What is "Down Tempo"?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Albini_Fan, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. Albini_Fan

    Albini_Fan Banned

    Jan 26, 2003
    Beneath Below
    :x Everytime I hear something explained as "Down Tempo" it usually sounds really cool. But I have no idea what it is, or what makes it "Down Tempo".

    I'm stupid :p
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    First, you are not stupid. Stupid people don't ask legitimate questions.

    Next asking what "downtempo" music is a legitimate question.

    Here's my answer. I hope we are talking about the same thing. Downtempo is a style of electronic dance music also often called "chill" or "chillout" music that is closely related to ambient, trip hop and trance. Even some nu jazz has that sleepy, easy-going feel of downtempo.

    Downtempo music sounds dreamy, laid-back, relaxing,soothing, atmospheric, happy, but not excessively so and, of course, it is electronic in style. It is often instrumental, but some downtempo does have vocals as, for example, Portishead.

    One song that typifies downtempo is the song "Breathe" by Telepopmusik that is heard in a Mitsubishi car ad.

    Here are some well know groups that play forms of downtempo music, but there are too many to list and new ones every day.

    Sigur Ros
    Thievery Corporation
    Kruder and Dorfmeister
    Damien and Krezer
    Massive Attack
    Peace Orchestra

    Some downtempo compilations that you might consider are:

    Cafe del Mar series
    Hotel Costes series
    Serve Chilled series
    Best of Buddah
    Vintage Chill 2: Summer

    There are many, many others. I suggest you go to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble and listen to soundbites from some of the above to see which ones are the type that you like the most. And have fun getting to know these interesting artists.
  3. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Hmm, so it's not a "real" musical term then - gotta say I'd never heard it in a "real" musical context before - i.e. I heard people talking about it in relation to dance music, but we all know that's not real music ;)

    (kidding!) :D

    Many of the examples you mentioned there use a james brown style breakbeat played way slower than it should be, so the drag on the snare is really long and lazy.
    That's the style I'd associate with the phrase at least.

    mad how JB's beats can be played at any tempo and still be funky as hell. that is a real grooving!