oooh goody... i'm a downtempo FREAK. can't pull me away from the stuff. It's absolutely, bar none, my favorite genre of music.
so, sit back, and enjoy this lesson in chill...
First, there's a distinction to be made between true downtempo (or lounge) music and ambient/chillout music. Lounge originated really in lounges and bars around the world. Places like le Buddha Bar in Paris and the Eighteenth Street Lounge in DC are famous for being meccas of this sort of music. Lounge has more beats to it. Generally, this stuff has a jazzier feel to it.
Ambient/chillout music started really in the chillout rooms of raves. It's very mellow, blissful music, without too many jarring beats or anything to mess with your head.
(a) the entire Eighteenth Street Lounge Music label. This includes Thievery Corporation, Thunderball, Ursula 1000, Blue States, etcetera.
Website: <a href="http://www.eslmusic.com
</a> includes a lot of realaudio tracks and mixes.
(b) Kruder + Dorfmeister and their G-Stone label from Austria. This includes K+D themselves, Tosca, etcetera. Sorta more upbeat than the ESL stuff.
(c) The Buddha Bar series of discs from France. Beware, in the US, these discs run about $45-50 each, as they're extremely rare and imports. Total class, though.
(d) The Back To Mine series of discs. Basically, a bunch of famous dj's pick their favorite downtempo/chillout tracks and mix them. Ranges from loungey stuff to more ambient/chilled trance/etcetera. Very cool. I believe there's 8 so far.
(e) The Ministry Of Sound Chillout albums. Very cool, more the popular side of this stuff. British in origin, but can be had cheaply in the USA. Ranges again from the jazzier stuff to the trancier stuff.
(f) the Cafe del Mar series from Ibiza. More the ambient side of things, with spanish influences. Very summery feeling. There's 8 volumes out, plus a few rare imports.
(g) Net Radio. If you can stream a 128k stream in iTunes, go into the radio tuner and look for FlareSound jazzy beats, FlareSound deep beats, Epiphany Radio, Drone Zone, squidradio Downtempo, Groove Salad, etcetera. All specialize in this sort of music. Plus, it's free (!)
Some of this stuff can be difficult to find. It's not really too popular in the US... very avant-garde... therefore, if you need some, I can give it to you, no doubt. I have over 5 gigs of 192k+ downtempo MP3s. I'm on dialup for now, but should be back on the T3 next week- shoot me an email and I'll set things up...