Make no mistake, vinyls are back. As audiophiles bring the iconic circular disks back for their second renaissance, more and more artists are following the trend and releasing their catalogs on vinyl.
So what’s the reason for the resurgence in vinyl records? The first thing, arguably, is sound.
For a quick brush up on the basics, music that is played in a digital format (CD’s, MP3’s, etc.) is comprised of samples; i.e. snippets of a sound wave and not the complete audio picture, if you will.
True analog sound that comes from vinyls, tapes, etc. delivers an unadulterated and complete wave form – meaning a high quality sound. As high quality digital technology continues to improve we have approached the point where it’s disputably impossible for the human ear to tell the difference between digital and analog audio.
We’re not getting into that argument, but either way it is useful to know that there is an objective argument for the vinyl’s epic comeback.
Also, vinyls are nostalgic. Anyone who’s experienced the pop of a needle on the shallow grooved surface of their favorite vinyl has experienced something magical.
It’s goosebump worthy.
In the day and age where attention spans run thin and the omnipresent shuffle button lurks at every twist turn, the art of listening to an album has been lost.
Albums are vehicles for auditory immersion; the submarine with which you traverse the great expanses of sound locked within them.
There’s a different feeling when one sits down and listens to a full record. For example, Pink Floyd’s “Time” is an absolute classic, but it pales in comparison when considering Dark Side as a whole. In truth, almost everything does… Do you honestly think that “Time” would be as poignant if it weren’t sandwiched between “On the Run” and “The Great Gig in the Sky”? Who knows, but it’s definitely something to ponder.
In light of that idea, we’d like to take you to the deep cuts with 10 of our favorite chill out, trip hop, and downtempo vinyls that you absolutely need in your collection. For those who are new to the record game, we’ve also included a pair of record player suggestions to get you started.
TEAC MC-D800-CH All-In-One Turntable Speaker System with Bluetooth
A premium option that won’t break the bank, the TEAC MC-D800 combines old and new with its all-in-one analog and digital set up. With a 3-speed turntable, bluetooth capabilities, CD player, and USB plugin – the TEAC MC-D800 is an emerging audiophile’s dream.
Pyle PTTCSM70BT Bluetooth Classic Style Record Player Turntable with Vinyl to MP3 Recording, Dual Cassette Deck and CD Player
With Bluetooth capabilities, vinyl to MP3 recording, a CD player, and dual cassette deck – the Pyle PTTCSM70BT is your one-stop-shop for home audio needs. A more affordable option than the aforementioned TEAC MC-D800, the Pyle PTTCSM70BT is a solid record player to get any music lover started.
Tycho – Awake
Treading the boundaries between indie, chill out, and downtempo – there’s never a dull moment on Tycho’s Awake LP. With Tycho’s classic smooth cascading textures, check out Awake today.
Bonobo – Black Sands
Perhaps Bonobo’s seminal work, Black Sands is a downtempo tour-de-force that’s rife with live instrumentation and ethereal melodies. Supremely chilled out and infinitely relaxed, listen to Black Sands today.
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing
A landmark record in the instrumental hip hop movement, DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing has received universal acclaim from fans and critics alike since its release in 1996. Comprised almost entirely of samples, DJ Shadow shows his prowess in spades with Endtroducing.
Boards of Canada – Music Has the Right to Children
The first public album from Scottish ambient and downtempo legends, Boards of Canada, Music Has the Right to Children is an absolute necessity for any downtempo lover. Check it out today.
Thievery Corporation – The Mirror Conspiracy
The funky and ever-changing conglomeration of musicians that is Thievery Corporation culminates in this hip hop, dub, and lounge classic – The Mirror Conspiracy. Throw on some Thievery and let the ultimate daydream begin.
Massive Attack – Blue Lines
Downtempo doesn’t get more classic than trip hop progenitors Massive Attack’s groundbreaking and critically acclaimed album, Blue Lines. An instrumental force in shaping the Bristol sound, Massive Attack’s Blue Lines is the definitive snapshot into the English roots of the trip hop movement.
Wax Tailor – Hope & Sorrow
Deeply cinematic and undeniably hip hop, Wax Tailor’s Hope & Sorrow is a downtempo masterpiece that’s sure to set the vibes right. With dusty samples and hypnotic grooves, settle into Hope & Sorrow today.
Nightmares on Wax – Smoker’s Delight
Englishman turned Ibizan expat, Nightmares on Wax throws down some of the haziest beats of his illustrious career on the 1995 classic, Smokers Delight. Make sure that this album makes its way into your collection, you won’t regret it.
Portishead – Dummy
Along with Massive Attack, Portishead epitomized the Bristol sound and the birth of trip hop with their critically acclaimed 1994 release, Dummy. Dark and haunting, Dummy is a foray into the murkier side of the trip hop genre.
Emancipator – Dusk to Dawn
The third Emancipator album to date, Dusk to Dawn showcases the producer at his absolute finest. Ethereal, melodic, and hypnotic – Dusk to Dawn is an absolute classic that belongs on your shelf.
These 10 records are absolute classics among downtempo fans and record collectors alike. From genre-defining albums like Massive Attack’s Blue Lines and Portishead’s Dummy to new classics like Emancipator’s Dusk to Dawn – each of these albums is guaranteed to hold a special place in your heart, and on your shelf.