Dance Music 101: Downtempo

Dance music is a diverse field of knowledge. It contains several genres with their own distinct qualities and characteristics. One of the most prominent genres of dance music is the downtempo or the downbeat which exhibits a certain degree of similarity when compared to ambient dance music. For you to comprehend it easily, downtempo is much like the ambient music genre but with a nicer beat and groove to it. What makes the downtempo unique is that the drum patterns in this genre and the tempo are off the mark by twos from each other. While there is a therapeutic purpose for the ambient music genre, the downtempo or downbeat music genre is kind of chill out music form which promotes a sensual feeling with a romantic vibe to it. This is why downtempo is the preferred choice of music in dance parties, cafes and the like to steer the mood in the right direction.

It was in Ibiza when downtempo music was first introduced. This is because Ibiza was a place where night parties lasted until dawn, the night life obviously dominant in the said location. Once the party goers would prefer a relaxing atmosphere or want a slow romantic atmosphere, downtempo is usually the best choice to go to. This is also true when the party goers would want to rest up after a wild session of partying as an in-between break. At times, DJs would comply with the requests of the party goers to change the mood by slowing down the tempo or changing the vibe.

During the 80s, the downtempo music genre managed to travel to the regions of Bristol and they turned it into what later became known as trip hop – a mash up of hip-hop, ambient music, drum and bass while containing a slower tempo compared to the usual aspects of these music genres. It was the duo of the Austrians Kruder and Dorfmeister that were responsible for making the downtempo music genre so popular because of their remixes during the late 1990s period which led to the revival of the downtempo music genre.

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