By: Cameron Malik
I’d like to first preface this by saying that I am not a journalist, or really a writer of any kind, just a music enthusiast. This post and the ones that will follow are simply to teach people about the music I love and to make the daunting nebula that is “electronic music” a tad less… well, daunting. Every song on the playlist below is completely and legally free to download. I encourage anyone who enjoys this music to pay a little money to support these artists, since making art for free is pretty damn cool.
In a nutshell, trip-hop is the wonderful progeny of 1990’s British downtempo electronic and American hip hop. Sampling from other genres like jazz, soul and funk, trip-hop emerged most prominently in Bristol, England in the early 1990’s with artists such as Massive Attack and Portishead. When this music was first created it was dark, sultry, characterized by slow beats seasoned with samples and female vocals. A review of DJ Shadow’s album Entroducing… described the genre as “a fusion of hip hop and electronica until neither genre is recognisable.” Doing away with the predominantly male rap lyrics of hip-hop at the time, trip-hop favored a more relaxed and reserved feel. It was the kind of music you’d expect to hear in some sort futuristic speakeasy where everyone’s sipping on spacewhiskey.
As time moved on the genre became immensely diverse in sound and listening experience (crazy, right?). The incorporation of more diverse genre sampling and electronic production gave trip-hop a new feel. Developments in other genres such as ambient dub, downtempo, breakbeat, glitch, synthpop, even indie rock, have all had an effect on the sounds of trip-hop. No longer is it music only suitable for candlelit bedroom sessions. There’s still the lo-fi and lyrical trip-hop of the early 90s, but modern artists have made it appropriate for all occasions: seaside picnics with the homies, summer cruising with the homies, the homies’ bar and bat mitzvahs, even getting some studying done with the homies. Really, trip-hop is a genre for any time and place as a result of its heavy use of sampling from other genres, somehow melding it together into cohesive pieces of art. It was the first genre of electronic music I found myself truly in love with, introducing me to this wonderful, chaotic genre known as electronic. So why not get a little trippy?
Peace and love.
– Cameron Malik
neat beats – Graffiti on a Monday Night (04:47)
Description: Melancholy and glitchy, overlaying piano, guitar, cello and vocal samples. Nothing better to make you feel the beautiful emptiness of space. Listen!
The Polish Ambassador – Sri Gurvastakam ft. Kirtaniyas (05:49)
Description: Straight out of Oakland, this track incorporates soothing vocals throughout with intermittent sitar that melts my soul. Listen!
Emancipator – Diamonds (04:02)
Description: Coming from one of the biggest names in the genre, “Diamonds” is an upbeat track perfect for anytime you want to feel happy. Listen!
D.V.S* and Space Jesus – Winter Is Coming (04:35)
Description: One of the tracks most suitable for solo listening. Throw some headphones on and get wrapped up by the syrupy bass and slow melody. Listen!
Broke For Free – Add And (04:09)
Description: Clearly drawing influence from contemporary indie rock with its quick guitar riffs, this track is almost too summer to handle. Listen!
Kill Emil – What The Rain Takes Away (03:27)
Description: This track is winter incarnate. 1920’s jazz samples galore make me feel like I’m in a funky remake of Casablanca. Listen!
Early Beard – Subwayz (04:16)
Description: Appropriate for a night time drive of any kind. Quick paced and catchy, you’re head will be bobbing in no time. Listen!
P.SUS – I Know… (03:06)
Description: From an album focused on Star Wars sampling. One of the more strictly electronic tracks on here. Listen!
Balmy – Lettuce Fuck (04:00)
Description: I’ve been in love with this song for years now. While being bass heavy it still manages to sound light with wonderful synth melodies. Listen!
Shag – Spaced (02:26)
Description: Downtempo and soft, another great one for solo relaxation. Listen!
Shag – Spirit Temple (04:48)
Description: Sampling heavily from the Ocarina of Time soundtrack, this track me yearn for basement videogame sessions. Listen!
Moonkay – Being Too Shallow (05:40)
Description: The most minimal take on the genre in this playlist, and my favorite song here. Turn the lights off, turn on the laser machine and enjoy. Listen!
PETIT BISCUIT – Alaska (03:57)
Description: An extremely versatile track from the same label as the Moonkay song. Fits in as well at a summer block party as it does at 3:30 in the morning.Listen!
Koi. – Pinwheel (03:27)
Description: Fast tempo and laced with synthy, bouncy goodness. Just wonderful.Listen!