Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It has always been the habit before leaving the office building: Pulling the iPod out of the backpack, the ear phones get inserted in my ears. Fingers then run across the shuffle button, as the mind decides what genre to play before drifting in the streets. The office is two blocks away from the main road. It gets tiresome out there, specially when walking in the afternoon. Choosing what track to listen maybe the only thing that separates exhaustion from euphoria. I cannot cover vast distances without hearing any song.

These past few days, a new pattern emerges. There is a different road going to the gym, which I also get to trek from work. I play house music going there because the hike uphill serves as my cardio. However, when I'm cruising off towards the spot where jeepneys ply their route, I get to choose a different genre to play. Gone are the days when I would play Alternative or Indie throughout the journey for when I look towards the sky and see the azure monochrome stretching from horizon to horizon, the image of the sea fills my vision.

And I begin to chill.

The mood requires soft sounds and ethereal voices for the mind to relax. Suddenly, I am warped away from the urban landscape and I could almost feel the tides lapping under my feet. The sun may scorch the skin but it doesn't matter, the head wanders and the downtempo enables me to imagine a secluded place far away from the city.

So what sounds bring me to faraway places? It can be as varied as the hues in the sky before twilight. What matters is it triggers a good memory or projects a picture of serenity. Whatever that hums softly pleases my ears. It maybe a guitar strum, a vocal distortion or distant murmurs from a female singer.

Here are the five chill out music tracks that never fail to spellbind me with their eclectic sound.

5. Lali Puna

Alien Nation (Alias Remix)

Micronomic, Faking The Books

Do you, do you, do you know?
Is the truth you see left celluloid?
Is the truth you see left celluloid?

It must be the continuous clapping sounds, or the pounding bass dominating the barely audible female vocals. Except for the three lines sang above, the song doesn't have any lyrics. The words even appear irrelevant to the title itself. However the layer of contrasting electronic sounds, looped and brought together by the synthesizer create a melody so industrial, one would never think this song belongs to the genre. What makes the difference is the dreamy, monotonous vocals that lull the ears despite the noise. Alien Nation, Alias Remix is one of my most hard-to-find mp3s and it lands at the fifth spot among my favorites in the Chill-Out category.

4. Cellar 55

With or Without You

The Chillout Project: Sisters of the Sun

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you.

One of the strengths of ambient music is its ability to project a scene of absolute tranquility. That is why some people call the sub-genre Sunset Music. Cellar 55 considers itself expert in this category. The airy vocals provided by the female singer was able to altercate U2's classic to make it sound more airy than the original. The pitch and tempo were altered to a slower arrangement to create a laid back atmosphere. The Mridangam (Indian Drums) renders an almost hypnotic beat, a listener may find himself entranced if the track is played on full volume.

3. Bliss


Quiet Letters

On a journey of the heart,
there's so much to see.
And when the sky is dark,
you'll be right here,
right here with me.

Now its becoming clear. Chill-out music is fast evolving. They are beginning to incorporate eastern schools of music, that the fusion it create suits the relaxing scene it likes to paint. Ambient - is almost always - sung by a female vocalist. It is in the vaporous melody of words that bliss is achieved. Whenever I play this track, the image of parting clouds after a brief drizzle conjures in my head. I see visions of bluish-grey sky giving up the of last rays of sunlight. I could feel the moist ground and its evergreen surroundings; the cool, almost chilly wind brushing my skin in my imagination.

This song was played in the Sex and the City movie.

2. Jose Gonzales


Veneer, Chillout Sessions 9

Both under influence
We had divine scent
To know what to say
Mind is a razor blade

It's been years since I last went to the beach and even eons since the last time I wallowed in its waters, or felt its sands on the palm of my hands. But whenever I play this track, its like I never lost sight of the shore. Jose Gonzales' acoustic cover far exceeds the original performed by the New Wave band Knife. Why? The secret lies in his masterful guitar performance. I don't know much about strums or guitars but the gentle brush of his fingers over the strings fret a soothing tune so infectious, it is one of the reasons I would love to learn to play the guitar someday.

1. Chicane feat Tracy Ackerman

No Ordinary Morning

Behind the Sun

You could give a million reasons
Change the world and change the tides
Could not give me the secrets
Of your heart and of your mind
In the darkness that surrounds me
Now there is no peace of mind
Your careless words undo me
Leave the thought of us behind

There are no words to describe this classic, except for bittersweet partings the song conveys. It is a song of utter loneliness for things that may never happen again. I first heard of this track almost a decade ago and true to its immortality, no artist has ever dared alter its musical arrangement. For it is an anthem by itself. I've read accounts of people becoming teary-eyed after playing this song, and true to its power, it still leaves me empty when I play it on early mornings to stir good memories. I claim this song as my favorite and I look forward that someday, I'd play No Ordinary Morning on my computer, just before sunrise and by that time, the person beside me is not someone I've met for a one-night stand but a lover who knows the song and would stay with me, hopefully, not just for one unforgettable daybreak.


Manech said...

Your No Ordinary Morning was my Hyperballad. I don't know a lot about music, but I don't really think Post was chillout.

But let's try to forego labels for once a focus on the more important point. After 15 years, the song feels almost as potent as it was the first time I heard it.


anteros' dominion said...

I feel this post is not really about the choice of music, but more on the longing felt by the author



(sorry for the 2 deleted comments, something went wrong with my pc)

Anonymous said...

Like you, my iPod has never failed to become a part of my daily routine. (And I think smart playlists really helped me a lot in coming up with random selection of tracks to listen to each day. It's really surprising to hear those unplayed tracks abd refreshing to hear familiar songs the way I never listened to them before.)

As for your 5 chill-out tracks, I'm into your #1 and most especially #2. There's something with Jose Gonzales' singing voice that I'm like being summoned to a faraway land.

And oh, I'll find time to listen to your other 3 tracks. :D

ʎonqʎʇıɔ said...

not really a fan of the genre although because of the SATC soundtrack, i've become such a fan of kissing.

as for music, super part din yan ng routine ko. i walk everywhere- to work, papuntang mall, pauwi and without my trusty ol' ipod, di ko alam how i can manage. hehe

Galen said...


Chill-out music reveals my relaxed and eclectic side. I guess its an offshoot from listening to too much Trance when both genres were still in its infancy.


I find it pleasantly surprising that you know Jose Gonzales. Would you believe you're the first person I know who actually listens to his songs?

Galen said...


The longing will always be there. On the bright side, at least you know my mood swings has become lesser these days.


Really don't know what Post means. But yeah, like I said, in its more than a decade in the airwaves no dj has ever succeeded altering the arrangement of No Ordinary Morning.

anteros' dominion said...

palagi naman akong naririto, kuya j. nasa paligid lang ako, hindi lang talaga ako nagpaparamdam ng presence. hindi man ako nagcocomment or nagpaparamdam.may mga pinagdadaanan man ako na mga problema, hindi nawawala yung care ko sa mga itinuturing kong kaibigan. and you are part of that, no matter what other people may say or think


that's why im using that url.


Manech said...

Oh, sorry.

What I meant when I said Post was Björk's album. One of the songs there, Hyperballad, wounded me the first time I heard it.

Galen said...


I have a copy of Bjork's Hyperballad with me, but for some reasons, my ears cannot recall how its first melodies begin.

I will try to listen to the song when I get home later.



anteros' dominion said...

and now, i can safely say, you are indeed back in the game, kuya j.


masyadong busy lang ako...thinking about happened sa akin and my partner(yung binanggit ko sa post ko) tsaka sa paghahanda sa exam sa march 8

again, thank you kasi you are still there

and anumang mangyari,kahit na minsan nakararamdam ako ng pagkademoralize kapag nagwawasang ka na at may mood swings (tao lang tayo) remember i'll always be around you (though at times you wont feel it)...

see you soon, kuya j...

palagi lang akong nakabantay, just in case you'd need help.and i know you know what i mean by that. hugs.