Hey-o, it's been a little while. Eggmun and I have been a little busy, but we'll compensate with a double post. Hope you can chill out to these tracks enough to forgive us! (Download links at the bottom of the page and on picture clicks)
Lawrell: I've recently discovered that trip-hop is actually quite vast as a genre. If you are a fan of mine or Eggmun's, you are probably familiar with Nujabes, but may or may not have ventured further into trip-hop. Over the past year or so, I've listened to my fair share of Nujabesque artists, but some go into completely different directions while still keeping the same relaxing mood. These two albums are some of the best I've gotten in that period.
First up is Dirtwire's self-titled album, recommended by someone on Eden's IRC.
This is what I would describe as space cowboy music. It has that Old
West feel (not like spaghetti westerns, but think steel lap guitars,
washboards, banjos, etc.), but it mixes in the new with some electronic
bits here and there, and of course, breakbeats (I believe that it's what gives hip-hop its distinctive rhythm, please correct me if I am wrong). If you've played Bastion
and liked its music, you're definitely in for a treat. I highly
recommend listening to this for gaming sessions, or extremely hot days, Dirtwire
tends to just fit right in with the hot sun beating down on your face
and the sound of cicadas. This one's available for free on Bandcamp
(link below), if you like them, feel free to donate whatever you like!
Next up is Dial 'M' for Monkey by Bonobo, a completely instrumental album that combines unique instrumentation with a wonderful sense of atmosphere. The aptly named "Noctuary", reminiscent of night walks in the city and the also nicely titled "Flutter", which of course reminds the listener of a fluttering butterfly are wonderful opening numbers, showing a bit of contrast. All in all, Dial 'M' for Monkey goes many different ways, from atmospheric, to groovy, and most of all, relaxing. Breakbeats are present throughout the album, and the instrumentation is very varied and elegant, making this album excellent for work, or perhaps gaming sessions. Bonobo remains today one of my favourite discoveries, and I hope that you will like it as much as I do. Props to the anon who recommended it to me.
Eggmun: As a clarification and contrary to what Lawrell said, after looking into things I've realised that nujabes is generally not trip-hop, rather it's more correct to classify nujabes as nu-jazz, jazz-hop, or just plain hip-hop.
Trip-hop on the other hand is, more broadly, just electronic mixed with hip-hop, and that often has no real definition of balance between the two, however it does tend to be really chill. Oh, and following up from Lawrell's suggestion; if you liked the Bonobo album then I'd also suggest you take a look at Black Sands, another great album from them.
As for my actual recommendations: Heligoland is, if you didn't already notice from the cover art, a bit odd. It's not something I listen to particularly often, nor is it something I listen to because I particularly like the songs individually (Paradise Circus excepting) - rather, the album on the whole creates an atmosphere, sets the mood. I listen to it to zone out and go on autopilot at work or whilst doing tedious homework.
And the main course: Big Calm by Morcheeba. What a find this was, I didn't even realise I had this until Lawrell told me we were doing Trip-Hop and it came up when I searched for the genre. I've since fallen in love with the album, it's really damn good. It's chill-out, it has an awesome groove, it's catchy, this album really hits the nail on the head for me, and I think it's a fantastic example of what trip-hop can and should be. Notable songs would be 'The Sea', 'Part of the Process' and 'Big Calm', although the entire album is fantastic and I recommend listening to it start to finish. A couple of the songs, including the namesake 'Big Calm' have a vocal style reminiscent of hip-hop (non-rap), but despite my usual objections to the sort I actually really like them. The rest of the vocals are silky smooth and really nice (e.g 'Part of the Process'). I hope you guys enjoy this one as much as I did.
Big Calm (Password is 'Eggmun', with the capital E and without quotes)
Heligoland (see above for password)
Dial 'M' for Monkey
Dirtwire (Put any price you like, 0$ works too)