Top 5 Chill Out Room Tracks
Sometimes you just have to chill. We’ve all been there before, whether it was behind the decks or in the vicinity relaxing on a comfy couch, bean bag, or fouton (whoa, with the early 90′s) with great chill out or down tempo music spilling out across your lobes. The “Chill Out Room” was a mainstay at almost every rave that I attended in the 90′s, and even now at after parties you might still find DJs laying down silky tunes not necessarily for the dance floor. I am completely blown away by so much chillwave music these days mostly because of the ambient, shoegazer qualities. The filtered vocals and synths are reminiscent of some of the best synth-pop and ambient electronic music from the 80′s and 90′s like The Cocteau Twins, Massive Attack, FSOL, and Tangerine Dream. Even now the odds are pretty good that you can find an uptempo remix of M83′s ”Midnight City,” but I’m more inclined stick to the original to coat my listeners in my downtempo mix. But even outside of tunes from the Drive soundtrack there are some future and timeless classics that still have some strength on the chill out tip. Here’s my Top 5 pulls for the after party and beyond.
HUMAN NATURE - Toro Y Moi
Toro Y Moi is one of my favorite artists these days and my fellow Filipino brethren can almost do no wrong. ”Human Nature” is one of many excellent tracks on this particular record. Okay, it is an MJ cover of probably his most well produced (in my opinion) records of all time so right of the bat it has that going for it. I love particularly in the chorus how the vocals are sung from a distance with a bouncing delay that floats over the spiraling synths and chunky underlying bass. This track is perfect for winding down the house party, or for the sunrise set on the way to the beach.
LOFTICRIES - Purity Ring
Purity Ring are comprised of vocalist Megan James and drummer/programmer Corin Roddick. This duo hails from Canada and are relatively new, although Corin was previously drumming for the indie favorites Gobble Gobble, now known as Born Gold. Purity Ring’s “future pop” music spans from dubstep style beats, with intricate sampling, to straight forward pop melodic goodness. It is all brilliant, but I connect with “Lofticries” the most. The vocal performance is eerily reminiscent of Tracy Thorn or Liz Frazier in each of their perspective Massive Attack songs, and the lush synths coupled with detuned vocal samples layer quite nicely with the downtempo 808 laden beats. This track is pure evening wear, dark and tight fitting. I play this track to kick start my buzz on a rainy night in the metropolis.
POLISH GIRL - Neon Indian
Neon Indian is considered by most to be the fathers of modern new wave or chill wave music. There are many great remixes of most of their tracks so hipsters and scenesters can play them for the dance floor, but for me the original mix of “Polish Girl” is a masterpiece. This track maintains their formula of melodic synth lines, blippy 8-bit stabs, and silky new romantic vocals. It’s a song that nerdy lovelorn robots put on make-out mix tapes to give to prettier, more popular robots. It is a mid-tempo pull, but I still maintain that this track in it’s original form is best delivered early in the evening during cocktail hour before the fashion show.
LOVE ON A REAL TRAIN (SYMBOL ONE REMIX) - Tangerine Dream
The movie Risky Business from 1983 was the first movie that taught me my first real lesson in supply and demand, but other than that the soundtrack and score completely blew my mind especially during the notorious train scene. Arpeggiated chords and electronic drums swirl and loop over airy vocal samples, providing a velvety lush soundscape of pure epic majesty. Tangerine Dream to chill wave is like Kraftwerk to techno. Period. Their music defines everything cool and artsy about the 80′s from Miami Vice to neon lights, lipstick, and cigarettes. The Symbol One remix really does the original justice and adds a bit of movement to make it mixable. This track is definitely couples skate only.
HELENA BEAT (COM TRUISE REMIX) - Foster The People
Foster The People have certainly enjoyed some modest success as of late and we have all benefited I’m sure by dropping a hot remix or two of one of their tracks from this past year. Despite having really catchy melodies and pop sensibility their music remains relevant on the indie tip, therefore opening the door for a slew of tremendous remixes in different crossover musical genres. I include the Com Truise remix because of it’s a downtempo delight reminiscent of The Cure’s ”Fascination Street” extended mix. It has a sweet intro to set the tone with chunky synth bass, swirling echoing guitar riffs, and electronic drums straight from Prince’s 1999 collection. The party really begins once Mark Foster’s recognizable vocal comes in and the rest of the track falls in to place beautifully complete with ill P-Funk riffs and spacey arpeggios. Com Truise nails this remix and this track is best suited to re-invigorate your after party into their second or third wind.
These are just a few of the gems I like to play when I’m not trying to bang out the dance floor. It’s always good to be versatile, and having an arsenal of other than 128 bpm spins is just plain resourceful and smart, especially if you want to play pre or after parties. You can improve your programming and technical skill as a DJ if you can diversify your range both in music style and BPM’s. So whether you like the indie stuff, the chill wave stuff, or even the throwback trip-hop, shoegaze acid trip stuff, let me know what tunes you like to hear away from the dance floor. Give me your top 5 and maybe we’ll send you one of our new shirts! Until next time, happy gigs!