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The 40+ Best Trip Hop Artists, Ranked


If you are ready for a journey through one of the most eclectic music forms, consider trip hop. Trip hop music awakens the senses and unlocks a treasure trove of rhythm, style and emotion. This genre is steeped in the roots of British electronica, breakbeat, and hip hop. It's fascinating to wend your way through a collection of the finest trip hop artists whose songs have made a profound impact on music scenes globally. 

The best trip hop groupspaint an enchanting picture of profound musical innovation, blending various styles to create something unique and potent. Their transformative influence on trip hop's evolution becomes apparent with each resonating beat and soulful lyric. The music vibrates with a deep resonance that echoes across the mainstream and indie audiences, highlighting the uniqueness of each artist and their indelible mark on the genre. 

In the illustrious lineup of trip hop artists, certain names stand out. These include top trip hop bands like Portishead , Massive Attack, and Tricky. Portishead's hauntingly beautiful melodies tug at the heartstrings of the listeners, making the band famous. Massive Attack, with their groundbreaking albums, brought a new perspective to the genre, a testament to their status among the best trip hop artists. Tricky melded raw emotion with creative beats resulting in a distinctive sound that resonates with fans to this day. Their achievements, ranging from memorable songs and classic albums to prestigious awards, speak volumes about their stature in the trip hop universe. 

Reflecting on the history of trip hop music and its best artists presents a captivating saga of artistic expression, innovation, and boundary-pushing beats. Distinguished by their individual style and contributions, these trip hop bands have set new standards for the genre with magical tunes that continue to inspire, entertain, and move audiences around the world. 


Portishead, the brainchild of Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, and Adrian Utley, revolutionized trip hop in the 90s with their groundbreaking albums Dummy  and Portishead . With a hauntingly atmospheric sound that flawlessly combined eerie vocal melodies, innovative sampling techniques, and cinematic soundscapes, Portishead captured the imagination of music lovers everywhere. They managed to push the boundaries of the genre by blending elements of jazz, electronica, and rock, ultimately creating a hypnotic experience that became synonymous with the trip hop movement. To this day, Portishead remains a luminary of the scene, continuously inspiring generations of artists with their emotive and timeless compositions.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Portishead   - "Glory Box"   - "Sour Times"   - "Roads"

Dive Into Portishead's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "It's a Fire"   - "Over"

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Massive Attack

Massive Attack

Massive Attack, hailing from Bristol, England, have long been considered pioneers in the realm of trip hop. The trio, consisting of Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall, and Andy Vowles, crafted a unique sound that seamlessly merged elements of dub, reggae, soul, and electronica. Their seminal album Blue Lines  served as a blueprint for trip hop, boasting an array of downtempo beats, ethereal ambience, and thought-provoking lyricism. Massive Attack's innovation and experimentation within the genre have solidified their legacy as one of the most influential trip hop acts of all time.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Massive Attack   - "Teardrop"   - "Unfinished Sympathy"   - "Angel"

Dive Into Massive Attack's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Karmacoma"   - "Black Milk"

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UK-based artist Tricky, born Adrian Thaws, quickly emerged as a trip hop icon with the release of his debut album, Maxinquaye . His distinct fusion of hip hop, rock, and electronica resonated with listeners seeking something more subversive and experimental within the genre. Drawing heavily on his Jamaican roots and experiences growing up in Bristol, Tricky's music showcased his powerful storytelling abilities and otherworldly production skills. As a result, Tricky has remained an essential figure within the trip hop scene, continuously pushing the envelope with each successive release.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Tricky   - "Hell is Round the Corner"   - "Black Steel"   - "Ponderosa"

Dive Into Tricky's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Vent"   - "Christiansands"

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Morcheeba, a British trio consisting of siblings Paul and Ross Godfrey and vocalist Skye Edwards, captivated listeners with their polished blend of trip hop, electronica, and pop. Their debut album Who Can You Trust?  served as a prime example of their ability to create moody, atmospheric compositions that showcased Edwards' sultry vocal stylings. Morcheeba's ability to navigate the diverse sonic landscape of trip hop while maintaining a strong focus on melody earned them critical acclaim and a devout following. Over time, the band has continued to evolve, solidifying their status as a versatile powerhouse within the genre.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Morcheeba   - "The Sea"   - "Trigger Hippie"   - "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day"

Dive Into Morcheeba's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Friction"   - "Big Calm"

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Sneaker Pimps

Sneaker Pimps

Established in the mid-90s, the British trip hop trio Sneaker Pimps, composed of Chris Corner, Liam Howe, and Kelli Ali, brought a unique spin to the genre with their compelling mix of electronica, alternative rock, and darkly melodic pop. Their debut album Becoming X  showcased innovative production techniques, catchy hooks, and Ali's alluring vocals, which quickly garnered them international attention. Not content to remain static, Sneaker Pimps continued to explore and push the boundaries of trip hop, consistently reinventing their sound and remaining an influential force within the scene.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Sneaker Pimps   - "6 Underground"   - "Spin Spin Sugar"   - "Tesko Suicide"

Dive Into Sneaker Pimps' History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Low Place Like Home"   - "Grazes"

Zero 7

British duo Zero 7, comprised of Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker, emerged on the trip hop scene in the late '90s with a mission to blend chilled-out electronica, sophisticated pop sensibilities, and seductive downtempo grooves. Their debut album Simple Things , featuring collaborations with vocalists like Sia and Mozez, showcased the duo's penchant for crafting exquisitely lush and soothing soundscapes. Over the years, Zero 7 has continued to evolve and redefine their sound, often incorporating elements of jazz, soul, and world music, earning them a dedicated fanbase and a lasting impact on the trip hop genre.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Zero 7   - "Destiny"   - "In the Waiting Line"   - "Home"

Dive Into Zero 7's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Likufanele"   - "I Have Seen"

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Belgian outfit Hooverphonic, led by mastermind Alex Callier, made a lasting impact on the trip-hop scene with their evocative, cinematic soundscapes that beautifully melded elements of pop, rock, and electronic music. From their breathtaking debut A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular  to their more recent work, Hooverphonic has demonstrated an uncanny ability to create lush, immersive atmospheres with a keen sense of melody. With a revolving door of talented vocalists, including Liesje Sadonius, Geike Arnaert, and Luka Cruysberghs, the band has consistently defied expectations, solidifying their status as one of trip hop's most captivating acts.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Hooverphonic   - "Mad About You"   - "2Wicky"   - "Eden"

Dive Into Hooverphonic's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Vinegar & Salt"   - "Out of Sight"


French duo Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel, better known as Air, brought a distinctly Gallic flair to the world of trip hop with their sublime fusion of electronic experimentation, retro-pop melodies, and dreamy atmospherics. Their seminal album Moon Safari , featuring hit singles like "Sexy Boy" and "Kelly Watch the Stars," captivated audiences with its timeless charm and ethereal beauty. Throughout their career, Air has consistently pushed the boundaries of trip hop by exploring a wide range of sonic palettes and textures, leaving an indelible mark on the genre.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Air   - "Sexy Boy"   - "La Femme d'Argent"   - "Cherry Blossom Girl"

Dive Into Air's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Le Soleil est près de Moi"   - "Talisman"

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Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation

Washington, D.C.-based duo Thievery Corporation, consisting of Eric Hilton and Rob Garza, have been synonymous with trip hop since their formation in the mid-'90s. With a sound that effortlessly fuses elements of dub, reggae, lounge, and electronica, the pair has developed a unique global sonic identity that transcends genre boundaries. Their debut album Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi  laid the groundwork for their signature sound, combining lush electronic soundscapes with hypnotic grooves and worldly influences. Over the years, Thievery Corporation has continuously evolved their eclectic sound, solidifying their status as one of trip hop's most innovative and boundary-pushing acts.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Thievery Corporation   - "Lebanese Blonde"   - "Sweet Tides"   - "The Richest Man in Babylon"

Dive Into Thievery Corporation's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Amerimacka"   - "The Mirror Conspiracy"

DJ Shadow

Josh Davis, known professionally as DJ Shadow, is an American producer and DJ who has left an indelible mark on the world of trip hop with his undeniable talent for crafting immersive beats and moody soundscapes. His groundbreaking 1996 debut Endtroducing...  is widely regarded as a trip hop classic, showcasing a mastery of sampling techniques, innovative production styles, and a keen ear for haunting, atmospheric sounds. Throughout his career, DJ Shadow has continued to explore and expand the boundaries of the genre, pushing the limits of what can be achieved through the art of sampling and beat making.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From DJ Shadow   - "Midnight in a Perfect World"   - "Building Steam with a Grain of Salt"   - "Six Days"

Dive Into DJ Shadow's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Stem / Long Stem"   - "Organ Donor"

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British duo Goldfrapp, led by the bewitching Alison Goldfrapp and multi-instrumentalist Will Gregory, emerged in the early 2000s as a force to be reckoned with in the realm of trip hop. Their debut album Felt Mountain  showcased a beguiling mix of cinematic orchestration, electronic experimentation, and Alison's enchanting vocals. Goldfrapp's enigmatic sound has continually evolved, encompassing elements of glam rock, synth-pop, and dance music, making them one of the most unpredictable and fascinating acts within the trip hop genre.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Goldfrapp   - "Ooh La La"   - "Strict Machine"   - "Lovely Head"

Dive Into Goldfrapp's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Utopia"   - "Black Cherry"

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British musical mastermind James Lavelle, the driving force behind Unkle, has been captivating audiences with his dark and cinematic take on trip hop since the late '90s. Unkle's debut album Psyence Fiction , featuring collaborations with notable artists like Thom Yorke and Richard Ashcroft, showcased Lavelle's knack for blending moody electronic production with elements of rock, pop, and hip-hop. Over the years, Unkle's ever-evolving sound and roster of talented collaborators have helped cement the project's place in trip hop history as a daring, innovative force within the genre.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Unkle   - "Rabbit in Your Headlights"   - "Bloodstain"   - "Burn My Shadow"

Dive Into Unkle's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Celestial Annihilation"   - "Lonely Soul"

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Lamb, the enchanting English duo consisting of producer Andy Barlow and vocalist Lou Rhodes, first made waves in the trip hop scene with their eponymous 1996 debut album. Their unique fusion of electronic experimentation, emotive vocals, and captivating songwriting quickly set them apart, winning them fans across the globe. With a sound that combines elements of jazz, drum and bass, and ambient music, Lamb has continually pushed the envelope, proving themselves to be one of the trip hop genre's most enduring and captivating acts.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Lamb   - "Gorecki"   - "Lusty"   - "Angelica"

Dive Into Lamb's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Cotton Wool"   - "Trans Fatty Acid"

Nightmares on Wax

Nightmares on Wax

George Evelyn, the man behind Nightmares on Wax, has been weaving spellbinding webs of sound since the early '90s, blending elements of dub, electronica, and soul to create uniquely evocative trip hop compositions. With a discography that spans decades, Nightmares on Wax has earned a reputation for consistently crafting music that not only embodies the spirit of trip hop but also pushes the boundaries of the genre. From early classics like Smokers Delight  to more recent releases like Shape the Future , Nightmares on Wax has proven time and again that his innovative approach to music-making remains vital and engaging.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Nightmares on Wax   - "You Wish"   - "Les Nuits"   - "Flip Ya Lid"

Dive Into Nightmares on Wax' History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Ethnic Majority"   - "Morse"

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Norwegian duo Röyksopp, comprising Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland, emerged in the early 2000s with a distinct brand of trip hop infused with elements of synth-pop, ambient, and electronica. Their chart-topping debut, Melody A.M. , showcased their ability to create lush, atmospheric soundscapes punctuated by catchy hooks and intricate production. Throughout their career, Röyksopp has remained committed to exploring the boundaries of trip hop, collaborating with various artists and incorporating diverse influences into their constantly evolving sound.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Röyksopp   - "Eple"   - "Poor Leno"   - "Happy Up Here"

Dive Into Röyksopp's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "So Easy"   - "A Higher Place"

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Wax Tailor

French producer Jean-Christophe Le Saoût, known by his stage name Wax Tailor, has been crafting elegant, cinematic trip hop since the early 2000s. With a penchant for lush orchestration, deft sampling, and moody atmospherics, Wax Tailor's music stands as a testament to the genre's enduring appeal and versatility. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with a diverse array of artists, pushing the boundaries of trip hop while remaining true to the genre's core aesthetic.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Wax Tailor   - "Que Sera"   - "Seize the Day"   - "Ungodly Fruit"

Dive Into Wax Tailor's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Positively Inclined"   - "Until Heaven Stops the Rain"

Kruder & Dorfmeister

Kruder & Dorfmeister

Austrian duo Kruder & Dorfmeister, composed of Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister, have been at the forefront of the trip hop movement for decades, known for their innovative remix work and original productions. Their landmark compilation The K&D Sessions  featured reimaginings of tracks from a wide range of artists, showcasing their ability to transform songs into immersive, downtempo masterpieces. With their seamless blend of dub, jazz, and electronica, Kruder & Dorfmeister have left an indelible mark on the trip hop scene and inspired countless artists to follow in their footsteps.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Kruder & Dorfmeister   - "K&D Sessions" (This is an album containing various remixes)   - "Black Baby"   - "Deep Shit Pt. 1 & 2"

Dive Into Kruder & Dorfmeister's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Bug Powder Dust"   - "Sofa Rockers"

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DJ Krush

Japanese producer Hideaki Ishi, better known as DJ Krush, has been making waves in the trip hop world since the early '90s with his uniquely atmospheric and meditative soundscapes. Known for his groundbreaking use of sampling and turntablism, DJ Krush consistently pushes the boundaries of the genre by incorporating elements of jazz, hip-hop, and traditional Japanese music into his work. With a discography that spans multiple decades, DJ Krush remains an influential figure within the trip hop scene, inspiring future generations of artists with his innovative, genre-defying approach to music production.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From DJ Krush   - "Kemuri"   - "Song 2"   - "Big City Lover"

Dive Into DJ Krush's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Road to Nowhere"   - "Meiso"

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American producer Ramble Jon Krohn, better known as RJD2, burst onto the trip hop scene in the early 2000s with his adventurous, genre-blurring approach to music-making. His debut album Deadringer  showcased a unique blend of hip-hop, electronica, and soulful sampling that garnered widespread acclaim and helped establish him as a pioneer within the trip-hop scene. Throughout his career, RJD2 has continued to push the boundaries of the genre by incorporating a wide range of influences and collaborating with various artists, solidifying his status as an innovative force in the world of trip hop.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From RJD2   - "Ghostwriter"   - "Smoke & Mirrors"   - "The Horror"

Dive Into RJD2's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Dead Ringer"   - "Shot in the Dark"

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The London-based collective Archive has been pushing the boundaries of trip hop since forming in the mid-1990s. With a diverse and ever-evolving roster of musicians, the group has developed a sophisticated sound that incorporates elements of rock, electronica, and orchestral music. Their ambitious concept albums, like the acclaimed Londonium , showcase their ability to create sweeping, cinematic soundscapes full of emotion and depth. Archive’s unique take on trip hop has earned them a dedicated fanbase, solidifying their status as one of the genre’s most daring and innovative acts.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Archive   - "Bullets"   - "You Make Me Feel"   - "Again"

Dive Into Archive's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Conscience"   - "Numb"

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Portland-based producer Doug Appling, known as Emancipator, has been a leading force in the trip-hop scene since the release of his acclaimed debut album Soon It Will Be Cold Enough . With a signature sound that blends lush instrumentation, intricate production, and cinematic soundscapes, Emancipator has consistently captivated listeners with his evocative and meditative compositions. A classically trained musician, Appling's ability to seamlessly weave together elements of electronic, hip-hop, and world music has helped him stand out as a unique and influential figure within the trip-hop genre.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Emancipator   - "Soon It Will Be Cold Enough"   - "Lionheart"   - "Anthem"

Dive Into Emancipator's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Periscope Up"   - "Nevergreen"


Irish singer Róisín Murphy and English producer Mark Brydon formed Moloko in the mid-'90s, bringing a quirky, innovative, and genre-defying sound to the world of trip hop. With hit singles like "Sing It Back" and "The Time Is Now," the duo crafted a distinct blend of electronic, pop, and dance music that set them apart from their peers. Throughout their career, Moloko's continuously evolving sound and Murphy's beguiling stage presence have earned them a dedicated fanbase and solidified their status as one of trip hop's most inventive acts.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Moloko   - "Sing It Back"   - "Time is Now"   - "Fun for Me"

Dive Into Moloko's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Pure Pleasure Seeker"   - "Dominoid"

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Martina Topley-Bird

Martina Topley-Bird

British singer-songwriter Martina Topley-Bird first emerged as a prominent figure within the trip hop scene through her collaborations with pioneering artist Tricky. Her distinctive, ethereal voice adds a unique depth to the atmospheric soundscapes that have come to define the genre. With subsequent solo work like her debut album Quixotic , Topley-Bird has demonstrated her ability to craft captivating trip hop compositions that seamlessly blend elements of electronica, pop, and rock. Her continued contributions to the genre have made her an enduring and influential presence within the trip hop community.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Martina Topley  -Bird   - "Sandpaper Kisses"   - "Need One"   - "Anything"

Dive Into Martina Topley  -Bird's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Too Tough to Die"   - "Steal Away"

Amon Tobin

Brazilian-born composer and producer Amon Tobin has long been heralded as a pioneer within the realm of trip hop and electronic music. His unique ability to fuse diverse influences, ranging from jazz and ambient to drum and bass, has earned him a reputation for pushing the boundaries of the genre and defying categorization. Tobin's atmospheric and immersive compositions, such as those showcased on his groundbreaking album Bricolage , remain influential touchstones within the trip hop scene and continue to inspire future generations of producers and musicians.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Amon Tobin   - "Four Ton Mantis"   - "Easy Muffin"   - "Stoney Street"

Dive Into Amon Tobin's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "The Lighthouse"   - "Bridge"

Cibo Matto

The eclectic New York duo Cibo Matto, comprised of Japanese expats Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori, brought a quirky, genre-defying approach to trip hop with their 1996 debut album Viva! La Woman . Incorporating elements of hip-hop, pop, and experimental music, Cibo Matto's unconventional sound and whimsical lyricism set them apart from their peers. Their unique blending of styles and penchant for culinary-themed lyrics helped Cibo Matto carve out a distinct niche within the trip hop community, making them one of the genre's most memorable and singular acts.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Cibo Matto   - "Sugar Water"   - "Know Your Chicken"   - "Birthday Cake"

Dive Into Cibo Matto's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "White Pepper Ice Cream"   - "Sci  -Fi Wasabi"

Supreme Beings of Leisure

The Los Angeles-based collective Supreme Beings of Leisure merged trip hop with elements of lounge, world music, and electronica to create a unique and enticing sound in the late '90s. The group's self-titled debut showcased their ability to craft lush, groove-driven compositions that catered to fans of downtempo electronic music. Supreme Beings of Leisure's diverse influences and innovative approach to trip hop earned them a dedicated following and helped cement their place within the pantheon of influential acts in the genre.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Supreme Beings of Leisure   - "Strangelove Addiction"   - "Golddigger"   - "Never the Same"

Dive Into Supreme Beings of Leisure's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Ain't Got Nothin'"   - "Sublime"

Little Dragon

Little Dragon

Swedish band Little Dragon, fronted by the dynamic vocalist Yukimi Nagano, brings a fresh, genre-defying approach to trip hop, blending influences from electronica, R&B, and synth-pop. With acclaimed albums like Ritual Union  under their belt, the band has captivated audiences worldwide with their unique sound and electrifying live performances. As Little Dragon continues to push the boundaries of trip hop and explore new sonic territories, they remain an exciting and essential act within the genre.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Little Dragon   - "Ritual Union"   - "Twice"   - "High"

Dive Into Little Dragon's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Blinking Pigs"   - "Feather"

Kid Loco

French musician and producer Jean-Yves Prieur, known as Kid Loco, has been a fixture in the trip hop scene since the mid-'90s, producing music that blends elements of dub, jazz, and electronica into an intoxicating, downtempo sound. His debut album A Grand Love Story  showcased his deft touch for crafting lush instrumental soundscapes that evoke a sense of warmth and nostalgia. With a career spanning multiple decades and numerous collaborations, Kid Loco has solidified his status as an influential figure within the trip hop genre.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Kid Loco   - "A Grand Love Theme"   - "She's My Lover"   - "The Bootleggers"

Dive Into Kid Loco's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Love Me Sweet"   - "Calling Aventura King"


Los Angeles-based duo Bitter:Sweet, consisting of vocalist Shana Halligan and producer Kiran Shahani, delivered a sultry, sophisticated take on trip hop that captivated listeners in the mid-2000s. Drawing inspiration from jazz, lounge, and electronica, their debut album The Mating Game  showcased their ability to craft intoxicating, melody-driven compositions that resonate with fans of the genre. Though their time as a duo was brief, Bitter:Sweet's unique sound left a lasting impression on the trip hop scene and continues to be celebrated by fans and fellow musicians alike.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Bitter:Sweet   - "Dirty Laundry"   - "Drink You Sober"   - "The Mating Game"

Dive Into Bitter:Sweet's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Heaven"   - "Don't Forget to Breathe"


Canadian singer-songwriter Esthero, born Jen-Bea Englishman, made a powerful entrance to the trip hop scene with her 1998 debut album Breath from Another . Her enchanting blend of jazz, pop, and electronica elements, combined with her candid lyricism and emotive vocals, struck a chord with listeners. While Esthero's sound has evolved over the years to include elements of R&B, hip-hop, and rock, her roots in trip hop remain evident, solidifying her status as one of the genre's most versatile and captivating artists.

Rock Out To Some Of The Most Popular Songs From Esthero   - "Breath from Another"   - "Heaven Sent"   - "That Girl"

Dive Into Esthero's History With Some Unique Deep Cuts   - "Swallow Me"   - "Telephone"

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Like it or not, trip-hop is a thing. I say this as someone who, for the past 18 odd years, has loved the music just as much as I’ve hated the term.

Coined in June 1994 by Andy Pemberton in a feature for Mixmag , trip-hop was used to describe the recent stylistic shift of the Mo’ Wax label and that music’s popularity in dance circles, particularly in after hours sessions. Pemberton heralded trip-hop as a psychedelic take on hip-hop and the first valid alternative to America’s dominance of the music.

The DNA of trip-hop was more complex than its reduction to bite-sized adjectives. One strand came from hip-hop, which had fed the musical imagination of a new generation for over a decade, while another strand came from rave, which had provided further stylistic possibilities with its fusion of drum machines, breaks, samples and synthesisers. Sound systems, digging, dub, chill-out rooms, early globalisation and technology also acted like so many molecules attaching themselves to a new idea of what hip-hop could be. Trip-hop was a logical evolution in a decade during which everyone came down from a partying high to face the reality that hip-hop and dance music were being co-opted by the mainstream; dreams of a new sonic utopia crushed by the relentless onslaught of capitalism.

Just as techno had become a synonym for dance music, trip-hop soon became a crutch for journalists and marketers wanting to signify hip-hop without rappers. Most notably, it became a byword for the Bristol sound epitomised by bands like Massive Attack and Portishead. In 1998, The New York Times retconned Massive Attack’s debut album Blue Lines as the so-called genre’s inception point.

On the ground, the sound did resonate in a genuine way among a new generation of musicians seeking freedom to experiment. In London, Ninja Tune played yin to Mo’ Wax’s yang. Both labels crafted a unique visual dimension and assembled expansive rosters. In Paris, DJ Cam pushed out his own blunted beats to eager continental heads. In Austria, Kruder & Dorfmeister added an extra layer of dub and turned trip-hop into downbeat in a haze of weed paranoia. In New York City, a loosely linked group of artists, thinkers and musicians spread from downtown Manhattan to Brooklyn’s cheap warehouses to imagine their own version of the sound, which The Wire magazine dubbed illbient. No matter the names or the execution, the DNA was the same.

It was always going to end badly. Mo’ Wax, often seen as responsible for the sound, originally kicked off riding the acid-jazz wave, a sound that soon exhausted itself into a creative cul-de-sac. By the late 1990s, trip-hop had become nothing more than limp, often stoner-friendly, coffee table hip-hop beats. It was music for people who felt rap was too dangerous. To those who believed in it though, it always held a promise of things weird and wonderful.

Alongside IDM (another etymological faux pas from the 1990s), trip-hop presaged the beat scene of the late 2000s, a continuation of the ideas and aesthetic it first articulated. When I spoke to Daddy Kev in 2012, he pointed to Mo’ Wax as one of the key influences for Low End Theory. Flying Lotus has cited DJ Krush as an influence. And tastemakers like Gilles Peterson have championed the music’s evolution across decades. In putting together this list, we tried to take all of this into account. There is no purism to indulge in, because there is nothing pure about trip-hop. As DJ Food’s Strictly Kev put it recently, at its best the music was “psychedelic beat collages, usually instrumental, embracing samples, analogue electronics and dub FX.” The list is contained to the 1990s for historical accuracy and tries to steer away from the music’s strongholds to show the width and breadth of the sound. As such, you’ll find artists from France, Northern Ireland, Japan, America, Denmark and Brazil represented as well as releases from Asphodel, Wordsound, Rephlex, Warp and a handful of majors. It’s also worth noting that when an artist had multiple worthy albums (for instance, Portishead or Massive Attack), we only included their most definitive moment.

Listen to the whole list as a playlist via YouTube  or   Spotify .


50. London Funk Allstars London Funk Volume 1 (Ninja Tune, 1995)

London Funk Allstars’ Ninja Tune debut will likely sound dated to most who come across it for the first time today. And yet, amid the simple breakbeats, classic loops and obvious vocal chops there’s a real beauty that captures the essence of a simpler time when the possibilities seemed endless and technology was providing new ways to think about music.


49. Bomb The Bass Clear (4th & Broadway, 1994)

Tim Simenon might not be the most obvious pick for a trip-hop list, but Clear exhibits plenty of the genre’s hallmarks. Tossing away the rave collage aesthetic that had made ‘Beat Dis’ such a massive success, Simenon weaves an ambitious narrative, tying together dub and hip-hop-influenced tracks with heady spoken-word clips from writers Benjamin Zephaniah and Will Self. There are also notable contributions from influential figures such as Leslie Winer (if you haven’t heard her 1993 album Witch , you should seek it out immediately), Bernard Fowler and Bim Sherman, opening up a dialogue between New York, Jamaica and the UK that would remain at the center of the genre for years to come.


48. Slicker Confidence in Duber (Hefty, 1998)

John Hughes’s Chicago-based Hefty imprint was crucial in cementing the relationship between Chicago’s burgeoning post-rock scene (led by Tortoise) and the seemingly more experimental (and more European) IDM and trip-hop genres. This union would reach its peak in 2001 with Telefon Tel Aviv’s massive Fahrenheit Fair Enough , but a few years prior, Hughes himself was making similar strides under his Slicker moniker. Confidence in Duber sits firmly alongside Scott Herren’s early Delarosa & Asora experiments, snatching the breaks ‘n’ blunts from trip-hop and injecting them with digital belches cribbed from the IDM playbook. Oddly enough, it’s aged better than you might expect, and is well worthy of re-investigation.


47. Meat Beat Manifesto Subliminal Sandwich (Interscope, 1996)

Subliminal Sandwich is Meat Beat Manifesto’s fourth album and their first on a major label via Nothing Records, a subsidiary of Interscope helmed by Trent Reznor that was intended to capitalise on the success of Nine Inch Nails. The album proved a critical and commercial flop, though it remains an interesting offering, drawing links between trip-hop, dub, industrial and ambient with a touch of psychedelia. Split across two CDs, it’s the first half that’s of most interest here as the rest focused on drone and ambient compositions. The 18 tracks draw heavily on samples and breaks combined with pulsing basslines, heavily processed vocals and an overall gritty finish that makes it sound like the bastard child of Mo’ Wax and Bill Laswell’s Axiom Records.


46. 9 Lazy 9 Paradise Blown (Ninja Tune, 1994)

Early Ninja Tune beatmakers 9 Lazy 9 might not sound as crucial now as they did back in the mid 1990s, but there’s still fun to be had on Paradise Blown , their second album. The Italy-based group (including Funki Porcini’s James Braddell) added a distinctly light-hearted lounge quality to a genre that could often dwell in the darker crevices, and as such  Paradise Blown can be filed alongside offerings from Tim ‘Love’ Lee and Tipsy, even if it’s not anywhere near as endearingly experimental.


45. UNKLE Psyence Fiction (Mo’ Wax, 1998)

Mo’ Wax boss James Lavelle’s pet project, UNKLE, remains a controversial part of the trip-hop canon. With distance, Psyence Fiction is possibly more enjoyable than it was back in 1998, and it highlights the genre’s crossover potential with guest spots from Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft (then riding high after the success of ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’) and Badly Drawn Boy, but it’s hard not to see it as a slightly cynical marketing exercise. DJ Shadow, who was drafted to co-write the album, was quick to speak out about his unhappiness with both the process and the result, but Psyence Fiction is representative of a time and place, and shows trip-hop’s promise as it was being co-opted and transformed into something that labels could whitewash and monetize. Zero 7 was just around the corner.


44. Tipsy Trip Tease – The Seductive Sounds of Tipsy (Asphodel, 1996)

It might be a stretch to classify Tipsy as trip-hop, but the Californian duo of Tim Digulla and David Gardner certainly used many of the same tools as their European peers. Pillaging loops from a wide variety of lounge and exotica records, Digulla and Gardner came up with a dusty, defiant and undoubtedly downbeat look at sound collage. Since it veered away from obvious breaks and beats, Trip Tease actually holds up markedly better than some other records of the era, and ends up sounding closer in style to David Holmes, with a smoky, cinematic quality.


43. Justin Warfield Field Trip To Planet 9 (Qwest, 1993)

Released a year before the term trip-hop was coined in Mixmag , Justin Warfield’s first and only solo album is included here largely thanks to Strictly Kev, who recently pointed out its relevance  with regard to the music’s supposed psychedelic properties. My Field Trip To Planet 9 is a rap album, cut from the same cloth as Check Your Head -era Beastie Boys and Digable Planets. But remove its vocals and behold music that sounds like it wouldn’t be out of place on Mo’ Wax or Ninja Tune a few years later. At its best, trip-hop was music for b-boys on acid, as Warfield sang on the album’s single. A year later, he provided the vocals for Bomb The Bass’s ‘Bug Powder Dust’, another bonafide rap-on-acid classic that got the trip-hop treatment via Paris’s La Funk Mob and Vienna’s Kruder & Dorfmeister.


42. Smith & Mighty Bass Is Maternal (More Rockers/!K7, 1995)

You can’t have a conversation about trip-hop without mentioning Bristol, and you can’t talk about the Bristol scene without giving a nod to Smith & Mighty. The West Country duo took soundsystem culture and a hefty scoop of the ideas informing an increasingly popular jungle scene and helped formulate an entire sound. Without them, Portishead, Tricky and Massive Attack simply wouldn’t sound the same. Bass Is Maternal is the best representation of their scope, and illustrates their experimentation as they attempted to summarize the meeting point between UK rave culture and Jamaican dub. It’s not always successful, but to ignore it is to disregard an important chapter in British musical history.


41. DJ Vadim U.S.S.R Repertoire (The Theory of Verticality) (Ninja Tune, 1996)

The first of Vadim’s four albums for Ninja Tune, U.S.S.R Repertoire is a weeded-out take on an American musical form by a Russian immigrant living in the English capital – an instrumental microcosm of hip-hop’s globalisation. Beneath a layer of simplicity, there is depth to Vadim’s approach; the beats feel expansive, the music inviting the listener to cradle in the grooves of the breaks and warmth of the bass. Much of this debut also acts as an echo of what Wordsound and We™ were doing across the ocean at the same time. As Vadim’s 1995 debut on his own Jazz Fudge imprint proclaimed, heads weren’t ready.


40. Funki Porcini Hed Phone Sex (Ninja Tune, 1995)

After a decade penning film and TV music in Italy, British producer James Braddell decided to head to London and set up his own studio, where he would use some of his commercial writing tricks to come up with Funki Porcini, one of the most recognizable names on Ninja Tune’s early roster. This was trip-hop with a side helping of very English humour, from the moniker itself to the record’s awkwardly suggestive cover. Musically, Braddell laid out a template that would be traced over for years to come with his combination of dusty hip-hop rhythms and booming dub bass. The swirling, reverb-drenched samples just added an extra layer of thick smoke to an already bloodshot premise.


39. Red Snapper Prince Blimey (Warp, 1996)

If the elephant in the room here is acid jazz, Red Snapper are one of the rare acts who addressed it head-on. Prince Blimey is their first full-length and is certainly more overtly jazzy than most of the records we’ve highlighted on this list. That’s not a negative though, the trio – a bassist, guitarist and drummer – had genuine chops, and managed to inject their musical training into a more contemporary mode, touching on trip-hop and drum & bass without ever sounding forced. It’s a concoction that might now sound too close to the coffee table dreck that sat next to a copy of American Psycho and a rolled up tenner at the close of the millennium, but Red Snapper managed, somehow, to keep things edgy and unusual. They even, somewhat inexplicably, ended up touring with The Prodigy.


38. Various Artists DJ Kicks: Kruder & Dorfmeister (!K7, 1996)

Despite becoming the figureheads of Austria’s downbeat scene (a continental take on trip-hop), Viennese duo Kruder & Dorfmeister never released an album. Instead it was through their debut EP, G-Stoned , and absurdly popular mix CDs that they accrued fame. Their 1996 contribution to !K7’s DJ-Kicks series captured the sweet spot between the blunted grooves of chill-out rooms and the rolling breaks of jungle, an approach they’d refine two years later on The K&D Sessions . K&D’s arrival on the scene came at a time when trip-hop had started to resemble a safe version of hip-hop for those seeking thrills without effort, and their mixes remain as close as you can get to the bland, coffee table take on the genre without feeling too sick.


37. Wagon Christ Throbbing Pouch (Rising High Records, 1994)

With releases under a variety of aliases on seminal labels like Ninja Tune, Mo’ Wax, Planet Mu and Rephlex throughout the 1990s, Luke Vibert is one of the artists that best connects the dots between the various styles and ideas that fed into trip-hop. His second release as Wagon Christ pieces together elements from hip-hop, the burgeoning UK dance music scene and electro into a colourful sonic puzzle that glides along in splendid fashion. Or as Select put it at the time, “the missing link between Aphex Twin and Mo’ Wax.”


36. Tim ‘Love’ Lee Confessions of a Selector (Tummy Touch, 1997)

As boss of the Tummy Touch label, Tim ‘Love’ Lee had an important part to play in the development of downbeat and trip-hop, not least thanks to his discovery of future genre stars Groove Armada, but the less said about that the better. Confessions of a Selector might be his finest achievement, not quite reaching fully into the trip-hop cookie jar, instead relying on Lee’s estimable crate digging expertise. The hallmarks of the genre are there, but prettied up with luscious tropical vistas and an eccentric (but smart) cut-and-paste quality that isn’t a million miles from US duo Tipsy.


35. Psychonauts Time Machine (Mo’ Wax, 1998)

Psychonauts were Mo’ Wax’s secret weapon, so much so that James Lavelle had them provide mixes under his name – ghost mixed, if you will. Time Machine was his payment for services rendered, and it’s a fine document of the era, not only rounding up some of Mo’ Wax’s finest moments, but also showing just how important turntablism and truly creative mixing was to the scene’s development. Most songs don’t get more than a minute of air time as the duo power through almost 50 tracks in half an hour, blending together cuts from genre luminaries DJ Krush, Luke Vibert, DJ Shadow, La Funk Mob and more. If you need a quick-to-digest taster of the genre, this is as good as it gets.


34. Prince Paul Psychoanalysis (What Is It?) (Wordsound, 1996)

We can already hear the furious typing of wronged hip-hop heads asking with disgust why Prince Paul is even on this list. Psychoanalysis is here for a bunch of reasons: it was originally released by Wordsound, a label most associated (wrongly or not) with illbient, NYC’s answer to trip-hop; it’s a rare example of a fully instrumental hip-hop album from a city that, in the 1990s, had no time for anything that didn’t have rappers on it (Skiz Fernando Jr., who ran the label, recounted stories of Fat Beats refusing to stock the album at the time); and it’s basically 15 tracks of Prince Paul taking his whole skit philosophy to its most absurd conclusion. For all these reasons and more, Psychoanalysis remains a slept-on classic from the 1990s, a half-way point between trip-hop’s European roots and its infatuation with American hip-hop.


33. The Herbalizer Blow Your Headphones (Ninja Tune, 1997)

Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba’s The Herbalizer project was a fine example of trip-hop’s most visible back-and-forth with “proper” hip-hop. They weren’t afraid to work with emcees, and on Blow Your Headphones , their second album, they found a kindred spirit in Natural Resource’s What? What?, now better known as Jean Grae. She added an important element to Wherry and Teeba’s jazz-flecked backdrops, and while it’s certainly true that many of trip-hop’s consumers were looking for a safer alternative to charged US rap, The Herbalizer walked the tightrope admirably, and were markedly more successful in bridging the genres than many of their peers, who buckled when attempting to integrate emcees.


32. The Bug Tapping the Conversation (Wordsound, 1997)

Another release that will likely raise a few eyebrows for its inclusion, The Bug’s debut album nonetheless fits within the wider idea of what trip-hop could, and should, be about. There are a few other reasons too: it was released on Wordsound; DJ Vadim provided the drum samples; and, like the best trip-hop releases of the 1990s, it was a soundtrack for life, with the listener invited to let their mind fill in the blanks. The blend of hip-hop, dub and industrial influences that would go on to characterise Martin’s work is found here at its rawest and tracks like ‘Those Tapes Are Dangerous’ show a darker side to trip-hop’s blunted potential.


31. Neotropic Mr Brubaker’s Strawberry Alarm Clock (Ntone, 1998)

Riz Maslen is often more widely associated with electronica (no doubt thanks to her early association with Future Sound of London), but her second Neotropic album Mr Brubaker’s Strawberry Alarm Clock is one of the trip-hop era’s hidden gems. The record appeared on the Ninja Tune sister label Ntone, and is one of the few full-lengths on this list that still sounds truly bizarre and alien. On top of the usual dusty breaks, Maslen lavished elements absorbed from IDM’s palette but left behind its seemingly random, artificial bent. The conversation between trip-hop and IDM was very visible in the late 90s – Plaid being the most obvious example – but Maslen avoided many of the trappings of both scenes, emerging with a record that was probably “too future” for most beatheads.

30. Various Artists Headz (A Soundtrack Of Experimental Beathead Jams.) (Mo’ Wax, 1994)

After a forgettable false start peddling iffy acid jazz, Mo’ Wax made a stylistic shift in 1994, kickstarting a four-year period that continues to resonate two decades on. The first Headz compilation is a neat 18-track digest of that transition, a declaration of what was to come. Influences, ambitions and comments on the status quo of the time are found in the slowed down grooves and samples as well as the track titles: ‘Ravers Suck Our Sound’, ‘Contemplating Jazz’, ‘In Flux’, ‘The Time Has Come’. The titular beatheads may have seemed like a stoned, uncreative bunch at the time but their aesthetic has proven resilient. Alongside obvious names like DJ Shadow, La Funk Mob and R.P.M, Headz also featured Nightmares On Wax, Autechre, Howie B. and various members of Major Force.


29. Various Artists Eleven Phases (Sublime, 1998)

Eleven Phases is a true gem, a little-known compilation of downtempo and instrumental tracks from many of Detroit’s finest techno artists including Robert Hood, Kenny Larkin, Eddie Fowlkes and Anthony Shakir. Originally released in Japan only, the compilation makes for a fascinating snapshot of the hip-hop roots and leanings of the city’s dance music pioneers. Will Web’s ‘Cosmic Kung-Fu Funk’ slows down techno’s rawness to a blunted, hip-hop-influenced slouch while Robert Hood’s ‘Mystique’ wouldn’t be out of place on a !K7 compilation. Despite emerging entirely outside of the 1990s trip-hop world, Eleven Phases shows how the core ideas and principles of the aesthetic bled into various scenes and cities throughout the decade.


28. Solex Solex vs. Hitmeister (Matador, 1998)

It makes sense that one of the best (and weirdest) records in a genre that deifies crate diggers should come from a record store owner. Elisabeth Esselink’s debut album was hard to categorize when it landed in 1998, there were elements pilfered from plenty of genres but not really enough of one or the other for categorization. Not only this, but Solex vs. Hitmeister emerged on the Matador label, then best known for releasing indie records. It was certainly aimed at a different crowd from the usual green-thumbed beatheads with a complete collection of Mo’ Wax 12″s and a line of Gundam figurines on their desk, and that was a good thing. Esselink was a breath of fresh air, and Solex vs. Hitmeister ‘s peculiar charms still resonate as she tangles her voice through hiccuping collages of unwieldy samples and collapsing drum machine loops.


27. Various Artists Funkjazztical Tricknology (Ninja Tune, 1995)

Released in 1995, the first Ninja Tune compilation arrived between the two Headz volumes from Mo’ Wax, providing a perfect counterpoint that showed how similar yet different the London powerhouses were at the time. Focused largely on early Ninja artists such as 9 Lazy 9, The Herbaliser, Coldcut and DJ Food, it also features appearance from Austria’s downbeat kings Kruder & Dorfmeister and Attica Blues, who had just joined Mo’ Wax. As with the first Headz volume, Funkjazztical Tricknology also marked the beginning of a shift for Ninja Tune with its releases becoming essential not just for the music but also their design, packaging and words of in-house scribe Shane Solanki, who invented the Ninjaspeak that played into the label’s growing mythos.


26. DJ Food Recipe For Disaster (New Breed, 1995)

No other artist embodies Ninja Tune quite like DJ Food, the multifaceted DJ project set up in the early days of the label by its founders, Coldcut. As its name implies, DJ Food was set up to provide DJs with the necessary ingredients to do their thing. For the first five years, the collective – Coldcut, Strictly Kev and PC – released loops and other tools via the Jazz Brakes series, some of which is great, while some is just as forgettable as the more tepid early Mo’ Wax releases. In 1995, DJ Food went for a meatier offering with their debut album, A Recipe For Disaster . Using the same approach that had made their Solid Steel mixes and live appearances unmissable, they pieced together 16 tracks that veer from downtempo moody to breakbeat furious and proved that they knew their way around the trip-hop kitchen just as well as the best of them.


25. DJ Krush & Toshinori Kondo Ki Oku (Apollo, 1996)

The collision of avant-garde jazz and trip-hop was bound to happen. Experimental players throughout the world were desperate to open up a conversation with younger producers, and trip-hop (as well as drum & bass) was an obvious crash-pad, considering its liberal pilfering of the genre via sampling. Ki Oku is one of the best examples of this collision, despite trumpeter Toshinori Kondo turning in a surprisingly straightforward performance throughout. (This is a musician who had gone head to head with Peter Brötzmann and John Zorn – we weren’t exactly expecting him to toot out a cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Sun Is Shining’.) But it works. What could, in the wrong hands, have been one of the worst abuses of both jazz and trip-hop tropes, is actually remarkably measured and incredibly listenable.


24. We™ As Is. (Asphodel, 1997)

We™ formed by accident in the early 1990s after DJ Olive had been asked to contribute a track to Wordsound’s Certified Dope Vol.1 compilation for which he roped in fellow Brooklyn musicians Lloop and Once11. In the following years the trio became one of the emblematic acts of New York’s short-lived illbient scene, drunk off the possibilities afforded by the experiments that drove their creative ecosystem, where ambient, dub and hip-hop floated freely in a haze of smoke between cheap Brooklyn lofts and downtown squats. Their 1997 debut for Asphodel is a blistering run through hip-hop instrumentals, ambient lulls and drum & bass exercises that highlight the music’s chill-out roots and breakbeat fetish.


23. Amon Tobin Bricolage (Ninja Tune, 1997)

Known for his virtuoso sound design and increasingly complicated A/V shows, Brazilian producer Amon Tobin might seem like an odd addition to a list of trip-hop albums, but bear with us. His second album Bricolage emerged from the dust of trip-hop, appearing on Ninja Tune and offering a view of the scene through cracked glass. Tobin provided a more precise (and, let’s be honest, less stoned) take on the trip-hop sound, absorbing drum & bass and IDM influences without batting an eyelid. The result is an accomplished midpoint between the edit-heavy trickery of Squarepusher and Aphex Twin and the moody soundscapes of Krush, Vibert and Shadow.


22. Third Eye Foundation Semtex (Linda’s Strange Vacation, 1996)

Matt Elliott may have been a total outlier to most of the scenes that piled up to intersect at trip-hop, but Semtex is an example of how certain musicians could absorb familiar tropes without sacrificing originality. Elliott’s Third Eye Foundation debut fused breaks and booming sub bass with sounds more common to shoegaze: endless reverb, screaming and grizzled distortion. Traces of drum & bass (which would emerge more clearly on Elliott’s follow-up album Ghost ) slipped in-and-out of focus, and Semtex doesn’t really feel like part of one movement or another, rather adjacent and dizzy from ether and cheap draw. If anyone tries to tell you Bristol was just Portishead, Tricky and Roni Size, play ’em this burner.


21. Attica Blues Attica Blues (Mo’ Wax, 1997)

Like many of the artists and albums featured in this list, Attica Blues is trip-hop thanks to the location and affiliations of its creators at the time. A trio composed of producers Charlie Dark (then D’Afro) and Tony Nwachukwu (of CD-R fame) alongside singer Roba El-Essawy, Attica Blues made jazz-influenced hip-hop that happened to have a woman singing on it instead of emcees rapping. In the 1990s, thanks to genre purism, that meant your shit wasn’t rap and therefore wasn’t hip-hop. Attica Blues is one of Mo’ Wax’s better and more slept-on full lengths, a deft exercise in sampling, programming and arranging, back when doing so took more than a few clicks of a mouse.


The best trip-hop owed plenty both to the art of mixing and the cut-and-paste aesthetic of the 1980s, which is why a handful of releases on this list are mix CDs rather than albums. Cold Krush Cuts is a perfect example of how those two ideas influenced the music at its peak, and has the bonus of acting as a handshake between the two London labels most associated with the tag. Krush was Mo’ Wax’s Japanese weapon, and Coldcut and DJ Food were Ninja’s own zen masters of audio collage. The result is a still-classic double CD with the London boys arguably edging it thanks to a wide selection and craftsmanship reminiscent of their acclaimed Journeys By DJ entry; DJ Krush goes for the mind, limiting his selections to only six of Ninja Tune’s artists and slicing the cuts up in his trademark less-is-more approach.


19. Depth Charge 9 Deadly Venoms (Vinyl Solution, 1994)

A natural progression from the movie-obsessed NY rap of Wu-Tang Clan et al, 9 Deadly Venoms used a backbone of cult film samples to underpin gritty hip-hop instrumentals that helped inform a fast-growing scene. This was the blueprint for the Mo’ Wax 12″s to come: music based around the kind of nerd fandom that in 1994 was still a counter-culture. It still plays like an authentic labour of love for Jonathan Saul Kane, as he blends chops from The Evil Dead and Dirty Harry with collapsing breaks and ominous textures – it’s hardly surprising that the producer ended up establishing a company to issue UK versions of Hong Kong action movies.


18. Nearly God Nearly God (Island, 1996)

Described by Tricky as “a collection of brilliant, incomplete demos,” Nearly God is a bright, often-forgotten reminder of just how unmatched Tricky was in the 1990s. He called the record Nearly God , for fuck’s sake, and that wasn’t far from the truth. The album acted as a stop-gap between Tricky’s genre-defining Maxinquaye  and his difficult (but almost equally brilliant) about-turn, Pre-Millenium Tension . It stands apart simply because of its scope – there are appearances from regular collaborator Martina Topley-Bird, but also tracks with Alison Moyet, Björk, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Terry Hall. What sounds like it could have been a self-indulgent victory lap for (back then) one of the UK’s most notorious stars is somehow a coherent, exemplary document of a peculiar time in British music. Tricky also has to be commended for having the good sense to veto a collaboration with Damon Albarn (and then Suggs) which could have easily been the straw that broke the camel’s back.


17. Skylab #2: 1999 “Large As Life And Twice As Natural” (Eye Q , 1999)

Skylab was a short-lived collective composed of Matt Ducasse, Howie B and the Japanese duo of Tosh and Kudo, aka Love TKO from Major Force. They released two albums on Sven Vath’s Eye Q label before disappearing, and their work was among the better but lesser-known of the trip-hop era. Ducasse has gone on record to state that their attachment with the genre was unintentional and that he saw their work as “more expansive, […] more in common with collage music […] or soundtracks.” And yet, those ideas were also at the heart of what the best trip-hop could be. In many ways Skylab were not so different to Portishead in both their intentions and execution. Their second album was released just as the label folded, leading it disappear into the cracks of time until a reissue by Tummy Touch earlier this year. Howie B had left by this point, and vocalist Debbie Sanders joined the trio to craft a beautiful record which really goes out there and was praised by both critics and knowledgeable fans.


16. Laika Silver Apples of the Moon (Too Pure, 1994)

Emerging from post-rock band Moonshake, Laika orbited the trip-hop genre without succumbing to many of its less flattering trappings. When guitarist and vocalist Margaret Fiedler commented in 1995 that her band was “just like trip-hop, but much much faster,” she was doing herself a massive disservice. A cursory listen might not even reveal too many obvious similarities – like Portishead, Laika were taking elements of post-rock, krautrock and certainly hip-hop to provide something reactionary, and different from the pervasive, laddish Britpop that was polluting the charts at the time. While their contemporaries Stereolab (and later, Broadcast) were experimenting with drum machines and synthesizers, Laika were integrating samples and a deep passion for jazz and dub. Silver Apples of the Moon is one of the most singular albums on this list, and one of the most rewarding.


15. Nightmares on Wax Smokers Delight (Warp, 1995)

Few records from this era quite capture the nexus of styles that trip-hop could represent at its best than Nightmares On Wax’s second album for Warp. Pulling from the same influences that defined the late 1980s rave explosion, Smokers Delight reconfigured the UK’s summer of love for the Discman generation while remaining just as suited to chill-out room comedowns or Ibiza sunset sessions.


14. REQ One (Skint, 1997)

Sure, Skint might still be best known for breaking Fatboy Slim, but don’t turn away just yet. Brighton-based producer (and sometime graf writer) REQ offered up one of the most blunted takes on the genre, almost by accident. His compositions didn’t pander to the popularity of the growing trip-hop scene, instead dwelling in a noisy, near-ambient back room. He made hip-hop instrumentals that sounded like they were being beamed in from a parallel universe via 14.4kbps modem, and in doing so, avoided being both pigeonholed and, well, popular. His brilliant debut album One has barely dated, fitting as well alongside DJ Spooky or even Dälek as it does anything the Bristol scene had to offer. One sounds, at times, like an MPC tumbling down a distant stairwell into a muddy lake, and we couldn’t think of a better recommendation than that.


13. Crooklyn Dub Consortium Certified Dope Vol.1 (Wordsound, 1995)

Skiz Fernando Jr.’s Wordsound label was in many ways the dubbed-out New York answer to Mo’ Wax, a home for what its founder coined dub-hop: music that blended the dusty boom bap that ruled the city at the time with the mixing desk mysticism of Jamaican dub. Certified Dope Vol.1 was Fernando’s attempt at cataloguing the music of like-minded artists who populated the Greenpoint and Williamsburg neighbourhoods in the early 1990s, including the likes of We™, Dr. Israel and Bill Laswell. Swinging like a pendulum between full-on dub and head-nod instrumentals, the compilation was one of the first to highlight the parallels between hip-hop’s sampling aesthetic and Jamaica’s dub.


12. DJ Krush Meiso (Mo’ Wax / Sony, 1995)

I imagine that choosing a favourite DJ Krush album is a little like asking parents to pick their favourite kid. A perfectionist who infused an American cultural import with the meticulousness of his own culture, the Japanese producer was the Far East’s answer to DJ Shadow, and together they would become Mo’ Wax’s flagship artists. On Meiso he dug for samples and looped them with the same precision, sensitivity and attention to detail as the finest calligrapher or ukiyo-e artist. The addition of CL Smooth, The Roots’ Black Thought and Malik B as well as Big Shug and Guru showed that trip-hop’s instrumental aesthetic could also provide the backdrop for some fine rap moments.


11. David Holmes Let’s Get Killed (Go! Beat, 1997)

For his second album, Belfast’s David Holmes walked around New York on acid recording voices and sounds. The results were weaved into the music for Let’s Get Killed which, like his 1995 debut, acts as a sort of soundtrack for an imaginary movie. The process also resulted in one of the best albums of the era – a psychedelic collage of rhythms, textures and styles that jumps between hip-hop, dub and dance music and rests on the back of Holmes’ urban trip.  Let’s Get Killed  has aged gracefully and still sounds just as engrossing as it did nearly 20 years ago.


10. DJ Spooky Songs of a Dead Dreamer (Asphodel, 1996)

Say what you like about Spooky and his over-explanation (those liner notes) and academic slant, Songs of a Dead Dreamer might sound better now than it did back in 1996. Hobbled at the time by the “illbient” tag, Spooky had come to the same conclusions as many of his European contemporaries: that a blend of hip-hop rhythms, dub bass and ambient soundscapes sounded pretty damn inspiring. Songs of a Dead Dreamer is his crowning achievement, and while its construction is relatively simple – loops fed through Spooky’s desk and piped through various effects – the effect is hypnotic and beguiling. While others may have pilfered from dub at a surface level, Spooky was using the Jamaican techniques (mixing board trickery, tape delay etc) to produce alien soundscapes that were a million miles from the comparatively safe sounds of Up, Bustle and Out or Funki Porcini.


9. DJ Cam Abstract Manifesto (P-Vine, 1996)

Soon after his debut in 1994, Paris’s DJ Cam positioned himself as the European equivalent to DJ Krush and DJ Shadow – a hip-hop enthusiast capable of weaving together abstract, blunted beats with finesse. Within a few years, he’d parlayed his underground kudos for an attempt at more standard rap fare. Abstract Manifesto is one of his lesser-known releases, a Japan-only album that tapped into the same minimal approach as Krush with added jazz flourishes and junglistic detours. ‘No Competition’ remains one of his best compositions to date, and a staple of sets from the era.


8. Major Force West 93-97 (Mo’ Wax, 1999)

It’s testament to the power of the ideas underpinning trip-hop at the time that this list includes an album spearheaded by a Japanese pop musician who had a hand in the new wave movement. Major Force was the name of Toshio Nakanishi’s hip-hop project, originally conceived in 1988 after a near-decade long infatuation with the music. Comprised of Nakanishi and former Melon bandmates Gota Yashiki and Masayuki Kudo, Major Force released new material as well as an anthology titled The Original Art-Form on Mo’ Wax in the mid-to-late 1990s. The latter is well worth your time, featuring early work and collaborations with Bristol’s DJ Milo, another link in the global thread that supported the music’s most daring leaps. In a 2014 interview, Nakanishi admitted that his fascination with hip-hop stemmed from recognising its links with Burroughs’ cut-ups, stating that “in collage, something happens where you never expected it to.”

93-97 compiles the group’s work during their years living in London, hence the twist to their name. It’s a brilliant and bizarre collection of ideas from a culturally out-of-place trio, who got it because they were so far from the “it” everyone was talking about. In those same years, Nakanishi and Kudo also worked as part of Skylab and you can hear similarities in this collection with the latter’s #1 debut album, especially in how the best of it isn’t the downtempo beats but the drawn-out compositions which have the feel of improvised studio jams. Later on in his interview, Nakanishi points out that London, at the time, felt as psychedelic as the 1960s, with the group seeking to inject some of this spirit into hip-hop, which in England was called trip-hop.


7. Various Artists Headz 2 (Mo’ Wax, 1996)

Just as the first Headz marked Mo’ Wax’s ascendance, the second compilation crowned its achievements and enshrined its best-known artists in an expansive collection of 53 tracks. While the first volume feels a little dated, Headz 2 has aged remarkably well, in part thanks to its broad representation of what trip-hop could be and where it came from. That means music from the Beastie Boys, UNKLE, Money Mark, The Black Dog, Dillinja, DJ Shadow, Danny Breaks, Tortoise and Urban Tribe among many. Headz 2 is also testament to James Lavelle’s impeccable A&R skills, and his talent for making sense of the various 1990s post-rave threads that informed the music.


6. Leila Like Weather (Rephlex, 1998)

Leila Arab’s debut album stuck out like a sore thumb when it appeared on Rephlex in 1998. Not because it was more extreme than Rephlex’s usual fare, but because it was actually a proper album, with songs, a narrative and little of the label’s usual tongue-in-cheek antics. Arab had pieced together a hazy, underwater daydream of a record with half-heard soul, pop and chiming ice cream truck electronics swirling together in a soup of memory and emotion. Not quite trip-hop and not quite illbient, it certainly wasn’t IDM either, despite an intriguing “post production” credit from a certain Richard D. James. It’s one of the most disarming records of the era, and manages to fulfil the promise of trip-hop without succumbing to its trappings. Like Weather might be the one record on this list that has the most in common with Maxinquaye , and that should tell you something about its quality.


5. Luke Vibert Big Soup (Mo’ Wax, 1997)

Luke Vibert’s first record under his real name, Big Soup summed up the Mo’ Wax catalogue perfectly, even if Vibert was only casually adjacent to the scene. Maybe that helped, as his productions have stood the test of time, sitting somewhere in between the sample-rich collages of DJ Shadow and the tight, precise constructions of DJ Krush and Major Force. The thing that Vibert had and which many of his peers always lacked was a sense of humour, and as track titles like ‘No Turn Unstoned’ might suggest, that helped remove some of the inherent pretentiousness of the scene, breaking down another barrier that walled it off to potential listeners. Vibert’s produced more complicated records since, and he’s produced more successful records too, but Big Soup is a perfect picture of a certain moment in time, painted with a British eccentricity that cuts through the posturing that would later derail the scene.


4. Massive Attack Blue Lines (Island, 1991)

In a 1998 feature for The New York Times , Guy Garcia posited Blue Lines as the blueprint for trip-hop, an argument that holds some weight if you consider that parts of the album were as old as the days of The Wild Bunch, from which the trio emerged. Blue Lines made its mark thanks to a mix of ideas: England’s love affair with sound systems; the comedown from its own summer of love in 1989; and hip-hop’s nascent dominance and rapacious aesthetic. Blue Lines was all of these things and more. Whether or not you consider it trip-hop is at this point in time purely a matter of personal beliefs and largely irrelevant considering its legacy. In 2009, Daddy G told The Observer : “What we were trying to do was create dance music for the head, rather than the feet.” A statement of intent for trip-hop if there ever was one.


3. DJ Shadow Endtroducing (Mo’ Wax, 1996)

DJ Shadow’s first album for Mo’ Wax is the kind of debut that places the bar so high in its mastery of a new musical vocabulary that even its creator can never hope to better it, forever living beneath the weight of what he’s accomplished. Endtroducing is the lingua franca of trip-hop, an album crafted by a hip-hop fanatic outside of any direct sphere of influence but his own. Like all of the releases on this list, to define Endtroducing as trip-hop is to limit it, to take away the transformative powers it had to imbue listeners with a new understanding of the potentials of hip-hop as an instrumental music. It’s not just the music that made hip-hop suck in 1996, it was also the critics who couldn’t conceive that albums like Endtroducing were what they claimed to be and nothing more.


2. Portishead Dummy (Go! Beat, 1994)

Portishead’s 1994 debut was soaked in the same DIY, melting pot approach that typified much of Bristol’s output at the time. From Massive Attack to Smith & Mighty and early Full Cycle releases, the city’s greatest hits in that decade were all about the blending of aesthetics with a brazen irreverence for rules. As a result the music felt both impossible and irresistible. Two decades on, Dummy still sounds as hypnotic and engrossing as it did then, a gritty take on hip-hop, 1960s movie soundtracks and traditional songwriting that laid bare the potentials afforded by sidestepping rigid genre formats.


1. Tricky Maxinquaye (Island, 1995)

This is the one, really. Tricky named his debut solo album after his mother, Maxine Quaye, and that should already indicate just how personal the record is. He’d sharpened his skills as a member of Massive Attack (indeed some of his rhymes from Blue Lines were recycled here), but his solo material went far beyond his former collaborators’ scope. Tricky was pulling from a darker well, and allowed his struggles, both external and internal, to sit at the album’s epicentre. The result was some of the most tortured and original electronic music cut to wax which gave birth to an era where “weird” became fashionable.

He was assisted by his then-girlfriend Martina Topley-Bird, whose nonchalant purrs offered a foil for Tricky’s hoarse raps. She was the smooth to Tricky’s tab-addled rough, and grounded the project for many listeners, no doubt helping people to lump it in with the similarly located Portishead.

Tricky hated being labeled trip-hop (“This is not a coffee table album. I don’t think you can have dinner parties to it,” he stated in 1996) and has rallied against it ever since, but there can be no argument that, for better or for worse, he left an indelible mark on British music, electronic and otherwise. If covering Public Enemy’s racially charged ‘Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos’ and recasting Chuck D as a mixed-race female from Bristol (singing, instead of rapping) isn’t hitting the genre’s conceit squarely in the face, we’re not sure what is. “If I supposedly invented it, why not call it Tricky-hop?” he said, before releasing Pre-Millenium Tension . He wasn’t wrong.

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10 Essential Trip-Hop Albums

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Last month, Treble explored the greatest albums in hip-hop released in the 1990s . It was a great exercise in being immersed in the beat-heavy sounds of the era, but it also inspired us to do a post-script of sorts on the outgrowth of hip-hop that happened in the Bristol club scene in the UK. Using hip-hop beats as a foundation for darker, late-night grooves and smoky atmosphere, trip-hop created a fascinating fusion. As the genre celebrates its 25th anniversary (assuming you count Massive Attack’s “ Any Love ” as the first real trip-hop release, which we suppose is debatable), we assembled our list of 10 of the best trip hop albums. Because nobody loves us — not like you do.

Portishead Dummy best trip-hop albums

Portishead – Dummy

(1994; Go! Discs/London)

This is not the beginning of trip-hop — that arguably started back in 1988 when Massive Attack released their debut single. But it wasn’t until around 1994 that the phrase began to make the rounds outside of its incubating scene in Bristol, UK, and began to circulate in the U.S. and beyond. And it’s thanks in large part to Dummy , the breathtaking debut album by Portishead. Named for a small English town, Portishead took a hazy, dark approach to pop music, blending crackly hip-hop beats with sparse guitar licks, noir film samples and a fetish for John Barry. Dummy became a cult hit on the strength of gorgeous, catchy singles like “Sour Times” and “ Glory Box ,” though between those tracks, the group stuffed in moments of soul balladry, heavy-hitting boom-bap beats and swampy, psychedelic dirges. At the time it was completely alien and strange, but compelling in spite of the weirdness that characterized it. That didn’t last — within a few years, everyone would come to copy the Portishead template, diluting it a little each time until it lost its intrigue. Even Portishead lost interest; in 2008, the release of the fucked-up, paranoid sounding Third represented a huge transition for the band, revealing once again that Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons & Co. are about innovation above all. – JT

trip hop music examples

Nightmares on Wax – Smoker’s Delight

(1995; Warp)

After releasing an album on then-fledgling label Warp Records in 1991, Nightmares on Wax founder George Evelyn stepped away to run a dance club in Leeds, DJ, and start his own record label.  The context is important because unlike many of the other notable trip-hop releases, Smokers Delight has a distinct DJ feel to it, with an aesthetic that relies on multiple melodies being seamlessly layered on top of each other throughout the course of a song. The transitions between movements are always fluid as new pieces are pulled into the picture by a crossfader that moves at a snail’s pace. Take for instance the opening track, “ Nights Introlude ,” which weaves in a “Summer In The City” sample — the one made popular by Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By” — after already establishing a perfectly fine high hat and string-based groove. Evelyn clearly has a fine ear for samples and uses them tastefully but frequently to extremely satisfying ends. Smoker’s Delight has aged surprising well over the years; for all of the styles that Evelyn touches on throughout the record from hip hop to funk to dub, there’s a unifying coherence that’s the true litmus test of a master DJ — a quality that’s difficult to map when done well but easy to spot when botched.- DG

best trip-hop albums Tricky

Tricky – Maxinquaye

(1995; Island)

When Tricky left Massive Attack after Blue Lines , there were questions about how he would respond to the challenge of establishing himself as a solo artist. With Maxinquaye , one of the most prodigious debuts of the past three decades, Tricky put those questions to rest with one fell swoop. As enthralling and bold as Blue Lines is, Maxinquaye arguably transcends it with greater scope, ambition, and passion (the album is named after Tricky’s mother, who committed suicide). One can simply play any of the tracks on the album to test this assertion; from the bony rattle of “ Ponderosa ” — which brilliantly samples Shakespeare’s Sister — to “Abbaon Fat Tracks,” a distorted sex ballad, to the languidly gorgeous closer “Feed Me,” Maxinquaye passes every time. Truthfully, its only downside to speak of is that it set the bar too high for Tricky, who hasn’t quite been able to match its brilliance again. Bad for Tricky, good for all of us. – CB

best trip-hop albums Laika

Laika – Sounds of the Satellites

(1997; Sire)

Formed by former Moonshake vocalist Margaret Fiedler and producer/engineer Guy Fixsen, Laika took trip-hop to weird new places. Though the duo used beats and grooves in much the same way that Portishead or Massive Attack did, their manic, polyrhythmic arrangements were far more complex and weird than the club crowd might have been ready for. The lead single from Sound of the Satellites , “ Prairie Dog ,” slinks along a dub-inspired 7/4 rhythm, and the frantic pace of tracks like “Poor Gal” feel more like Rema in In Light -era Talking Heads or Metal Box -era Public Image Limited than anything happening in Bristol. This is intense, but fun stuff, and maybe not the most traditional of trip-hop records, but definitely one of the best.

Air Moon Safari review

Air – Moon Safari

(1998; Source/Caroline)

Air may not fit the British, café lounge archetype that’s associated with a majority of popular trip-hop acts, but the French duo’s first full-length expands on all of the genre’s chill-out aims. Guest vocalist Beth Hirsch contributes to what would become one of Air’s all-time most popular songs, “All I Need”, as well as another album highlight, “You Make It Easy.” Believers in warm introductions and kind goodbyes, Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel put their two most languid and spacey tracks at the front and back of Moon Safari . Starting things off is “ La Femme D’Argent ,” an instrumental that stays tethered to a thick-stringed, yet subtle bassline, but stretches out with spiraling arpeggios, spunky synth keys and refreshingly human hand claps. Moon Safari isn’t so much an album you stop listening to as it is a kind of dream you wake up from; the exact events from the experience are a hazy memory but the color of the ride leaves a vivid, pleasant impression. – DG


Massive Attack – Mezzanine

(1998; Virgin)

Most groups that emerged during the trip-hop era weren’t terribly prolific, and by 1998, a second wave of tepid coffeehouse trip-hop had become the sleepy norm. Having released their last album Protection in 1994, Bristol’s Massive Attack at this point weren’t front and center in the conversation in the same way that Portishead was before taking an extended break, or with the bright flicker that artists like Esthero and Hooverphonic would briefly enjoy. But in the summer of 1998, Massive Attack not only returned, they did so with their best album yet, a dark, sinister head-trip of an album that crept slowly and hit with lethal force. Mezzanine found Massive Attack entering a dark phase in their career, which hasn’t really ever ended, though this is the moment where it’s most potent. The eerie lurch of “Angel,” the stoned dub-funk of “Risingson,” or the evil pulse of “Inertia Creeps” — it amounts to an album by a group seemingly no longer interested in the more positive aspects of club music, as Blue Lines suggested. This is its sweaty, grimy, scraped-up, paranoid, sleazy and possibly even dead underbelly. – JT

trip hop music examples

Morcheeba – Big Calm

(1998; Sire)

Some parts of Morcheeba’s sophomore LP, Big Calm , have not aged well. The background DJ scratching on “Blindfold” feels forced and awkward, “The Music That We Hear” is an unnecessary pop rework of a debut album stand-out (“Moog Island”), and I can practically smell the incense when the sitar comes in on “Shoulder Holster.” Those few awkward elements aside, Big Calm is held up on the merits of a few choice tracks, namely lead single “The Sea,” “Let Me See” and “Over and Over.” Singer Skye Edwards’ relaxed coolness gives each song a degree of levity without ever dropping the sultry edge. It’s a fine line to tip-toe and Edwards always stays a few short steps in front, enticing the listener with the promise of satisfying hooks that come when expected. From the loud bounce of “Let Me See” to the sparse “Over and Over” Edwards has the right balance of tranquility and sexuality to keep heart rates low and attention high. – DG

best trip-hop albums UNKLE

UNKLE – Psyence Fiction

(1998; Mo’ Wax)

For me, as it was with likely most listeners who picked up Psyence Fiction , the big sell was a collaboration between DJ Shadow and Thom Yorke. In the late ’90s, there was no more glorious dream collaboration, Yorke’s vulnerable vocal performance on “ Rabbit In Your Headlights ” matched perfectly by James Lavelle and Josh Davis’ chilly sample arrangement. However, it was just one of many interesting stylistic detours on an album that used trip-hop as a foundation for even bolder experiments. The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft lent his vocals to the epic, string-laden “Lonely Soul,” Mike D and Metallica’s Jason Newstead teamed up on the scrappy hip-hop of “The Knock,” and the then-unknown Badly Drawn Boy helmed the harder rocking “Nursery Rhyme.” Yet the instrumentals dazzled as well, like the gorgeously psychedelic “Unreal,” which was later released in an alternate version with vocals from The Stone Roses’ Ian Brown. It was all very lush and gorgeous, but should anyone get the wrong impression, that UNKLE had no sense of humor, segue “Getting Ahead in the Lucrative Field of Artist Management” dedicated its 54 seconds to a hilarious commercial for a board game called “Ball Buster.” (Snicker…) – JT

best trip-hop albums Goldfrapp

Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain

(2000; Mute)

In the 13 years that have lapsed since Goldfrapp first made their debut with Felt Mountain , they’ve taken many a stylistic detour, from trashy electro on Black Cherry , to beat-driven glam-pop on Supernature , psych-folk on Seventh Tree , and inexplicably upbeat new wave on Head First . And generally speaking, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory do a bang-up job each time they switch up the formula. Yet their debut follows a trip-hop aesthetic in much the same way that Portishead laid it out, with sexy, dark soundscapes that blend the string-laden grandeur of John Barry’s Bond themes with the eccentric folk touch of Lee Hazelwood. It’s one of the group’s most stunning albums altogether, from the sultry shuffle of “Lovely Head” to the lush orchestration of “Pilots.” Whether or not you prefer Goldfrapp in sequins, spandex, furs or forests, it’s hard to argue that Felt Mountain isn’t one hell of an album. – JT

trip hop music examples

Nathaniel Merriweather presents… Lovage – Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By

(2001; 75 Ark)

In 2001, under his “Nathanial Meriweather” moniker, Dan The Automator produced a trip-hop album featuring Jennifer Charles (of Elysian Fields) and Mike Patton (of Faith No More, Tomahawk and Mr. Bungle) on vocals. The mixes on Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By featured Kid Koala on turntables, as well as a couple other Deltron 3030 collaborators. The album paid tribute to Alfred Hitchcock, Serge Gainsbourg, and new wave rockers Berlin. If all that doesn’t convince you to listen to this smooth hour of turntable-heavy trip-hop, I don’t know what will. – AK

No becoming X = fail list

Becoming X was nowhere near good enough to be in any ‘Best of’ list. Kelli Dayton’s voice was never in teh same league as her compatriots.

Where is esbe? He’s in the top ten in my book.

Becomimg x, fuck no lol

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Exploring Trip Hop: A Sonic Journey through Definition, History, and Influential Artists

Exploring Trip Hop: A Sonic Journey through Definition, History, and Influential Artists

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In the vast realm of music genres, one that stands out as an enigmatic and evocative entity is trip hop. This genre, characterized by its blend of electronic beats, downtempo rhythms, and a myriad of atmospheric elements, has left an indelible mark on the music landscape. From its humble beginnings to its widespread influence, trip hop has captured the hearts of listeners and continues to intrigue new generations. This article embarks on an exploratory journey through the essence of trip hop, delving into its definition, tracing its historical roots and development, exploring related genres, and highlighting influential bands and albums that have defined the genre.

Defining the Trip Hop Sound

At its core, trip hop is a genre that defies easy categorization. It’s a hybrid sound that emerged from the electronic and hip-hop scenes, blending together an eclectic range of influences. Trip hop is known for its downtempo beats, often hovering around 90 to 110 BPM, creating a relaxed yet engaging sonic experience. It marries electronic production techniques with elements of hip-hop, jazz, soul, and ambient music, resulting in a moody and atmospheric sound that can transport listeners to otherworldly realms.

The term “trip hop” itself is believed to have been coined by journalist Andy Pemberton in a review of the album “Dummy” by Portishead in 1994. The name aptly captures the genre’s ability to take listeners on a mental journey, often accompanied by a contemplative or introspective mood.

Tracing the Roots: The History and Development

The Origins: The inception of trip hop can be traced back to the early 1990s, when the city of Bristol, UK, served as a fertile ground for musical experimentation. This city’s underground club scene became a breeding ground for innovative artists seeking to break free from conventional genre boundaries. The influences of hip-hop’s rhythmic intricacies, dub’s textural richness, and the nascent electronic music culture converged, giving birth to a sound that defied categorization.

Massive Attack: Pioneering the Sound: A name that stands tall in the annals of trip hop history is Massive Attack. The release of their debut album “Blue Lines” in 1991 marked a pivotal moment for the genre’s evolution. This groundbreaking work introduced a mesmerizing blend of smooth rhythms, soulful vocal samples, and an urban aura. Tracks like “Unfinished Sympathy” encapsulated the genre’s potential to resonate emotionally while delivering intricate production techniques.

Portishead’s “Dummy”: Redefining Trip Hop: The year 1994 witnessed a significant turning point with the release of Portishead’s “Dummy.” This album not only redefined trip hop but also garnered acclaim that extended far beyond its genre’s boundaries. The haunting vocals of Beth Gibbons, paired with Geoff Barrow’s meticulous production, created an atmosphere that was both dark and cinematic. Tracks like “Sour Times” and “Glory Box” showcased the album’s ability to evoke deep emotions through its fusion of melancholic melodies and inventive production.

Tricky’s Gritty Edge: Tricky, a collaborator on Massive Attack’s “Blue Lines,” emerged as another defining figure in the genre’s development. His debut album “Maxinquaye” (1995) brought a gritty and experimental edge to trip hop. Tricky’s unique blend of hip-hop, punk , dub, and industrial music elements presented a darker and more enigmatic side of the genre. The album’s amalgamation of haunting vocals and dissonant textures resonated with those seeking a more unconventional sonic experience.

Bristol Sound and Urban Aesthetics: The emergence of the “Bristol Sound” emphasized the city’s pivotal role in shaping trip hop. This subgenre embraced a more diverse sonic palette, blending elements of trip hop with reggae, funk, and even rock . Acts like Portishead, Massive Attack, and Tricky exemplified the urban aesthetics that characterized Bristol Sound, where introspection met urban decay in a mesmerizing sonic landscape.

Diverse Inspirations and Global Influence

DJ Shadow’s Sonic Mosaic: The United States made its mark on the trip hop landscape with the emergence of DJ Shadow. His debut album “Endtroducing…..” (1996) revolutionized sampling and manipulation techniques, crafting an entire album from a rich tapestry of samples. This intricate sonic mosaic showcased trip hop’s potential to create immersive experiences that blurred the lines between composition and collage.

Traversing Cultural Boundaries: While the genre found its roots in the UK and the US, it transcended geographical borders. DJ Krush, hailing from Japan, added a distinctive Eastern flavor to trip hop. His album “Meiso” (1995) skillfully merged traditional Japanese sounds with the genre’s characteristic beats, resulting in an album that resonated with a global audience.

Influential Artists and Defining Albums

The landscape of trip hop is adorned with visionary artists who have not only defined the genre but also reshaped the contours of modern music. Their groundbreaking albums remain as milestones that continue to resonate with audiences across the globe.

Massive Attack – “Mezzanine” (1998): Building upon their previous successes, Massive Attack’s “Mezzanine” stands as a testament to their evolution and innovation. The album’s dark and brooding atmosphere, coupled with its intricate production, showcased the band’s ability to capture emotions through sound. Tracks like “Teardrop” featuring Elizabeth Fraser are prime examples of how Massive Attack expertly combined ethereal vocals with hypnotic beats to craft an otherworldly experience.

Tricky – “Maxinquaye” (1995): Tricky’s debut album, “Maxinquaye,” emerged as a force that defied conventions. This album, named after his late mother, delved into the depths of his emotional psyche, resulting in a sonic tapestry that intertwined trip hop with elements of punk, dub, and soul. Tracks like “Hell is Round the Corner” epitomize Tricky’s ability to infuse raw emotion into his music, blurring the lines between genres and leaving an indelible mark on the genre’s history.

Portishead – “Dummy” (1994): Portishead’s debut album “Dummy” not only gave the genre its name but also etched their name in trip hop history. The album’s haunting beauty, juxtaposed with melancholic undertones, created an atmospheric landscape that left listeners captivated. Songs like “Glory Box” and “Sour Times” showcased Beth Gibbons’ distinctive voice and the band’s mastery of tension and release, setting the bar for emotional depth within trip hop.

Morcheeba – “Big Calm” (1998): Morcheeba’s sophomore effort “Big Calm” epitomized the genre’s ability to fuse electronic beats with soulful melodies. Skye Edwards’ sultry vocals combined with lush arrangements, producing an album that perfectly encapsulated the laid-back yet emotionally charged essence of trip hop. Tracks like “The Sea” and “Part of the Process” exemplify Morcheeba’s signature sound that resonated with a wide audience.

DJ Shadow – “Endtroducing…..” (1996): DJ Shadow’s debut album “Endtroducing…..” rewrote the rules of sampling and composition. This instrumental masterpiece showcased his expertise in crafting intricate sonic collages from an extensive range of samples. The album’s immersive quality and attention to detail earned it a place among the most influential records in trip hop history, inspiring a generation of electronic music producers.

UNKLE – “ Psyence Fiction ” (1998): UNKLE, spearheaded by James Lavelle, delivered a genre-defying experience with “Psyence Fiction.” Collaborations with diverse artists like Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Richard Ashcroft of The Verve resulted in an album that pushed the boundaries of trip hop. Tracks like “Rabbit in Your Headlights” combined haunting vocals with intricate electronic arrangements, reflecting UNKLE’s exploration of the genre’s sonic potential.

Legacy and Beyond

The enduring influence of these artists and their defining albums has paved the way for future generations of musicians and producers. As the genre continues to evolve, the spirit of experimentation and sonic exploration remains at its core. From the introspective moods crafted by Portishead to the experimental fusion of Tricky and the sonic landscapes painted by Massive Attack, the legacy of these influential artists is a testament to the lasting impact of trip hop on the world of music.

Continued Influence and Modern Resonance

Chillwave’s Dreamy Revival: In the 2000s and beyond, trip hop’s influence reverberated across genres like chillwave . Acts like Washed Out and Tycho incorporated trip hop’s dreamy soundscapes into their own music, infusing it with modern electronic sensibilities. This revival demonstrated the enduring appeal of trip hop’s atmospheric allure.

Lo-fi Hip Hop’s Digital Oasis: The digital age ushered in a new era of lo-fi hip hop beats, often accompanied by captivating visuals. These beats drew heavily from trip hop’s relaxed rhythms, offering a backdrop for study sessions, relaxation, and contemplation. Online platforms became havens for these beats, with creators curating seamless mixes that captured the essence of trip hop’s tranquility.

Unraveling Trip Hop’s Legacy

As the journey through trip hop’s rich history unfolds, it becomes clear that the genre is far more than a musical classification. It’s a tapestry of diverse influences, a testament to the power of sonic exploration. From Massive Attack’s pioneering endeavors to Tricky’s enigmatic soundscapes and Portishead’s emotional depth, trip hop has left an indelible mark on the world of music. Its evolution continues to inspire artists across genres, reminding us that music’s capacity for innovation knows no bounds. Whether experienced in dimly lit clubs or through headphones in quiet solitude, trip hop invites us to traverse its textured landscapes and embark on a sonic journey that defies conventions and expectations.

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George Evelyn of Nightmares on Wax.

‘Music dug up from under the earth’: how trip-hop never stopped

Fused from jungle, rave and soul, trip-hop filled the coffee tables of the 90s, and is now inspiring Billie Eilish’s generation. So why is the term so despised by many?

N obody really wanted to be trip-hop. The stoner beats of Nightmares on Wax’s 1995 Smokers Delight album were era defining, but it carried the prominent legend: “THIS IS NOT TRIP HOP”. James Lavelle’s Mo’ Wax label flirted with the term after it was coined by Mixmag in 1994, but quickly switched to displaying it ostentatiously crossed out on their sleeves. Ninja Tune did print the phrase “triphoptimism” on a king size rolling paper packet in 1996, but only as a joke about escaping categories.

“I always disliked the term,” says Lou Rhodes of Lamb, “and I would always make a point in interviews of challenging its use in regard to Lamb.” Mark Rae of Rae & Christian similarly says: “I would give a score of 9/10 on the lazy journalist scale to anyone who placed us in the trip-hop camp.” And Geoff Barrow’s ferocious hatred of the term – let alone its application to Portishead – has become the stuff of social media legend.

The distaste is understandable. The template of crawling beats, cinematic strings and dubby basslines, usually with a female vocalist and weed-smoking signifiers, became one of the most ubiquitous sounds of the late 90s. The phrase itself stretched to become a catch-all for any and all downtempo music, from wafty supermarket-checkout budget CD “chillout” to highly crafted UK soul. It very quickly became the object of snobbery, called “coffee table music” by those who found the idea music could be comforting or domesticated an anathema.

Jhelisa Anderson

But whatever you call it, the specifically 90s downtempo vibe abides. Nightmares on Wax’s new album, Shout Out! To Freedom …, shows producer George Evelyn as committed to cosmic beats, and as inspired, as ever, and Smokers Delight got a deluxe reissue treatment last year. Martina Topley-Bird ’s Forever I Wait (featuring several productions by Robert “3D” Del Naja of Massive Attack), the reformed Sneaker Pimps’ Squaring the Circle, and even Saint Etienne ’s mostly instrumental I’ve Been Trying to Tell You all meander moodily in classic trip-hop style. Jhelisa , whose albums in the 90s easily bridged the gap between trip-hop and acid jazz, is back and on spectacularly trippy form with 7 Keys V.2, too.

And perhaps even more significantly, younger musicians are channelling the sound. Some of the most high-profile acts in the world – Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, Lorde – are unabashed in these 90s references. Alicia Keys’ new single, Best of Me, couldn’t be more trip-hop if it was made in a smoky Bristol basement in 1995. In the leftfield, acts such as Young Echo, Tirzah and Space Afrika explore some oddly familiar dark, dubby spaces, the latter citing Tricky as a key precedent. A lot of the new UK soul and jazz, from Jorja Smith through Children of Zeus to Moses Boyd and Sault, is distinctly trip-hoppy; Arlo Parks’ Mercury prize-winning album is steeped in it, as is tattooed, cosmic dub-soul provocateur Greentea Peng. Homebrew “lo fi” remixes of anime and game themes, which could easily pass as trip-hop, regularly clock up tens of millions of streams on YouTube, as do streams of trip-hoppy “beats to study/chill/sleep to”. Even UK drill is demonstrating a connection, in the album False Hope by Tara Mills , with music by drill and road rap producer Carns Hill. “It’s interesting that whole era’s come round again,” says Evelyn, remarking on the extraordinary Afghan-German producer Farhot’s similarity to DJ Shadow. “Then of course you start thinking: am I that old?”

Liam Howe has passed on the trip-hop gene to FKA twigs, Lana Del Rey and Adele.

To understand the durability of these sounds, it’s worth looking at some of the objections to the way they were labelled. Evelyn grew up with reggae soundsystem culture and was a hip-hop and electro fanatic, who breakdanced competitively as a teen. He regarded his early rave tunes as hip-hop collage in the tradition of instrumentals by Mantronix, Marley Marl, DJ Red Alert and co. “But,” he says, “in the UK we’re really good at taking something and making it our own, and when I think about that whole 90s period, it was exciting: we were doing that whole downtempo thing, but fused with all that other exciting electronic shit that was happening at the same time. The drum’n’bass thing, the jungle thing, that was all born out of the same set of influences. I do think about the 90s a lot. It was exciting; it felt like a new sound was coming out of the UK every three days.”

Rhodes, too, took inspiration in the breakbeat collage of rave. “Our background was nights at the Haçienda and Manchester pirate stations,” she says, remembering Peter Bouncer’s vocal over Shut Up and Dance’s breakbeats on the 1992 rave track Love Is All We Need. “My mum was a folk singer, and I felt the pull to write songs that danced around those fucked-up beats. That was the impetus for Lamb.” The closeness to techno, rave and electronica was embodied in labels such as Warp, Ninja Tune and Mo’ Wax, where Squarepusher, Autechre, Roni Size and Carl Craig would sit alongside – or remix – downtempo acts. It’s a lineage explored in the 2020 book Bedroom Beats & B-Sides by Laurent Fintoni , which also explores how trip-hop influenced the likes of Flying Lotus (an avowed Portishead fan), and thus the experimental “beat scene” and 21st century hip-hop more broadly.

Louise Rhodes and Andrew Barlow of Lamb in 2001.

The other vital precursor was the UK’s unique soul lineage. “Sade, Cymande, Soul II Soul,” remembers Evelyn, “that was the foundation of our whole thing too. Even when we were rocking [reggae] soundsystems, you’d always have that half-hour or so when they’d play street soul or rare grooves. That all influenced all of us; I’m sure someone like [Massive Attack’s] Daddy G would say the same thing.” Through the late 80s and early 90s, acts such as Smith & Mighty, the Sindecut, Young Disciples and, of course, Soul II Soul and Massive Attack made a very distinctly British laid-back breakbeat sound ubiquitous from charts to underground clubs. The acid jazz movement overlapped with this, too: it’s the scene Mo’ Wax emerged from, and Liam Howe of Sneaker Pimps recalls, around 1993, “taking our white labels around the record shops of Soho, where you might bump into [acid jazz movers] Kevin Beadle, Gilles Peterson, James Lavelle and Patrick Forge … we were making peculiar, laid-back dance stuff that at the time we referred to just as ‘head music’.”

Jhelisa Anderson is one of the more obvious connections to the soul/jazz world, but also one of the few musicians who fondly embraces “trip-hop” as a term. Mississippian by birth, she relished British eccentricity and independence, as compared with a US industry that “would’ve had me trying to copy Janet Jackson”. She found, in Portishead , Tricky and Topley-Bird, “a version of modern blues, a depth and darkness” that drew a line from 60s and 70s soul, but also had a connection to “something old and pagan that I heard in Thom Yorke and shoegaze, a different kind of ancient expression of feeling blue, of being dark”.

That conception of a kind of specifically British blues isn’t so far fetched. Tara Mills wasn’t born when Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy came out, but cites it as one of her favourite songs: “I’ve cried to that song, I’ve driven home too fast, upset, in the middle of the night, to that song.” And she found precisely the right darkness in Carns Hill’s drill beats to “make you feel something in that same way”. And the moodiness and melancholy have permeated through to a new generation in many other ways. Rhodes hears “a kind of bloodline running through James Blake and the xx” to Billie Eilish and co. Her son Reuben, who releases downtempo beats as Joseph Efi, connects the “Bristol sound” of Portishead and Massive Attack to the ineffable sadness of Burial. “There’s something about the melancholia of those Bristol tunes,” he says, “that could’ve only come from the depths of a small British city. Music dug up from under the earth or heard in the pouring rain on your walk home at night.”

Martina Topley-Bird

This mood has gradually spread around the world. As well as through electronic and hip-hop artists such as Flying Lotus, and ubiquity of tracks such as Rob Dougan’s Mo’ Wax hit Clubbed to Death in Hollywood soundtracks, the British moodiness found its way into big pop exports. Mark Rae notes that “our production and writing of the track The Hush by Texas-influenced Dido, and the domino effect is created when that language is taken to the mainstream successfully”. It’s not a big leap to hear trip-hop echoes in Mark Ronson’s work with Amy Winehouse and Adele – and there are direct connections, too: Howe, for example, has passed on the trip-hop gene as a writer and producer for the likes of FKA twigs, Lana Del Rey and, indeed, Adele.

It seems like the further we get from its origins, the less toxic the phrase seems. Even Topley-Bird, who never accepted it at the time “because I thought we felt pretty unique”, says “in America people talk about trip-hop without any sense of shame or embarrassment, which is endearing … And a few friends are telling me that artists like Billie Eilish sound like me – which can’t be a bad thing. I came back with new music at the right time!”

Nightmares on Wax’s album Shout Out! To Freedom … is out now on Warp. Mark Rae’s novel and soundtrack The Caterpillar Club is out now on Mark’s Music. Sneaker Pimps’ album Squaring the Circle is out now on Unfall. Jhelisa’s album 7 Keys V.2 is out now on Dorado. Martina Topley-Bird’s self-released album Forever I Wait is out now. Tara Mills’ album False Hope is out now on CL Management. Joseph Efi’s EP Candour is out now on Lowlife.

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Trip-Hop Essentials

In the early '90s, an ambient, atmospheric sound began to emerge from rave culture's chill-out rooms and smoky club corners. This bass-driven blend of hip-hop-inflected breakbeats, jazz grooves, dubby tempos, Rhodes licks, and wraithlike vocals spoke to both premillennial anxiety and escapist bliss. Trip-hop was largely British in origin; Bristol's shores in particular provided a backdrop for Portishead's eerie noir, Massive Attack's epic comedowns, and Tricky's murmured incantations. But the woozy deconstructions of Howie B and the baroque flourishes of Lamb and Goldfrapp pushed the genre beyond its ground zero—geographically and stylistically.

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The 10 greatest trip-hop bands of all time

22 February 2023, 11:52

Martina Topley-Bird, Tricky and Massive Attack

By Tom Eames

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Trip-hop emerged in the 1990s as a leading force of downtempo electronic music.

Originating largely in Bristol in the early 1990s, trip-hop has been described as a psychedelic mix of hip-hop and electronica, with slower tempos and an atmospheric style. It also uses elements of jazz, soul, funk, reggae, R&B, and other genres, as well as often sampling film soundtracks and other sources.

Trip-hop was first coined by Mixmag , and it soon had commercial success by the second half of the decade.

From its pioneers of the '90s to the artists they influenced, here are the greatest trip-hop artists:

trip hop music examples

Morcheeba - Blindfold (Official Video)

Formed in the mid-1990s with singer Skye Edwards and brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey, Morcheeba emerged with sublime influences of rock, folk and downtempo, becoming a leading force in the trip-hop movement, starting with 1996's Who Can You Trust?

They have released 10 studio albums since 1995, with the latest being 2021's Blackest Blue .

Although they have moved on to other genres since their early trip-hop days, they still must be counted as one of the genre's greatest acts.

Sneaker Pimps

trip hop music examples

Sneaker Pimps - 6 Underground (Official Music Video)

Formed in Hartlepool in 1994, Sneaker Pimps' debut album, Becoming X was a seminal trip-hop LP in 1996.

Best known for the single '6 Underground', the band takes its name from an article the Beastie Boys published in their Grand Royal magazine about a man they hired to track down classic sneakers.

The band was created by electronic musician Liam Howe and guitarist Chris Corner, and then later recruited singer Kelli Ali (then known as Kelli Dayton).

After a long hiatus, the group returned with Howe and Corner in 2016, and they finally started releasing new music in 2021.

Little Dragon

trip hop music examples

Little Dragon - Twice

Swedish band Little Dragon hail from Gothenburg, having formed in 1996.

The band currently consists of singer Yukimi Nagano, Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrik Wallin (bass) and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards).

Their first release was the incredible single 'Twice' in 2006, and they brought out their debut album a year later.

Nagano was in her first year in high school when she met seniors Wallin and Bodin. The three of them would meet up after school to jam and play records, and their band name was inspired by the 'Little Dragon' nickname Nagano earned due to the "fuming tantrums" she used to throw while in the studio.

trip hop music examples

UNKLE - Rabbit In Your Headlights

UNKLE was founded in 1992 by James Lavelle.

In 1997, Lavelle brought in DJ Shadow to work on his debut album, which was released a year later. The album featured collaborations with the likes of Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Mark Hollis (Talk Talk), Mike D (Beastie Boys), Badly Drawn Boy and Richard Ashcroft (The Verve).

UNKLE as an outfit still exists today, though Lavelle has featured various incarnations of the collective, hiring a wide range of guest musicians and producers along the way.

His most recent studio album release with 2017's The Road: Part 1.

Martina Topley-Bird

trip hop music examples

Sandpaper Kisses

English singer and multi-instrumentalist Martina Topley-Bird first found fame when she featured on Tricky's debut album, Maxinquaye in 1995.

She also worked with him on his subsequent albums Nearly God and Pre-Millennium Tension, and then in 2003, she released her debut solo album Quixotic. The album was a critical hit and earned her a Mercury Prize nomination.

She has since worked with the likes of Gorillaz, Diplo and Massive Attack among others, and her track 'Sandpaper Kisses' has been covered Stephen Marley and sampled by The Weeknd.

trip hop music examples

Lamb - Gorecki

Electronic music duo Lamb formed in 1996 in Manchester, and consist of producer Andy Barlow and singer-songwriter Lou Rhodes. Rhodes' distinctive vocals gave them a uniquely beautiful sound, and no doubt inspired the likes of The Knife and Goldfrapp.

Their brand of trip-hop is also influenced drum and bass and jazz, and are best known for their singles 'Górecki' and 'Gabriel'.

Despite a hiatus in the 2000s, they have continued to release music, with their most recent being 2019's The Secret of Letting Go .

trip hop music examples

DJ Shadow - Midnight In A Perfect World

Speaking of DJ Shadow...

Joshua Davis is an American DJ, songwriter and record producer, known for his famous alter ego. His debut studio album, Endtroducing..... was released in 1996.

DJ Shadow's music often involves manipulating samples, bringing in rare pieces of music and sound clips, from all kinds of genres, particularly on his early albums.

His most recent LP was the double album Our Pathetic Age in 2021.

trip hop music examples

Portishead - Glory Box

Portishead - named after the place in Somerset, formed in 1991 in Bristol. Comprising of singer Beth Gibbons, producer Geoff Barrow, and musician Adrian Utley, engineer Dave McDonald is also sometimes credited as the fourth member.

  • The Story of... 'Glory Box' by Portishead

Their 1994 album Dummy brought together hip-hop production with emotive vocals from Gibbons, creating a particularly atmospheric and cinematic sound. It was one of the albums that defined trip-hop as a growing genre.

Portishead themselves have disliked being associated with the genre, and would later move away from the sound on later albums.

trip hop music examples

Tricky - 'Black Steel' (Official Video)

British artist Tricky was raised in Bristol, and began his career as an early member of Massive Attack.

He soon began a solo career with his debut album, Maxinquaye , in 1995. It instantly won him huge critical acclaim, and he released four more studio albums before the end of the decade. His most recent album was 2020's Fall to Pieces .

Tricky is considered a pioneer of trip-hop, with his style known for being often dark in tone, and blending cultural influences and genres, such as hip-hop, rock and reggae.

Massive Attack

trip hop music examples

Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy

Trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack formed in 1988 in Bristol, led by Robert '3D' Del Naja, Adrian 'Tricky' Thaws, Andrew 'Mushroom' Vowles and Grant 'Daddy G' Marshall.

Their debut album Blue Lines was released in 1991, with the single 'Unfinished Sympathy' considered one of the greatest songs of all time, let alone trip-hop.

1998's Mezzanine - containing the classic track 'Teardrop') and 2003's 100th Window were also UK number ones.

They have won various awards of the years, and have sold over 13 million copies worldwide.

Like Portishead, they have never been a massive fan of the 'trip hop' label. Daddy G said in 2006: "We used to hate that terminology [trip-hop] so bad. You know, as far we were concerned, Massive Attack music was unique, so to put it in a box was to pigeonhole it and to say, 'Right, we know where you guys are coming from."

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Trip Hop: The Evolution from The Underground

A brief history of trip hop.

The city of Bristol, United Kingdom has been the epicenter for a multitude of musical movements, including sparking the flame of the trip hop sound. In short, trip hop fuses the organic worlds of funk, soul, and jazz with psychedelic electronica timbres designed to invoke emotions deeper than traditional hip hop.

While artist like sample-based hip hop don DJ Shadow were getting busy stateside in crafting that goes deeper than east coast boom bap or west coast G-funk, the multicultural center of activism Bristol, UK was flaring with a new movement: trip-hop aka downtempo.

Trip-hop swerved from the mainstream appeal of hip hop where graffiti, breakdance, and hip hop were the cultural norm. Instead, style of music with big appeal in the UK underground at the time, namely breakbeat, helped this genre unfurl. Breakbeat is simple “broken beats”, which originate from jazz and funk and evolved into trip-hop, jungle, drum n bass, funky breaks, etc.

What’s the Difference between Downtempo and Trip Hop?

Trip Hop is of Bristol, UK origin from the late 80s/early 90s and embodies breakbeat influence, while keeping the psychedelic nature in the lyrics and instrumentation. “Downtempo” is of Ibiza, Spain origin which retains an ambient nature dedicated to chill-out spaces in the Ibiza clubs.

There’s a difference in the feel of the two sibling-genres, as well, despite their differences. Both include ambient and psychedelic textures but are separate rhythmically.

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Classic Examples of Trip Hop

Probably one of the most prominent trip hop groups out of Bristol, UK who started in 1991. Most known for their hit track "Glory Box", this trio paved the way for an entire modern sound.

Among the first North American voices in trip hop where DJ Shadow out of the Bay Area brought together sample-based hip hop with psychedelic undertones. Tracks like "Midnight in a Perfect World" off of his 1996 album Endtroducing.... remains an identifiable track within his catalogue

Massive Attack

The originators of the trip-hop movement, the Massive Attack duo out of the Bristol, UK area have shaped the culture with their heavy instrumentals and epic melodies. Tracks like "Teardrop" off of their 1998 album Mezzanine remains their most streamed track on Spotify.

While the above acts covered the golden years of trip hop in the early and mid nineties, American producer RJD2 is a voice from the early 2000s. His most recognizable tune is "Ghostwriter" off of his 2002 album Deadringer .

Where Is Trip Hop Going?

It's dwindling...Or is it?

Trip-hop has now been absorbed by other styles since its inception. Google Trends shows the biggest activity from the beginning of its own history. Naturally, this is because trip-hop was popular before search engine's existence.

trip hop music examples

But now, the musical landscape has grown into a colorful vine of sub-genres and spin-offs. While the search trends for trip-hop go down, it isn't to say that it is dying. It is rather changing. New modes of trip-hop style from psy-dub, to lo-fi hip hop, to glitch space bass are the branches of the trip-hop tree that are now flowing out.

Modern Examples of Triphop + Spin-Offs

The trip hop influence has unwound into various sub-sects of electronic music showing us the results of its evolution through time. Below are examples of up and coming artists who all embody the trip hop sound

Seppa - Bass Infused Trip-Hop

This track comes from a producer who lives in the very region trip-hop was born. The city of Bristol, UK is known for its eclectic nightlife and celebrates innovation in music. Kind of like a silicon valley for huge tunes. Producer Seppa brings a searing edge with massive sound designs that often come with trip hop style beats, drum n bass, or half-time grooves.

Read more about Seppa in our our interview with him .

il:lo - Trip-Hop With World Sounds

This French duo bring lots of world music sounds and synths to their blend of trip hop inspired tunes. Expect vast soundscapes and beautiful vocal pads from releases like their 2019 Sloh.

Discover more about il:lo in their mini mix and interview on Stereofox .

Nym - Cinematic Downtempo

Durham, NC producer Nym is a storyteller. He combines many aspects, from film samples, to worldly percussion and instruments, to vocals and mixes them into an ethereal experience that certainly puts the "trip" in "trip hop". Check out the title-track to his 2019 album:

Somatoast - Psy-dub & Trip-Hop

Psychedelic and weird is what Texan producer is all about. His tunes can't really be classified, but he certainly includes a flavor of dub, hip hop, and wonky sounds. Check out his track "Broken Bits" off of his 2019 release Live Dreaming:

Trip Hop Playlists

If you're new to trip hop, returning to it, or a big fan of it, then here are some solid windows into the genre. Spotify has a robust selection of trip hop classics in their Trip Hop playlist.

If you're looking to expand upon trip-hop and swim around in the world of ambient music, which is not exclusively limited to trip hop, check out our regularly-updated, curated Spotify playlist Ambient Space :

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10 Perfect Trip-Hop Albums With No Bad Songs

Crank up the bass... , things are about to get wobbly.

Gorillaz band

Trip-hop emerged during the early '90s. Born out of the underground electronic scene, this was the kind of music to stick on in the early hours, post rave. When your body could no longer dance, it was time for the sounds of downtempo ambience, to ease your mind into psychedelia-laced bliss.

The genre's most prominent early acts originated from the UK. The fusion of hip hop, with other genres, merged to create a sound of unique resonance. Its downtempo nature and reliance heavy-base driven beats, made it a staple for the alternative electronic scene. As the genre grew in scope and popularity it took on more forms. Cutting a fine line between etherial electronica and dark and dingy lo-fi.

Whether you want a bit of reggae-laced dub, blues-infused electronica, or some soul-rich downtempo, trip hop has you covered. From the UK based originators in Bristol, to the innovators on America's West Coast, and the more modern interpreters of the genre; these are some of the greatest trip-hop records to ever wobble a sound system.

10. The Mirror Conspiracy - Thievery Corporation (2000)

Although many consider trip-hop to have originated in Bristol, electronic acts in America were putting their own downtempo spin on things. Thievery Corporation formed during the '90s, in Washington D.C. Their first album was a mellow mix of world music and and hip hop samples.

The incorporation of wider ranging influences, on their second album, made the group hard to pin down, however. Early tracks like, Le Monde, utilised French vocals for a distinctly European sound. Whereas, Lebanese Blonde, laid on Middle Eastern themes. Coupled with the jazz stylings of vocalist, Pam Bricker. it's an instant mood setter. Not many tracks will simultaneously imbue you with a drive to get up and go, while imparting a sense of relaxation.

As the record progresses, it builds in momentum. More uptempo tracks like, Air Batucada, serve to move everything along in a satisfyingly subtle way. There'll be moments when you want to do nothing, but blissfuly surrender to the album's mood. At others you'll be pulled into an inescapable desire to dance.

Before engrossing myself in the written word, I spent several years in the TV and film industry. During this time I became proficient at picking things up, moving things and putting things down again.

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trip hop music examples

Even in its earliest days, trip-hop was always something of a sonic mutant. In the early ‘90s, it fused hip-hop and electronica with nods to jazz, funk, dub, and soul in ways that were comfortingly familiar yet unnervingly alien. Trip-hop’s popularity arguably peaked in the mid ‘90s, as pioneering acts like Portishead, Massive Attack, Tricky, Unkle, and DJ Shadow gained both critical and commercial renown. While the latter may have faded as the new millennium approached, the passing of time hasn’t dulled the influence it provides for countless young acts. Now, at a time when almost every micro-genre and musical amalgam is fair game, artists are mining trip-hop for inspiration as a launchpad for their own musical experiments. By merging hip-hop with everything from IDM to world music, the 10 artists in this list show that trip-hop is still the same vehicle for both artistic exploration and sonic rebellion that it’s always been.

Submotion Orchestra Kites

trip hop music examples

Based in London, Submotion Orchestra are a seven-piece who released their grandiose, panoramic fifth album, Kites , in March. Their music layers rich orchestration onto a dubby rhythmic base, veering from nocturnal jazz to somber neoclassical and making them one of the most kaleidoscopic acts in recent years to have reworked the basic trip-hop template. Distinguishing them even further from most (recent) trip-hop are the vocals of frontwoman Ruby Wood, whose plangent tones endow the otherwise dreamy music with a bracing earthiness.  

Moderator Sinner’s Syndrome

trip hop music examples

The Greek producer Moderator is an exponent of the more cinematic, noir- ish school of trip-hop. On fourth album Sinner’s Syndrome , he samples the reverb-heavy guitars of film soundtracks, the rasping horns of Latin music, and employs a series of ominous vocal tracks and monologues, all of which combine to establish a claustrophobic—yet strangely seductive—atmosphere. Hauntingly chilly tracks such as “Poison Thoughts” and “Red Headed Devil” have an intoxicating groove, yet their guitar-soaked instrumentation is tensely wound and deceptively sinister, as if hinting at the violence beneath the surface of some Mediterranean paradise.  

Thievery Corporation Treasures from the Temple

trip hop music examples

Perhaps the most well-known trip-hop act who are still currently active, the Thievery Corporation are a Washington, D.C. duo who have been releasing their own patented mix of dub, acid jazz, and electronica since 1995. Their latest release, Treasures from the Temple , is a companion album to 2017’s The Temple of I & I , which saw co-conspirators Rob Garza and Eric Hilton move into a breed of layered trip-hop influenced by reggae and other Jamaican music. It features 12 outtakes and/or remixes which, despite their technical status as “leftovers,” continue the duo’s enviable tradition of reverently appropriating a variety of world musics and blending them to create a distinctive, multicultural soundscape.  

Perera Elsewhere Drive

trip hop music examples

Despite tagging her jittery, electronics-heavy music as “doom-folk,” the Berlin-based Perera Elsewhere provides one of the most innovative examples of trip-hop around. Loosely comparable to the work of FKA twigs, her most recent records—May’s Drive EP and last year’s All of This —are full of fluid, constantly churning songs that superimpose volatile melodic fragments over knotty beats and droning bass. Cuts such as “You’ve Lost” ( Drive ) and “Happened” ( All of This ) marry the late-night moodiness of vintage trip-hop with an acute awareness of our modern obsession with self and identity.  

ILL CLINTON Eternal Blue Sky

trip hop music examples

Based out of Philly, ILL CLINTON is a producer who takes the underlying flow of trip-hop and clothes it in an eclectic array of synthetic textures and abstract samples. His Eternal Blue Sky album from May ranges from chilled ambience to cavernous bass music, and while it stands more at the hip-hop end of the trip-hop spectrum, it also offers an insight into the philosophy that guides much of the genre. According to ILL CLINTON, the crossing and mixing of boundaries on such tracks as “EAST SMITHWICK DR.” and “PENALTY IS DEATH” is intended to “inspire a higher plateau of consciousness.” While there’s no guarantee that will be attained by most listeners, its liberal approach to composition still provides a diverse and enlightening listen.

Brock Berrigan The Narrows

Brock Berrigan

Another beatmaker and sampler, Brock Berrigan is a New York-based producer whose music jumps dizzily from one style to the next, often within the space of a single track. His latest effort, March’s The Narrows , was inspired by a month-long hike around Utah, and while this might imply that the musical result is austere and dry, it’s a remarkably colorful and jubilant record. “Sittin'” and “Hotwire” twist a variety of soul and funk samples together to uplifting effect, while “King of the Rats” and “Off the Grid” wind more regal, string-led instrumentation into tight, evocative loops. In either case, the album offers a transportive experience, one that belies its arid origins.  

Culprate Unity Project, Pt. 4

trip hop music examples

Culprate hails from Bristol, the epicenter of the original trip-hop scene, which puts the producer in a prime position to build on its foundations in new and unusual ways. And he does just this on March’s Unity Project, Pt. 4 , the latest in a series of EPs based around collaborations conducted via the musician’s own Twitch channel. This isn’t the only thing particular to the EP, since its heavy electro, brooding dubstep, and scattergun IDM make it possibly the most otherworldly “trip-hop” record released in quite some time (well, since Culprate’s last effort). “Run” is heavy dubstep from a dystopian future, and “Poison” is an atmospheric builder that abruptly transforms into blistering glitch. Similarly, the other four tracks on the EP suggest where trip-hop could go in the next decade.

emancipator Baralku


The Portland-based emancipator makes downtempo trip-hop that’s atmospheric, emotive, and richly textured. This is particularly evident in his most recent album, Baralku , which uses live instrumentation from a variety of guest musicians to create tracks that are more bodied, rounded, and articulate than those from comparable producers. Pieces such as “Ghost Pong” begin with ponderous bass and downbeat ambience, only to gain stirring impetus from the added violins and synths. Meanwhile, tracks such as “Pancakes” and “Time for Space” feature a combination of live bass and flute that infuse the music with a bittersweet optimism, as if insinuating that all happiness is tinged with sadness, and vice versa.

MyHoliday Rain

trip hop music examples

Evoking the taut elegance of early Portishead, MyHoliday are a Russian trio who make post-trip-hop that’s blissfully languid yet deceptively intense. April’s Rain LP is full of ghostly melodies, shuffling beats, and ethereal vocals from lead singer Alena Scherbina, who surrounds the melancholic guitar chords and floating synths with a yearning, searching aura. On slow-burning pieces, such as “Hiring Architect,” the band leave plenty of space for each bass, synth, and guitar note to drift and echo upwards, where they become more resonant and richly allusive as a result.  

Slowly Rolling Camera Juniper

trip hop music examples

Always a reference point in most trip-hop, jazz is brought to the fore in the music of Slowly Rolling Camera. Based in Wales, the three-piece (originally a quartet) create near-epic songs that not only mix trip-hop with jazz, but also with cinematic music, prog, chamber music, and soul. In contrast to the minimalism of certain acts in the genre, their previous two records—2014’s Into the Shadow and 2016’s All Things —were maximalist affairs, often using impressive, exploratory musicianship to reach grandiose crescendos. And their latest album, Juniper , looks set to continue this M.O., with the opening title track pulling its sax, piano, and guitar through a breathtaking series of peaks and valleys.

Honorable Mention

Morcheeba blaze away.

trip hop music examples

While they may be over familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the genre, Morcheeba have continued to plough their own furrow of poppy trip-hop since first coming to prominence in 1996 with their debut album, Who Can You Trust? They’re also one of the few ’90s acts to have continued releasing records to this day, with ninth album Blaze Away . By fusing a range of summery genres (including lounge, bossa nova, and soul) with Skye Edwards’s honeyed voice, it’s sure to appeal to anyone who’s ever wished that trip-hop were a bit more song-oriented and accessible.

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Best Trip Hop Songs By Marc Collin Nouvelle Vague Bristol

The 10 best trip hop tracks, according to Nouvelle Vague's Marc Collin

'Bristol' is the debut solo album from Nouvelle Vague co-producer Marc Collin. While Nouvelle Vague made their name covering songs from the punk, post-punk, and new wave eras, Collin's solo record takes its inspiration from a movement that emerged a few years down the line: trip hop.

'Trip hop', as genre names go, has been a source of much scorn, held up as a prime example of why music journos should never be allowed to coin genre names – but you can't deny the music. The term was used to describe a group of artists that emerged from in and around Bristol during the post-acid house years of the 1990s, who shared similar reference points (dub, breakbeat, ambient, soul, jazz, funk, hip hop, and other black sound system styles) and similar formal qualities, and who would go on to be hugely influential on the sound of popular music over the coming years.

The 14 tracks that make up Collin's 'Bristol' are all inspired by music from the trip hop era and reworked in a 1960s film score style, injecting a bit of Parisian chic into the West Country. Reintepretations of songs by Portishead, Tricky, and Massive Attack all feature on the album, sung by an array of French singers. 

Following the release of that album, Collins compiled an introduction to the trip hop aesthetic, featuring both key originals (like Tricky) and artists influenced by the sound (like Goldfrapp), as well as lesser known groups (like Massive Attack peers Alpha). 

Marc Collin : "From one of the major artists from the trip hop scene. I remember the first time I listened to it, it was, strangely, through a French TV channel. I'd never heard anything like it before – the sound of the beat (especially the toms) and the construction of the track is amazing. I still don't know what's coming from samples and what is really being played! It was really the future in '95."

Marc Collin : "To me, Massive Attack invented the genre and are the kings, but with Portishead, Geoff Barrow pushed the sound even further – his touch on production is amazing. With Ian Utley and Beth Gibbons, they were a real group, recording real guitars and drums and mixing them with samples from '60s film noir soundtracks. When I first heard Numb , I was almost shaking, as the sound of the drums was everything I wanted to hear! I saw them last summer, and it was even better than their show in the '90s." 

Marc Collin : "As with Porishead, Goldfrapp – with their first album a few years later – were doing exactly the music that I wanted to hear. It seems I wasn't the only one to feel that way. Great songwriting, amazing vocals, and strange production mixing synths, real strings, drum loops, etc. Great reference to Ennio Morricone. Maybe the best band of the late trip hop era."

Marc Collin : "Emiliana Torrini was not really a trip hop artist, but like a lot of artists in the '90s, you can hear in this track that she was very influenced by the sounds of Bristol. The way that she sings, the production of the beats, the melancholy – everything sounds trip hop there."

Marc Collin : "Alpha were signed to Massive Attack's label Melancolik; that's probably how I discovered them. Entirely based around a Lee Hazlewood sample, this song is the essence of trip hop: deep melancholy, hypnotic vibraphone chords, subtle brush rhythm, strings, and a great vocal performance. Unfortunately, it seems that without the help of a great sample, the band couldn't reach this level afterwards."

Marc Collin : "I don't know if this is really trip hop, but when it was released on the Shut Up And Dance label in the '90s, it was for me! Minimalist trip hop, let's say. A drum'n'bass loop (future drum'n' bass?) and an amazing, jazzy, Billie Holiday kind of voice."

Marc Collin : "The main sound of trip hop was the mix of hop hop beats with melancholic string arrangements. It became a kind of easy recipe, but it almost always worked, especially with a great singer-songwriter like Perry Blake."

Marc Collin : "Featuring a great sample from Francis Lai's score to  A Man And A Woman , here we have some trip hop from Stocholm. I heard that one of the musicians from Jay Jay Johanson's group recorded in Bristol in the early '90s and suggested to Jay Jay to go in that direction. For sure, the sound of trip hop works very well with the crooner style of Jay Jay and jazz singers in general."

Marc Collin : "A real masterpiece. Massive Attack pushed the sound of post-punk bands like PiL further, and somehow added a kind of violence and coldness to their dub-soul sound, mixing the basslines and vocals of dub with post-punk guitars and synthesizer treatments."

Marc Collin : "My band during the '90s! We were very influenced by trip hop, but with a French and Bossa Nova feel that led to Nouvelle Vague a few years later. We used a sample of Julie London's The End Of A Love Affair , which Capitol denied to be the owner! Julie is my favourite singer."

Kwaidan Records released 'Bristol' on April 13th 2015 ( buy ).

BETH MCCARTHY gianspeaking

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  1. The 20 Best Trip-Hop Albums of All Time

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  2. The 20 Best Trip-Hop Albums of All Time

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  4. The 20 Best Trip-Hop Albums of All Time

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  1. The 20 Best Trip-Hop Albums of All Time

    The term "trip-hop" was first coined in 1994, when a writer at the dance music bible Mixmag used it to describe DJ Shadow's ambitious single "In/Flux." The seeds of this new genre—the U.K.'s answer to America's burgeoning hip-hop movement—can be traced back to the late '80s and early '90s in Bristol, a bustling college town in South West England where pioneers of the so ...

  2. The 40+ Best Trip Hop Artists & Bands, Ranked By Fans

    Portishead, the brainchild of Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, and Adrian Utley, revolutionized trip hop in the 90s with their groundbreaking albums Dummy and Portishead.With a hauntingly atmospheric sound that flawlessly combined eerie vocal melodies, innovative sampling techniques, and cinematic soundscapes, Portishead captured the imagination of music lovers everywhere.

  3. The 50 best trip-hop albums of all time

    At its best, trip-hop was music for b-boys on acid, as Warfield sang on the album's single. ... NYC's answer to trip-hop; it's a rare example of a fully instrumental hip-hop album from a ...

  4. Trip hop

    Trip hop is a musical genre that originated in the late 1980s in the United Kingdom, especially Bristol. It has been described as a psychedelic fusion of hip hop and electronica with slow tempos and an atmospheric sound, often incorporating elements of jazz, soul, funk, reggae, dub, R&B, and other forms of electronic music, as well as sampling from movie soundtracks and other eclectic sources.

  5. Trip-Hop Music: The History and Artists of Trip-Hop

    Trip-hop's gloomy vocals, downbeat elements, and wistful jazzy sounds set it apart from the genres that inspire it. Originating in the United Kingdom, the subgenre of trip-hop is a blend of several musical styles, including acid jazz, hip-hop, reggae, and electronica.

  6. 10 of the Best Trip Hop Albums

    Nathaniel Merriweather presents…. Lovage- Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By. (2001; 75 Ark) In 2001, under his "Nathanial Meriweather" moniker, Dan The Automator produced a trip-hop album featuring Jennifer Charles (of Elysian Fields) and Mike Patton (of Faith No More, Tomahawk and Mr. Bungle) on vocals.

  7. Exploring Trip Hop: A Sonic Journey through Definition, History, and

    Introduction. In the vast realm of music genres, one that stands out as an enigmatic and evocative entity is trip hop. This genre, characterized by its blend of electronic beats, downtempo rhythms, and a myriad of atmospheric elements, has left an indelible mark on the music landscape. From its humble beginnings to its widespread influence, trip hop has captured the hearts of listeners and ...

  8. Trip-Hop Music Style Overview

    Yet another in a long line of plastic placeholders to attach itself to one arm or another of the U.K. post-acid house dance scene's rapidly mutating experimental underground, Trip-Hop was coined by the English music press in an attempt to characterize a new style of downtempo, jazz-, funk-, and soul-inflected experimental breakbeat music which began to emerge around in 1993 in association with ...

  9. Trip-hop

    Trip-hop, genre of atmospheric down-tempo music, influenced by movie sound tracks, 1970s funk, and cool jazz and usually created using samples. Coined by the British dance magazine Mixmag but rejected by many of its purported practitioners, trip-hop originated in Bristol, Eng., a West Country port

  10. 'Music dug up from under the earth': how trip-hop never stopped

    It's not a big leap to hear trip-hop echoes in Mark Ronson's work with Amy Winehouse and Adele - and there are direct connections, too: Howe, for example, has passed on the trip-hop gene as ...

  11. ‎Trip-Hop Essentials

    Trip-hop was largely British in origin; Bristol's shores in particular provided a backdrop for Portishead's eerie noir, Massive Attack's epic comedowns, and Tricky's murmured incantations. But the woozy deconstructions of Howie B and the baroque flourishes of Lamb and Goldfrapp pushed the genre beyond its ground zero—geographically and ...

  12. The 10 greatest trip-hop bands of all time

    Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy. Trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack formed in 1988 in Bristol, led by Robert '3D' Del Naja, Adrian 'Tricky' Thaws, Andrew 'Mushroom' Vowles and Grant 'Daddy G' Marshall. Their debut album Blue Lines was released in 1991, with the single 'Unfinished Sympathy' considered one of the greatest songs of all time ...

  13. Trip Hop: The Evolution from The Underground

    It is rather changing. New modes of trip-hop style from psy-dub, to lo-fi hip hop, to glitch space bass are the branches of the trip-hop tree that are now flowing out. Modern Examples of Triphop + Spin-Offs. The trip hop influence has unwound into various sub-sects of electronic music showing us the results of its evolution through time.

  14. Trip Hop Music: Everything you Need To Know

    If you're a fan of electronic music with a laid-back and atmospheric vibe, then trip hop is a genre you definitely need to check out. Originating in the 1990s, trip hop is a fusion of hip hop, electronic music, and various other genres such as jazz, soul, and reggae. It's known for its downtempo beats, hypnotic grooves, and trippy soundscapes.

  15. 10 Perfect Trip-Hop Albums With No Bad Songs

    10. The Mirror Conspiracy - Thievery Corporation (2000) Although many consider trip-hop to have originated in Bristol, electronic acts in America were putting their own downtempo spin on things ...

  16. Ten Artists Keeping Trip-Hop's Eclecticism Alive

    Merch for this release: Vinyl LP The Greek producer Moderator is an exponent of the more cinematic, noir-ish school of trip-hop.On fourth album Sinner's Syndrome, he samples the reverb-heavy guitars of film soundtracks, the rasping horns of Latin music, and employs a series of ominous vocal tracks and monologues, all of which combine to establish a claustrophobic—yet strangely seductive ...

  17. The 10 best trip hop tracks, according to Nouvelle Vague's Marc ...

    While Nouvelle Vague made their name covering songs from the punk, post-punk, and new wave eras, Collin's solo record takes its inspiration from a movement that emerged a few years down the line: trip hop. 'Trip hop', as genre names go, has been a source of much scorn, held up as a prime example of why music journos should never be allowed to ...

  18. List of trip hop artists

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  19. Trip Hop Beats, Trip Hop Drums, Trip Hop Samples and Loops

    Loopmasters pre-matched trip hop drums put the power of this urban electronica at your fingertips, with big trip hop beats only a few clicks away. Sample our trip hop vocals, trip hop drum loops and trip hop bass in sync with your daw, using Loopcloud our online sample library. Find the best selection of royalty-free Trip hop samples and loops ...

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    Our Trip Hop collection of samples contains all the elements needed to build professional Trip Hop music. All Trip Hop samples are 100% Royalty Free. Download thousands of free Trip Hop sounds & samples for your beats and productions! Check for a huge range of free Trip Hop drum loops, one shots, melodies & sample libraries.