Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Beginner's Guide to Trip-hop

Trip-hop has for years been one of my favorite sub-genres of music. Formed largely in response to electronic dance music and acid jazz in the U.K., the artists who popularized trip-hop in the early 1990s commonly combined the bass-heavy grooves and breakbeats of American hip-hop music with more ambient atmospherics.

The result was a style of music that could be incredibly flexible and experimental. Artists would often meld downtempo jazz, soul and Latin elements with the rhythms. The chilled-out, hypnotic sound that emerged led to the name "trip-hop."

From the smokey, ethereal textures and sensual vocals of Portishead to the funked-out dub of Kruder & Dorfmeister's "Bug Powder Dust" remix, trip-hop showed us that no style is untouchable.

Below, I've compiled a shortlist of some artists who were essential to the trip-hop movement, as well as some who have taken on its characteristics. What I hope to provide here is an introduction to some of my favorites.

So, whether you're starting the party or just kicking back after a long day, this is one playlist that's begging for a spin.

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