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Raz Mesinai performing live in 2008

Illbient is a genre of electronic music. The term was allegedly coined by DJ Olive[2] to describe the iconoclastic[clarification needed] music being produced by a community of artists based in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York in 1994.[3] The word "Illbient" combines the hip hop slang term "ill" (a positive expression: bad meaning good) and "ambient".

Psychedelic musician Helios Creed joked that "although Eno invented ambient music while ill in bed - 'illbient' is actually an extreme retro offshoot that demands that the listener produces a doctor's note before being allowed to purchase."[citation needed]

Though there are many individualistic variants of illbient, the music is characterized by interesting dub-wise layering of soundscapes,[4] hip hop-influenced use of samples and a progressive approach to beat programming that encompasses all genres of world groove and electronic music. Usually, but not always, illbient uses beats more than purely ambient music (or dark ambient), and often illbient includes loops in the recordings.

Illbient was introduced to the public at large in 1996 through the Asphodel Records Incursions in Illbient compilation and a feature in The Wire magazine.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ishkur (2005). "Ishkur's guide to Electronic Music". Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Ishkur (2005). "Ishkur's guide to Electronic Music". Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Electronic » Downtempo » Illbient". Retrieved October 29, 2014. Centered in New York City (Brooklyn in particular), illbient is a distinctly and consciously urban form of electronic music, aiming to express both the cultural variety and grimy decay of its surroundings. 
  4. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. Unlike the UK's marijuana-infused ambient culture, New York's 'illbient' scene is less about wombing soundbaths and vegetative bliss, more about creating audio-sculptures and environmental soundscapes. 
  5. ^ a b "Electronic » Downtempo » Illbient". Retrieved October 29, 2014. The Asphodel and WordSound record labels provide the settings for most illbient scene projects; the former is home to the excellent introductory compilation Incursions in Illbient, which features DJ Spooky, We, Byzar, and Sub Dub. 

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