Journal: News & Comment

Saturday, June 26, 2004
# 3:25:00 PM:

The Essential Chill Collection

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Moving into a new genre of music listening as an adult is difficult. As teenagers we do it effortlessly, absorbing the who's who of a style or subculture with little effort—or, more accurately, with a lot of effort that seems necessary and vital at the time, not a sideline. (For many teens, listening to and knowing about music is, effectively, their job.)

Certainly the Internet helps, since in previous decades background research about important jazz or classical or funk or R&B or folk or early music would have required endless discussions and listening sessions with knowledgeable friends, trips to the library, and money spent at specialty record stores.

But music is ultimately about sound, and you have to hear it. In trying to find out about electronica, which I enjoy when I encounter it out in the world, I've been flummoxed by the subgenres (trip-hop, drum-n-bass, techno, house, ambient, chill, breakbeat, jungle, neo-electro, trance, IDM, glitch, downtempo, nu jazz, etc.) and the nature of the style, which avoids identifiable vocalists or even melodies for a groove or feeling. That makes it hard to pick up on from scratch.

Records stores (there's an anachronism—CD stores, perhaps?) have a wide selection of electronica and dance albums, but where would I start, not knowing much beyond Moby, Massive Attack, the Chemical Brothers, Groove Armada, and Fatboy Slim? Well, it turns out there are huge electronica samplers, such as the Essential Chill Collection, which has seven CDs and only cost me $32 Cdn. Perhaps after some listening I'll have a better idea where I should winnow my interest.

Of course, I'd be happy to get your suggestions.


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