Chill-out (shortened as chill; also typeset as chillout or chill out) is a loosely defined style of popular music characterized by slow tempos and relaxed moods. The definition of the term has evolved throughout the decades, and generally refers to anything that may appear as a modern form of easy listening. Some of the genres associated with "chill" include downtempo, classical, dance, jazz, hip hop, world, pop, lounge, and ambient.
During the 1980s, there was a trend of electronic and dance music producers who created specialized descriptions of their music as a way to assert their individuality. "Chill-out" originated from an area called "The White Room" at the Heaven nightclub in London in 1989. Its DJs were Jimmy Cauty and Alex Patterson, later of the Orb. They created ambient mixes from sources such as Brian Eno, Pink Floyd, the Eagles, Mike Oldfield, 10cc, and War. The room's purpose was to allow dancers a chance to "chill out" from the more emphatic and fast-tempo music played on the main dance floor. This also coincided with the short-lived fad of ambient house, also known as "New Age house". The KLF subsequently released an album called Chill Out (1990), featuring uncredited contributions from Patterson.
A number of compilations with "chill out" in their titles were released in the mid-1990s and beyond, helping to establish the genre as being closely related to downtempo and trip hop but also incorporating, especially in the early 2000s, slower tempo varieties of house, trance, nu-jazz, psybient, and lounge music of approximately 80 to 110bpm. In 2009, a genre called "chillwave" was invented by the satirical blog Hipster Runoff. The pseudonymous author, known as "Carles", later explained that he was only "[throwing] a bunch of pretty silly names on a blog post and saw which one stuck." "Chillwave" did not gain mainstream currency until early 2010, when it was the subject of serious, analytical articles by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In 2014, Spotify reported that their "chill-out" streaming playlists were most popular in US states where marijuana had been legalized (Colorado and Washington).
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