Top 10 Albums to Smoke/Chill To.... (6-10 plus Honorable Mentions)
This list is continued from Top 10 Albums to Chill To (1-5).
Note: As with #1-5, Most Notable Cuts are not listed on an album that I feel flows from start to end as a whole with no real standouts. Nor is it listed on the Honorable Mentions.
6. Deuter - Aum (1972)
This is a very meditative and relaxing (and also very obscure) record by German instrumentalist and spiritual wanderer Georg Deuter. Full of peaceful sounds--both musical and from nature--this album is what you want to put on after a stressful day in order to unwind and calm down. Or if you are just feeling contemplative and spiritual, this is a great album to think existence over with. During the 70s and 80s, Deuter traveled all over Asia in search of spiritual inspiration and recorded many records which were used in "active meditations". I love this record because it just flows from song to song, with no real highlights. A very chill album indeed.
7. Mezzanine - Massive Attack (1998)
The ultimate tripped out groove album. In my opinion the best from the Massive catalog, simply because there is not a bad song on the record. The whole record is drenched in a thick hazy blanket of drugged-out goodness. Many songs feature female vocalists (most notably the beautiful "Teardrop", sung by Elizabeth Fraser), while there are a couple cuts featuring members 3D and Daddy G and two songs with Horace Andy. The sound is very textured and ambient, giving it that trippy feel--the beats on this album are just ingeniously crafted, ranging from epic ("Angel" and similar "Dissolved Girl"), hallucinogenic ("Group Four", "Risingson", "Inertia Creeps", "Black Milk"), and chill ("Exchange" and the vocal remix "(Exchange)"), although most display some sort combination of the three. One of my all-time favorites.
Most notable cuts:
"Angel" track 01 -- kicks off the album with one of the most epic build ups ever and Horace Andy's best performance with Massive.
"Exchange" track 05 -- incredibly chill instrumental. Nuff said.
"Black Milk" track 08 -- with an underlying drone of pitch-shifting hums, dancing piano notes, and a driving beat and bassline, this song along with Liz Fraser's atmospheric vocals will imprison your ears in a dark, floaty abyss.
"Teardrop" track 03 -- yeah, yeah... its the House theme song... whatever. It is an incredible song, but a song this epic and amazing should not be known for something like that. If this is the only MA song you know you need to dig much deeper. Anyways, this is one of my favorite beats and my vote for best female vocals ever.
8. DJ Shadow - Endtroducing... (1996)
Most incredible all-sampled work I have come across. The debut album by DJ Shadow, this record is not only an incredible feat of skill, it is at times also very chill and introspective. Although not all of the album can be seen as prime chilling music, the chill songs are so good that they outweigh all the more upbeat selections. ("The Number Song" is very impressive in terms of skill considering the drums and everything were all crafted with an MPC 60, but it is way too hectic and crazy to consider chill music). But cuts like "Midnight in a Perfect World", "Changeling", and "What Does Your Soul Look Like, Pt. 1" are absolutely prime. The album as a whole is very good and can be seen as a collage, with a couple recurring themes that pop up more than once throughout the record.
Most notable cuts:
"Midnight in a Perfect World" track 11 -- absolutely beautiful samples of a processed electric piano and ooooooh vocals over an incredible drum loop. Awesome track.
"What Does Your Soul Look Like, Pt. 1 [Blue Sky Revisit]" track 13 -- chilled out sax and jazzy textures with a beat that gets your head moving up and down.
"Building Steam With a Grain of Salt" track 02 -- genius use of samples that go together very well. (The whole album is like that though...)
"Changeling" track 04 -- an abstract beat with a floaty sample over a busy drum loop that introduces a nice melodic line towards the end.
9. Groundation - Dub Wars (2006)
Groundation is a roots reggae group from California that is composed of white members. At first you may be turned away or question their authenticity by knowing this, as roots reggae is usually associated with Jamaican heritage, but I must say that they make some very impressive reggae music. Dub Wars is an album they released using material from their past few albums that they turned into dubs, and it is by far my favorite Groundation album. The grooves are rich and deep, the vibes are uplifting and chilled. I love this album because it flows very well and maintains a consistent vibe throughout. Some of my favorites are the rich "Ruling Dub" and "The Dragon", but the whole album is good, especially as a soundtrack to a chill day.
10. Slightly Stoopid - Closer to the Sun (2005)
It is evident that Stoopid is not completely serious all of the time, they are just a bunch of chill guys who like to hang out and smoke together, and this album is not very consistent. That being said, when they want to they can create some very good music worthy of a laid back summer day at the beach and (Kyle and Miles) are quite good guitarists. Stoopid remains in my top choices for prime summertime chillin soundtracks, but when I put them on, it is in playlist form, not albums. The reason for this is that they are double edged--with very chill grooves, but also terrible punk rock songs injected into their albums. Closer to the Sun is my favorite Stoopid album. Cuts like "Intro" and "Babylon Is Fallin", "This Joint", "Basher", "See No Other Way", and "Closer to the Sun" and "Zeplike" are very good relaxed jams. Cuts like "Nothin Over Me" and "Righteous Man" are very bad unrelaxed jams, but I credit that to them not being totally serious as I said, they just like to have fun and mess around.
Most notable cuts:
"Intro" and "Babylon Is Fallin" tracks 01 and 02 -- great laid back grooves with sun-inspired vibes. The reason I put them together is that I always play the two together, even in a playlist because they are both short and have the same feel.
"Basher" track 13 -- awesome chilled out instrumental.
"This Joint" track 08 -- when I first heard this I was high and it completely blew my mind. Nuff said.
HM #1. 311 - Grassroots (1994)
311 put out some great releases at the beginning of their career before descending into poppy horridness. Music and Grassroots are the best, with Grassroots being my favorite. There are some sick grooves on this album -- check "Taiyed", "8:16 A.M.", "Lose", and "1,2,3" for chill reggae-ish tunes and "Six", "Grassroots", "Offbeat Bare Ass", "Nutsymptom", and "Homebrew" for harder grooves. I would describe early 311 as a unique mix of rock, reggae/latin influence, and rap influence.
HM #2. Cypress Hill - Black Sunday (1993)
Okay, this one may seem kind of cliche, but hold on... Although the lyrical content is not 100% serious, the beats on this album are some of my favorite in all of hip hop. And to be fair B-Real's lyrics are pretty good most of the time, although Sen Dog really is not very talented. The formula for most of the beats on this album--low, thumping fat bass matched with the trademark high pitched squeal sounds--results in some of the most unique and head bobbing beats ever created. Check songs like "I Want to Get High", "I Ain't Goin out Like That", "Insane in the Brain", "Musical Interlude", and of course "Hits From the Bong". All these cuts are great and are a prime example of classic Cypress Hill before they started making bad music.
I hope you enjoyed my list of the best albums to chill and smoke to as much as I enjoyed creating it, more posts to come...
Have a good day guys. - HDBen78