusabrew.com.

I really enjoy Mr Scruff's work and will be picking up "Ninja Tuna" very soon to enjoy over and over. You should too if you enjoy the rich, retro-sounding tracks as much as I did!

Keep chillin'





Monday, March 1, 2010

The Candlepark Stars

Before I started this blog, I mainly listened to the electronic style of chillout tracks I first discovered on the Ultra or Ministry of Sound compilations. Since then, I have used a variety of methods for discovering new styles of "chillout" music. One of those "new" styles of music I discovered was post-rock and one of the bands in that genre to immediately catch my attention was "The Candlepark Stars." This band from Austin, Texas plays beautiful post-rock music and is perfect music for chillin' out to.

Now, what is post-rock? I think the best way to describe it is ambient music played with rock instruments rather than the typical electronic fare. Sigur Rios might be the most well known band in the genre and had some awe inspiring work on the Vanilla Sky soundtrack. I could probably dedicate an entire post to all of the different bands I've found in the genre, however, I chose these guys because they participate in social media very well. Every time I've communicated with them on Twitter or Facebook, they've responded in kind.

Their latest album is called "Shimmer and Gold" and they feature a few of these tracks on MySpace and Last.Fm.

"All the Stars in the Sky" is an amazing nine minute work which I believe is their best (out of many great tracks I've heard). It begins slowly with a soft intro alternating between guitar picking and a simple guitar melody and builds and builds to feature striking piano chords which then wilt away into a delightfully mellow ending. This was also the first track I had ever heard by the group and it made me think it could be in the closing credits of a film featuring a love story.

"You are Beautiful and Amazing" is a fitting track for this album since it pretty much describes the feel of the whole thing! There is an almost ghostly keyboard intro which makes random appearances throughout. This track has a great guitar melody that seems to almost sing a vocal part. The warm piano accompaniment drives us to an almost abrupt ending. This was unique because they do a lot of outtros that slowly fade out, so it was a bit of a surprise, albeit a pleasant one.

"Los Angeles" stuck out to me not only because I used to live in the area so I was curious as to what it sounded like, but also because of the beautiful high note melody on the guitar. This one made me think of driving the PCH with the sun setting behind the Pacific Ocean creating a magnificent orange sky. Since it also is the closing track, it also puts a nice "sunset" on the album to perhaps move on to listening to another album of theirs, the EP "Very Big Sky."

Their sound definitely creates a plethora of feelings and different imagery when listening. At one moment I was on the verge of tears and the next I was enjoying myself just thinking about how great life is. Now if it just would warm up here in the midwest, I could go outside and enjoy their music under the stars.

Check them out on their website at www.candleparkstars.com or on iTunes!

Keep chillin'



Monday, February 15, 2010

Gold Lounge - Michele Effe

Facebook provided me with the opportunity to be friends with chillout artist Michele Effe. I'm glad to help promote any artist that I think has produced great chillout music and Michele is no exception. Gold Lounge is the name of his latest project and I had a chance to check out some selections from his music on his website (www.goldloungemusic.com) and MySpace pages. His latest releases are EP's- "Earth Breathe" and "Liquid Sun."

Liquid Sun (check out video HERE) is a great ambient track. It features a bit of a dark intro featuring bass hits but begins to build nicely into a beautiful ambient track. Once the song reached it's apex, the listener is treated to a massive wall of sound produced with guitar and synth chords. Just gorgeous!

"Only a Dream" is a beautiful downtempo trance-like track. The intro is very eerie; as if the listener is drifting off to sleep and beginning their dream. A simple melody continues the dream-like state with a ghostly female voice saying "Only a Dream" A great piano part joins in during the middle of the track producing a bit of urgency and emotion. The outtro features a bit of a funky guitar part as the listener perhaps awakes realizing this great track was only but a dream.

I loved the drum track on "Close Your Eyes." It's still downtempo, but keeps a nice pace and continues to drive the track forward. I should say, however, I loved everything about this track. I immediately obeyed the sexy female voice whispering, "Close Your Eyes" and just chilled out this track. The melody is pretty simple with some two or three notes guiding the rest of the song along with strings and perhaps a lute sound in the background. The sound of strings really added to the large sound that is common in a lot of his songs.

Michele seems to favor tracks that slowly build and then produce waves of sounds on top of each other to then crash upon the listener. On his MySpace page, he mentions his sound is similar to Zero 7, Thievery Corporation, Boards of Canada, or Boozo Bajou. I think the heavy use of keyboard/computer and the arrangement of his songs are quite similar to Ulrich Schnauss. This is a good thing!

I think Michele really knows what a great chillout track is made of and he uses all of those elements in his music, which makes it truly enjoyable to listen to. I highly recommend listening to Gold Lounge!

Thanks for your friendship, Michele.

Keep chillin'



Monday, January 18, 2010

Lovespirals- Future Past

Recently I sat down and chilled out to "Future Past" by Lovespirals. Anji Bee at the Chillcast (mentioned previously here at ChilloutScene.com) and also the wonderfully awesome voice of Lovespirals hooked me up with a copy of their latest album for review. I must say it is a delightfully chill album.

Lovespirals features Ryan Lum on drums, keyboard, as well as guitar and the previously mentioned Anji Bee providing her heavenly vocals. This is their 4th full-length album and the first one I've heard all the way through. After giving this one a turn, however, I really want to hear more of their previous work!

Here's a breakdown of some of my favorite tracks-

The first track "Home" has a great minimalistic sound to it. It has a wonderful Zero 7-like feel, especially in the tone Ryan selected for the keys as well as the accompanying acoustic guitar chords and synth effects in the background. It features a great solo on the keys as well. Anji's layered vox add the frosting to this delicious cupcake of a track.

"Love" is a more uptempo house track. It's still on the lighter side, but it's proof that Lovespirals can do more than just slow stuff. Ryan's guitar work on this track starts a trend of fabulously bluesy riffs and compliment this track nicely. It's featured mostly as an accompaniment throughout the song but the solo towards the end really had me hooked!

"Meanwhile, Irreplaceable Time Flees" is a sultry instrumental track towards the end of the album. The ambient track includes some bluesy guitar by Ryan again. I thought it was a very similar style to Eric Clapton's work on the original Lethal Weapon soundtrack. SO good. This track leads nicely into the next one- "Insignificant." Anji's layered vocals are very well done on this track and help continue the sexy/bluesy vibe started by "Meanwhile..." The off beat drums create a bit more complicated beat but it works very nicely with the rest of the music.

Finally, I really enjoyed the ballad "Sinking" which references the troubles in life and that they can't be that bad compared to people living in poverty. From the sound of ocean waves at the beginning to the soulful organ sound on the keys, this track creates another great bluesy track. Ryan's smokin' guitar playing continues to amaze me on this one as well.

Overall, I really like Lovespirals' sound on this album, especially since it is similar to one of my favorite chillout artists, Zero 7. I think Ryan's bluesy guitar playing is what makes them unique and makes them even more interesting than Zero 7 since they don't just stick to acoustic guitar parts and electronic drum and bass tracks. Anji's vocals also set Lovespirals apart from other artists as even the quieter parts are nice and smooth, rather than whispery. She makes her voice appear so delicate that it could fade away if any quieter, but it remains nice, smooth, and chill.

Check out Future Past right away HERE....I highly recommend it!

Keep chillin'


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Massive Blog Post!! Our favorite chillout tracks!!

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


Prem Joshua- Cosmo-Bali-tan

Solar Quest- Singtree

Psyrok =

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'.



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why don't you know Nobody?

I ran across another awesome chillout artist a couple of weeks ago on Sirius XM Chill. Saw a track called The Coast is Clear (For Fireworks) off of Nobody's (aka "DJ Nobody" aka Elvin Estrela- great bio/interview with him HERE.) album- "And Everything Else." The track has a great groove with a hypnotic accompanying electric guitar melody, done with minimal instrumentation. The pulsating bass and sound of a crowd clapping along are added in towards the end of the track and give the listener the feel of attending a live performance.

Based off of my fondness for this track, I ordered "And Everything Else" and one of his other albums from Amazon- "Pacific Drift- Western Water Music Vol. 1"

The only thing I did not like about "And Everything Else" was that it was as advertised. What I mean is, the album title concedes it is going to be a hodgepodge of different tracks DJ Nobody produced that just didn't fit with his other albums. Case in point the abstract "Poor Angular Fellow."

The first track "The Coast is Clear..." was the highlight for me. "What is the Light" was the second track and had a Moby-like feel to it. I'm not sure if it was the large sound with the choral background vocals (reminiscent of "Why Does My Heart Feel so Bad") or the male vocalist's monotone delivery. The organ part on the keys adds to that big sound and provides a great outtro.

I also enjoyed "Wake Up and Smell the Millennium" which is an uptempo track with a catchy harpsichord melody done on the keys. Sounded a lot like a David Holmes (one of my favorite electronic artists) work with the retro-sounding drum track. "Siesta Con Susana" is a beautiful stripped down track with beautiful guitar work which brought images of laying on a beach watching the sunset.

"You Can Know Her" has a very chill hip-hop groove to it with some nice acoustic guitar and a beautiful female vocal part.

I highly recommend checking out all of Nobody's albums. His sound is unique and you will have to listen multiple times to take in all of the wonderful sounds. I've also given "Pacific Drift.." a couple of listens and will review that soon.

Off topic- My blog on my top ten favorite chillout tracks is still in the works but almost done. I promise to get it out before the end of the year!

Happy Holidays from ChilloutScene.com and in the meantime, keep chillin'.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Where do we find the chillin' tracks??

Today I saw @UBLF 's blog post about Twitter accounts to follow to find chillout/downtempo music and I thought I would do a quick post on where I find some great chillout tracks.

When I am doing stuff around the house I usually have Sirius/XM Chill on my TV/stereo system (channel 857 on DirecTV). They have a strong mix of different artists (popular and obscure) and various types of downtempo/chill, but it is usually always perfect for chillin'.

I get a lot of suggestions from Blip.fm (see our Blip playlist HERE) off of other people's "Blips." I previously blogged about Blip here at ChilloutScene.com. I love hearing what misoc other people like to chillout to and hear their playlists. It's also great to get feedback on our playlist and Blips too. Good to know what works and what doesn't!

Pandora.com has been my favorite for listening at work. Works great on the Iphone app on my phone and I can listen to thousands of different artists/tracks/genres/etc. Some of my favorite "channels" are- David Holmes (from Ocean's 11 soundtrack fame) radio, Sure Thing (by St Germain) radio, Air radio, and In the Waiting Line (from Zero 7) radio.
The best part about Pandora is you can input a track, artist, or album and it will play tons of similar music for you. I LOVE it!!

I also listen to Last.Fm, which is a great compliment to Pandora, but I prefer the Pandora app's ease of use and deeper track selections.

Of course MySpace has given us a lot of great friend suggestions and free listens to all sorts of chillout tracks. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention them. Check us out there at myspace.com/chilloutscene. I really think MySpace has some great things to offer musicians; especially indie acts that are just coming on to the scene.

A couple blogs I like are of course UBLF, Bedtime Tunes where you can listen to some downtempo tracks while drifting off to sleep, and of course my favorite Lakers fan Anji Bee at the Chillcast. Anji always has some great tracks to chill to on her podcast. Also check out her work at www.lovespirals.com.

That's just a sample...feel free to post your favorite websites to find chill tracks in the comments area below.

Keep chillin'


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Boy is Fiction

Thank goodness for Last.fm! I was listening to my "Arms and Sleepers" (previously blogged about artist here at Chillout Scene) radio station and came across "If You Hear Me Fall" by Australian artist Boy Is Fiction.

If You Hear Me Fall begins with a spacey intro and a great driving beat. It is more of an ambient track that has random high hat hits and offsetting piano chords that build into a beautiful melody. It is blissfully hypnotic and perfect for chillin'. Later in the track, some more synth chords start to build to a magnificent crescendo.

"Should Have Stopped" begins almost as a soundtrack to a final scene in a film with a heart wrenching ending. Then an eclectic beat begins and it takes off into a downtempo almost trance-like track.

There are so many interesting sounds in this music, you have to listen to each track multiple times to hear them all. The artist (not sure if it's one person or multiple) uses a lot of chime sounds for melodies, kind of like Ulrich Schnauss.

I'm making this a short post as I'm heading out of town tomorrow but I would really love to hear more from this great chillout artist! Check out Boy is Fiction on MySpace or LastFM to hear some great chillout tracks!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thunderball is icy hot!

Was listening to one of my chillout stations on Last.fm and came across a great track by Thunderball named "On the Sly" from their "Scorpion Rising" album.

Checking out their Myspace page, it seems like they enjoy putting some great bossa themes in their music. Just the name Thunderball conjures up images of James Bond and the 1965 classic movie and this music is a great replica of the music from that time.

If this music were for a spy film soundtrack, "On the Sly" would be the moment where the superspy has his encounter with a sexy adversary. The track is built around two echoing synth melodies with some bluesy electric guitar mixed in. It vaguely reminded me a bit of the Lethal Weapon soundtrack when I heard this one.

"Chicachiquita" featuring Miss Johnna is a light bossa-flavored track with a great groove and features a jazz flute intertwined with some electronic sounds and a soft guitar in the background.

"Thunder in the Jungle" begins with the sound of a driving storm broken in by some funky guitar and scathing trumpet hits. These guys specialize in chillin', in my opinion, but this is a great upbeat dance track.

"The Road to Benares" was the first one to play on their MySpace page for me and immediately reminded me of David Holmes' work on Ocean's Twelve. It has a great percussive beat with middle eastern sitar and other strings throughout. Again it brought to mind the spy movie where our hero descends upon Morocco to chase the world-class criminal.

If you're looking for some great atmospheric chillout music, check out the cinescapes of Thunderball!

Keep chillin'


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beautiful Randomness = Boomclick

Beautiful Randomness

While chillin on a lunch break the other day a track by Boomclick came on my random chillout playlist on iTunes.

@ Jamm, Brixton

Stone Tape (found on Chillout Sessions- Volume 5) has a great intro with synth keys and the static-y sound of presumably a radio searching for a station. It periodically finds a station and you briefly hear a man’s voice. There is some great sounding guitar and strings interspersed within the track to go along with a bossa nova sort of beat. It’s a great track and I could listen to it on repeat all night. The keys at one point sound very similar to Zero 7’s chord progressions, but it could just be a fortunate coincidence.

After researching a bit more about the band, I found a video for their track “High Tide.” It's a a lighter track with a medium paced beat and accompanied by Rosa Fernandez' beautiful light vocals. The video really stands out though. It appears to be a really tall man walking down the street and people smiling at him (into the high camera's point of view). At the end, the camera finally shows the man and also his son that has been sitting on his shoulders the whole time. So cute!

Sometimes- The most played track on Boomclick Soundsystem's MySpace page seemed very similar to Portishead’s darker style. The ghostly synth tones are backed by snare drum rim taps. It evolves into a more complex track with more electronic sounds added as it moves along. Fernandez’ vocals are stripped down and then are added to as the song progresses. What a beautiful voice she has!

I definitely recommend checking them out!

Boomclick is:


Paul Burnley

Sam Johnson

Rui Teimao


Rosa Fernandez- on myspace- www.myspace.com/rosavox

Boomclick Soundsystem is a project of Rui and Rosa and are on myspace at- http://www.myspace.com/boomclicksoundsystem

Keep Chillin'


Gabriel and Dresden in Des Moines!

    I was shocked when I checked my Bandsintown app to find out that vaunted house DJ’s Gabriel and Dresden were coming to my fair city ...