So, Trip-Hop has an origin around late 80’s hip-hop along with DJs, MCs, and b-boys getting mixed up with the Jamaican dub and house scene in Bristol, UK. They mingled and formed “soundsystems” (which is a pretty dope name if you ask me). Soundsystems were created in Jamaica in the 50’s to identify a group of DJs work collectively to produce and contribute to a sole sound. With all of these influences constantly working off of each other, you can imagine the evolution of Trip-Hop has been nearly never ending. Now it has been growing to incorporate much more sampling including Jazz, hip-hop elements, and downtempo percussion which has grown as those genres have grown respectively.
Now while Trip-Hop had its inception in ’89, it hit some mainstream attention a few years later in the early to mid 90’s. One of the biggest records to start the movement and really let Britain identify with their own iteration of hip-hop was Massive Attack‘s Blue Lines. That was huge. Although there wasn’t really any element of hip-hop because it was mostly sampling, some R&B vocals from Shara Nelson and Jamaican dance hall artist Horace Andy.
Enough about the history. This post is titled “The State of Trip-Hop” after all. So let’s talk about the state of Trip-Hop and where I think it’s at.
Like a lot of things, this genre is mobilizing to the interwebz. Soundcloud has been a huge instigator in letting artists control their page (thanks, Soundcloud). This has helped mobilize the Trip-Hop industry to some degree. Of course you have to sift through the shit to find the gems hidden behind overrated and untalented promoted songs. But they are there and definitely worth digging for. On my Soundcloud, I do my best to find these gems and repost/make playlists/like their tracks. Trip-Hop is being overrun. There is literally not enough time in the day to find all the Trip-Hop being made and shared on the web. I think this is in part because to create music anymore all you need is a decent computer, very minimal knowledge of music theory and patience. Which is fucking awesome. I’m sure most of the stuff I absolutely love has been made this way. No giant soundproof studio, 100 track mixer, $1,000 mics. None of that. A 2009 Mac/PC with an old copy of Ableton and some creativity will get you to some crazy places. With great places like reddit, Twitter, Soundcloud and more, so many people have so much more of an outlet and connection with people. One of my favorite places for collaboration is reddit.com/r/isolatedvocals because people are literally giving away vocals for others to sample in their tracks. Dope.
I think a huge reason as to why I’m getting back into Trip-Hop so much is because of how minimalistic it’s becoming. It’s devolving into vibe-able, downtempo, repetitive loops. It’s simple. I’m all about simple. It’s perfect for zoning out, driving, being productive, and just about any other atmosphere you can think of. I’m fairly particular about what I listen to and when but I can rarely find a bad time to listen to (new wave?) Trip-Hop. Maybe a funeral. That might not be an incredibly opportune time. But who knows, it might be cool. I digress. I say in my blog that I’m “always searching for vibes”. That mostly comes from the trip-hop I find on Soundcloud. I feel like although there’s so much to sift through, it’s a very niche community. It’s even similar to how I compared newer Chillwave in the fact that it can vary song by song, record by record or even artist by artist. I think that’s the case with any form of art anymore. It’s hard to get labeled down to a single genre, even if you do help with the creation of said genre (looking at you Toro Y Moi).
Keep up with me on Soundcloud. I’m always finding new stuff and creating new playlists. If any of you guys have an artist you want me to check out, please let me know. I’m always open to suggestions. That goes for my blog as well. If there’s something you want to see or have feedback, let me know!