Downtempo is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the 1990s. It is characterized by its relaxed and laid-back tempo, often featuring slow beats and atmospheric soundscapes. Downtempo draws influences from various genres such as ambient, trip-hop, jazz, and dub.
The origins of downtempo can be traced back to the early 1990s when artists began experimenting with slower tempos and incorporating elements of ambient music into their compositions. One of the key figures in the development of downtempo was British duo Kruder & Dorfmeister, who released their influential album "G-Stoned" in 1993. This album showcased their unique blend of dub reggae, hip-hop beats, and chilled-out vibes.
Another significant artist associated with downtempo is Bonobo (Simon Green). His debut album "Animal Magic" released in 2000 gained critical acclaim for its fusion of downtempo beats with jazz and world music influences. Bonobo's subsequent albums like "Black Sands" (2010) further solidified his position as one of the leading artists within the genre.
Over time, downtempo has evolved to incorporate various subgenres and styles. One notable subgenre is trip-hop, which emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Artists like Massive Attack, Portishead, and Tricky played a crucial role in popularizing this style by blending downtempo beats with elements of hip-hop, soul, and electronica.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in downtempo music as artists continue to push boundaries within the genre. Emancipator (Doug Appling) is one such artist who has gained recognition for his unique blend of organic instrumentation with electronic production techniques. His album "Soon It Will Be Cold Enough" (2006) received widespread acclaim for its soothing melodies and intricate arrangements.
Downtempo's impact on the global music scene cannot be understated.