My recent obsession with ’90s rave culture has sent me down many musical rabbit holes, with my favorite being the sound of the chillout room. The chillout room started as a place for ravers to cool down from the high temperature of the rave itself. However, this room became far more than just a place for ravers to catch their breath. Ultimately, it became the birthplace of an entirely new style of electronic music. Here I have listed six of my all-time favorite chillout room tracks.
“Dance PM” by Hiroshi Yoshimura – Music for Nine Postcards (2017)
This track has an upbeat and overall positive sound to it. It is sweet, soothing and absolutely perfect for anyone stepping out of the sensory overload that is a rave. To put it simply, this track is grounding.
“2/1 – Remastered 2004” by Brian Eno – Ambient 1/Music for Airports (1978)
While Brian Eno was making music long before 90s raves, his ambient tracks are a chillout room essential. They do an excellent job of fluctuating to and from the foreground, putting the mind in an almost meditative state.
“#6” by Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1994)
Aphex Twin was one of the artists essential in the creation of the chillout room and its sound. His second album which this track is on captures, the essence of the chillout room perfectly. For the most part, it is beat-less and trance-like. “#6”, my favorite on the album, is comprised of a repetitive vocaloid sound that takes the listener deeper into their Brian-Eno-induced meditative state.
“Tommib” by Squarepusher – Go Plastic (2001)
Squarepusher, like Aphex Twin, was essential in the formation of the chillout room. This track is slightly more upbeat and engaging than the previous two in an attempt to pull the raver from their stupor.
“La femme d’argent” by Air – Moon Safari (1998)
This track by Air serves to fully bring the listener back to their senses. It is jazzy yet still electronic in true chillout room fashion.
“Breathe” by Telepopmusik – Genetic World (2001)
Lastly, “Breathe,” an electronic track with soothing vocals overtop serves to energize the listener before reentering the rave. While it is soothing, the beat is almost energetic enough to dance to making it the perfect transition song.