Do you need to take a break and chill out? If so, we’ve got just the thing for you. Our list of essential chill out tunes will transport you to a world of relaxed vibes and mellow beats. From ambient house to trip-hop, these tracks will help you unwind after a long day. So sit back, relax, and let the music carry you away!
Before we continue with these 10 essentials, I want to make sure that you know about my weekly mixed and hosted podcasts where you are able to find new music through from a wide spectrum in the electronic music scene.
Where did it start with the ‘Chill out’ music genre?
The origins of chill out can be traced back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, when club culture was really taking off in the UK. At that time, many clubs had “chill out areas” where people could go to relax and escape the frenetic pace of the dancefloor. This type of music was designed to create a relaxing atmosphere, and it quickly caught on with clubgoers.
What are some of the key artists and tracks associated with chill out music?
Brian Eno is often credited as being the pioneer of chill out music, thanks to his work in the ambient genre. Other key artists include St Germain, Aphex Twin, Massive Attack, Air, and Art Of Noise, but there are so many more and thousands of great from high quality chill out tracks written. But to keep it simple we dedicated this blog to 10 of the most essential chill out tunes to relax to. This is not a top 10 so these 10 chill out essentials are in random order, let’s go! And if you are looking for more music related essentials check out my mixes here.
St Germain – Sure Thing.
The first one in this list of 10 essential chill out tunes is def one of my favs and is easily recognized by many people that have less affection with electronic music than me, so it’s added value in music education at that time as well. St Germain is the stage name of Ludovic Navarre, a French musician born in 1969. Navarre chose the name “St Germain” because it evoked both the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district of Paris and Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll”.
Sure Thing was released as a single in 1995 and was an instant hit, becoming one of the most iconic chill out tunes of all time. The track features a sample of Nina Simone’s 1967 song “Ain’t Got No-I Got Life”, which gives it a smooth, soulful feel. If you’re looking for a chill out tune that will stand the test of time, look no further than Sure Thing.
Aphex Twin – Windowlicker.
This is one of the most well-known chill out tunes, and for good reason. It’s a beautifully strange track from one of the most innovative electronic musicians of all time, Aphex Twin (aka Richard D. James). Windowlicker was released as a single in 1999, and it quickly became a dancefloor favorite. The track is built around a sample of R&B singer George Clinton’s voice, which gives it a sexy, seductive feel. If you’re in the mood for something a little different, Windowlicker is the perfect chill out tune. Also the video clip made at that time is worth checking out as it was a very strange one for that period in time.
Massive Attack – Teardrop.
This is one of the most beautiful chill out tunes ever written, and it’s also one of the most iconic. Teardrop was released as a single by Massive Attack in 1998, and it quickly became an unlikely radio hit. The track features vocals by Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, who gives the song a haunting, ethereal quality. If you’re looking for a chill out tune that will stay with you long after the music has ended, Teardrop is a perfect choice.
Air – All I Need.
This is a gorgeous chill out tune from the French duo Air. All I Need was released as a single in 1998, and it quickly became a favorite of chill out DJs around the world. The track features the singing of Beth Hirsch, which gives it a warm, intimate feel. If you’re looking for a chill out tune that will make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud, All I Need is the perfect choice.
Nightmares On Wax – You Wish.
This is a classic chill out tune from the English producer George Evelyn that started under his alias Nightmares On Wax in 1988. Firstly as a duo together with Kevin Harper but George continued solo from 1994. You Wish was released in 1996, and it quickly became a favorite of lounge DJs worldwide. The track features a sample of Private Number, a song by Judy Clay and William Bell, which gives it a warm, soulful feel. If you’re looking for a chill out tune that will make you feel good all over, You Wish is the perfect choice.
Portishead – Roads.
This one can easily fit in the street of ‘Air – All I Need’. Roads is a beautiful chill out tune from the English band Portishead. The track was released as the second single from their debut album Dummy in 1995, and it quickly became a favorite of chill out DJs around the world. The track features Beth Gibbons on lead vocals, which gives it a warm, intimate feel. If you’re looking for a chill out tune that will make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud, Roads is the perfect choice.
Groove Armada – My Friend.
Undoubtedly one of the most well known mainstream chill out tunes out there. Often remixed and edited by various artists through the years. This track was the second single from English electronic music duo Groove Armada’s album released in 2001 Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub). The original features vocals by Richie Havens, which gives it a warm, intimate feel. If you’re looking for a chill out tune that will make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud, My Friend is a good choice.
Yonderboi – Riders On The Storm.
This is a beautiful chill out tune from the Hungarian producer Yonderboi (aka László Fogarasi Jr). Riders On The Storm was released in 2000, and it quickly became a favorite of lounge DJs worldwide. The track features a sample of The Doors’ classic song Riders On The Storm, which gives it a dark, atmospheric feel. If you’re looking for a chill out tune that will make you feel like you’re in another world, Riders On The Storm is for you.
Moby – Porcelain.
This is a gorgeous chill out tune from American electronic musician Moby. Porcelain was released as a single in 2000. The track features Moby his own vocals, which gives it a warm, intimate feel. If you’re looking for a chill out tune that will make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud, Porcelain is the perfect choice. Moby uses a lot of samples in his productions and is familiar for his unique sampling techniques to create new revolutionary music with.
Thievery Corporation – The Richest Man In Babylon.
The last one in our list of 10 essential chill out tunes, The Richest Man in Babylon is an electronic music album by Thievery Corporation. It was first released on September 30, 2002 with contributions from several other artists such as LouLou and Pam Bricker. The title track blends influences like dubstep or jazz into their sound which has become more popular over recent years due largely because it can appeal across cultures without being too niche-oriented like some other types of genres might be; fans range from those looking specifically out doors towards dance-floor syndrome all the way to those who just want to hear some good relaxing tunes. This is one of the essential tracks from the album and it’s perfect for anyone looking for a good chill out tune.
Here are your 10 essential chill out tunes to relax to. Hopefully there are some tunes among them you didn’t know about yet or just to refresh your memory so you can play them again. Let us know which one is your favorite in the comment section below. Also make sure to read our article about the history of deep house here. Thanks for reading and enjoy the tunes!
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