Top 10 Albums to Smoke/Chill To.... (1-5)

This is my top 10 list of the best albums to chill to (not in any order). The list is not specific to any genre, but includes the best chill grooves you will be able to find. Also, if you are just out discovering music, this list is a good place to find some stuff you may not have heard of...

To clarify, this list is not in any order; all these albums are great in their own way. I chose these albums on a basis of overall goodness and consistency, so any album with tracks that I tend to always skip are out.

1. G. Love & Special Sauce - Self-titled (1994)

G. Love & Special Sauce

The debut album by the laid back Philly trio. The formula: stoned bluesy grooves executed by raggedy guitar, tight drums, and stand-up bass matched with G's chilled out voice. The whole record maintains this cool, groovin feel, mixing old school blues elements with some rock and hip hop influence injected -- truly a unique sound.

Most notable cuts:

"This Aint Livin" track 09 -- a vocal collaboration between G. Love and guest rapper Jasper who lays down some great verses in this song, the music is very upbeat and inspiring -- good shit.

"Walk to Slide" track 10 -- my favorite track on the album, great example of their signature sound, this track just grooves plain and simple.

"Blues Music" track 02 -- it doesn't get much more chill than this...

2. Medeski, Martin & Wood - Shack-man (1996)


Sick instrumental jazz/funk album by the experimental jazz trio of MMW. This record grooves so hard in some places that its very hard to not feel this. By far my favorite of MMW's work, the grooves are killer, the improv is intense. This is my instrumental album of choice when chilling has commenced. MMW recorded this album when living in Hawaii, and the laid back nature of the island seems to be reflected in the music.

Most notable cuts:

"Night Marchers Kenny" track 10 -- pure groove right here. Ohhh yeahh.

"Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus" track 01 -- opens the album off with a great song

"Dracula" track 03 -- once again, great groove here, what more can I say?

3. Santana - Caravanserai (1972)


Superb experimental Santana. This album is different than the band's earlier work in that it is more experimental and focuses on the album as a whole very well, as well as having a lot of instrumental songs. What I like about this album is that it is good the whole way through and flows well song to song -- I can put it on and just sit back. The organ tones on this album are just beautiful, especially on songs like "Waves Within" and "Song of the Wind". Carlos's guitar is laid back and isn't featured a whole lot, but when it comes out it screams. Check "Song of the Wind" and "Waves Within" again. The vocals aren't the best, but that is not the showcase here, and they only show up on three of the ten tracks. "Future Primitive" is a very trippy track with a weird sound effect and congas going wild. Truly a treat for the ears.

4. 10 Ft. Ganja Plant - Midnight Landing (2003)

Midnight Landing

Very good roots reggae music from the mysterious reggae collective 10 ft. Ganja Plant. I have listened to a lot of reggae and roots reggae from all time periods, and have to say that 10 ft., although recent, may be the best. This album sends out a very chill and spiritual vibe.

Most notable cuts:

"Midnight Landing" track 06 -- Epic chilling groove. The many instruments involved in this awesome jam immerse you in a jungle. Also check "Wide Open" for a similar and equally awesome groove.

"Chanting Nyabinghi" track 07 -- Driven by a low bowed bass and then taken over by a fat electric bass while the strings take the lead. Very good song.

"100 Lb. Weight" track 01 -- Great track with a killer intro.

5. Thievery Corporation - The Mirror Conspiracy (2000)

The Mirror Conspiracy

Chill beats using world influenced samples with some atmospheric female vocalists throughout. Very spacey and dreamy album, also a good album to shroom to, given how trippy the feel is. A consistently good and relaxing record throughout.

Most notable cuts:

"Samba Tranquille" track 08 -- Very tranquil indeed. A floaty groove with layers of keyboards and synths, clear and fresh.

"The Mirror Conspiracy" track 12 -- Soft, dreamy female vocals and awesome instrumental.

"Lebanese Blonde" track 04 -- My favorite, chill sitar groove, very laid back and dreamy like the whole album.

Check out the rest of the list here: Albums 6-10 plus Honorable Mentions

Eventually I might merge the two sections into one 1-10 page