Downtempo Information

Downtempo is a laid-back electronic music style similar to ambient music, but usually with a beat or groove unlike the beatless forms of Ambient music. The beat is sometimes made from loops that have a hypnotic feeling. Sometimes the beats are more complicated and more featured instead of being in the background, but even then they are usually less intense than other kinds of electronic music like Trance. Often the name chill out music is used to refer to songs demonstrative of the genre, but those names also refer to other styles of music, and downtempo encompasses a wider variety of styles than those terms alone would indicate. Another related genre is trip hop, though downtempo usually uses a slower tempo than trip hop. Due to the relaxing and often sensual or romantic feel of most downtempo music, along with the absence or minimal use of lyrics or vocals, it is a popular form of background music in 'chill out rooms' of dance parties, and many alternative cafes.

The 1990s brought on a wave of slower paced music which was played throughout chillout rooms—the relaxation sections of the clubs or dedicated sections at electronic music events. Downtempo music started to surface around Ibiza, when DJs and Promoters would bring down the vibe with slower rhythm and gentler electronic music upon approaching sunrise. In 1994, trip hop emerged from Bristol, which combined elements of hip hop beats, drum and bass breaks, and ambient atmospheres at a lower tempo. At the end of 1990s a more melodic instrumental electronica incorporating acoustic sounds with electronic styles emerged under its own umbrella name of downtempo.

In the late 1990s, the Austrian duo Kruder & Dorfmeister popularized the style with their downtempo remixes of pop, hip-hop, and drum and bass tracks with influences of the 70's soul jazz. The British Steve Cobby and Dave McSherry, producing under the name Fila Brazillia, released a handful of downtempo, electronica and ambient techno albums that propelled the style further. Meanwhile the Washington, D.C. locals Eric Hilton and Rob Garza, better known as Thievery Corporation, have introduced the Brazilian sound into the style after discussing the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and enriched it further by combining elements of Jamaican dub and reggae.

Wikipedia, Downtempo, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downtempo (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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