Rupert Chill’s World


Welcome to Rupert Chill’s world. Here you can see films, and hear tracks, featuring my music. You can also catch up on relevant news, see pictures or a CV and get in contact.

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Turn on, Tune in, Chill out.


History of Ambient Dub Electronica

Rupert Chill gave a lecture in 2018 at the Ambient @ 40 conference, which celebrated 40 years since Brian Eno released his Music for Airports album, and first coined the term Ambient Music. It discusses the ancient roots of ambient music, as well as the development of electronic dance music versions of ambient in the early UK rave scene of the late 1980s. You can see this talk on YouTube here:

Music to keep the darkness at bay

Nice piece in the New European featuring my work. “By 17,000 years ago, with Neanderthals having long since died out, Homo sapiens had triumphed as the only surviving species of the human family tree, and their dominion over the Earth was truly beginning. But their manipulation of the world around them began not with farming, which came some 5,000 years later, but with art.”

1969: When the Beatles broke up and the party had to stop

The Yorkshire Post interviewed me about changing times for an end of year piece recently. “1969 was when something changed and something ended,” said Rupert Till, professor of music at Huddersfield University. “There had been a real purple patch of incredible creativity, which was really exciting. “But like any other generation, it got to the point where those people had kids or got jobs, and the rose-coloured spectacles came off.”

Read more at:

Liquid Life

The whole idea that writing something novel is possible seems very outmoded to me. Nothing in the universe is new, everything is the sum of its parts and its interconnectedness to other things, the interactions of your music’s field with other fields (to use Bourdieu’s term) is what allows us to connect with it. I reject Milton Babbitt’s ideas of absolute music entirely. Postmodernism gives too much credit to modernism if you ask me. I see modernism as a failed experiment to mechanistically understand and map the universe in order to control it, something launched by the enlightenment when Western European culture was emerging from the mediaeval period, as secular politics fought to wrest power from religions and take it into kingdoms.

We now understand that the universe is far more complex and mysterious than we thought, that it is more like a being than a machine, that life is chaotic, self-similar and fractal. I like Zygmunt Bauman’s term Liquidity, although he calls it liquid modernity. The trouble is that modernists now do not want to give up their own power and accept that the whole idea of the modern does not work. Enlightenment told us the new is good, is best, the old is wrong and bad, but atomic weapons, pollution and climate change tell us this is not the case. Progress can look backwards as well as forwards, the world is in 3D it does not move in one linear dimension.

Suzi Gablik’s work The Reenchantment of Art and the various books on reenchantment, including The Re-Enchantment of the West by Christopher Partridge, point to alternatives. Connection, collaboration, rediscovery, context, environment and ecology are the watchwords of the 21st century, not novelty, newness, a monofocused monoculture which looks only to the next horizon, which is quickly replaced by the one after. Modernism is flat earth thinking, as if the whole of the square can be seen at once if only you rise up high enough, when in reality we are on a turning globe, if you travel in one direction, you just see one new horizon after another, and end up back where you started.

Culturally, modernism has led to disconnected, homeless art that is separated from audiences by a gulf of endless novelty that only produces something new in the mind of the artist, soulless self-indulgent art that doesn’t take account of its context. The world is about the many now, not the few. Knowledge, truth, understanding are no longer the purview of the educated few, the masses are educated and popular culture no longer allows one elitist opinion to be presented as fact. No solo compositional vision holds sway over the responses of context, of audience, or other. You work is struggling with the role of individuality in the music business.

Fowler’s work on stages of faith, is an interesting metaphor here. As I look back into ancient musical cultures, I see that there is no differentiation between music and cult, sound and religion, acoustic ecology and spirituality. Music making generates the same feeling, the same understanding, as religious ecstasy, as least it does when it is embedded within a context, when it allows itself to connect with meaning and with the cultures that overlaps with the field of the musicking that is happening. Music that allows reference and embeds itself within the constraints of traditions, rather than those of intellectual modernist novelty, allows our own fields to reach out and connect with those of others, past, present or future. By connecting with the collective unconscious, we can reach out to our ancestors, to our peers, by connecting to other musical fields we connect to other individuals, communities, and traditions, to these other spiritual worlds, using spiritual to mean connection to other, rather than referring specifically to God or gods.

So the feelings generated during ritual, during performance, through drama, music and dance, are culture, and music, or performance, is religion, is spirituality. This is true for many musicians, who understand their connections to themselves, to others and to the universe through this connectivity. What is odd about modernist Western society, is that music has become the activity of a privileged few, a spectacle rather than something to take part in, something to watch from a distance rather than something to do. It is the religion of special revelation, where another tells you about the truth, rather than of general revelation, of the path of the mystic, of experiencing for oneself, and trusting that experience.

Fowler’s stages, if translated from faith more broadly into life, and for example into musical understanding, can help us see that it is normal to be on a path from a singular understanding to one that is more interpenetrative. From a single genre, from a rush in a straight line, to a slower, more elegant outspreading. To an increasing interconnection and acceptance. This is the aesthetic I increasingly chose to engage in.

Shop to pop: listening to chart music will help Brits save money this Black Friday

  • Retailers use slow ambling music to keep shoppers in-store
  • Up-tempo background tunes get customers out of the door quickly
  • Down-tempo music is most soothing for older shoppers who bore easily

With the biggest shopping day of the year coming up, a new study has been carried out, looking into the impact music can have on shoppers.

With Brits having spent a cool £1.2billion last year during Black Friday alone,[1] money-saving website has teamed up with Prof. Rupert Till, Professor of Music at the University of Huddersfield, who explored how those having in-store shopping experiences might have had their spending habits altered by the background music.

Dr. Till who reveals that, even with Christmas tunes aplenty, retailers can use specifically curated playlists to encourage shoppers to amble through stores. This creates extra opportunity for them to browse – and buy – items.

The Professor of Music has worked with to curate five clef-er music playlists, designed to put the power ‘Bach’ in shoppers’ hands this Black Friday. Thanks to the playlists, those hitting the shops or shopping online can pop in some earphones and select a pitch-perfect playlist to suit their mood and provide a seamless shopping experience.

Dr Rupert Till commented, “Retailers often use music in sophisticated ways to manipulate the moods and behaviours of their customers. Shoppers though can take control and set their own mood, based on their situation by listening to music on their own personal devices.

“Whether people get easily distracted and buy items they don’t need or perhaps they need help overcoming the pressures of buying gifts for others, we have looked to provide a solution for a range of issues faced by shoppers.”

He reveals listening to the up-tempo beats of Calvin Harris, Zara Larson and Maroon 5 keeps shoppers moving and gets them out of the store quickly– leaving less time to make purchases.

Chart music in a major key – especially when played loud – is most useful for under 25s as research found that this style got young shoppers moving to the beat and out of stores quicker than any other genre.

Dr Till, who both researches and composes music, has provided some money-saving music tips to help overcome the ‘treble’ of buying Christmas gifts and wading through the seemingly endless deals on offer. Whether playing music while browsing online or listening through headphones in-store, here are his top-tips:

  • For an efficient money-saving shop, up-tempo music gets shoppers through their task quickly, which reduces the likelihood of sticking around, browsing the store and spending money – artists include Calvin Harris, Zara Larson and Maroon 5
  • Slow ‘background’ music is recommended to sooth those who get anxious while shopping – artists include Dido, Groove Armada and William Orbit
  • Down-tempo music is ideal for older Brits who bore easily as it sooths the shopper and provides the perception that the shopping duration is shorter than in reality – artists include Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin and Dean Martin
  • Match the music genre to the product you are buying to get in the right frame-of-mind and to ‘cymbalise’ the culture of the purchase item – artists for buying cutting edge gadgets include break-through artists, such as Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Nadia Rose and Temples
  • A Classical Music Playlist might suit high cost aspirational purchases is currently hosting these five individual playlists to address common issues experienced by shoppers, including stress, boredom and lack of focus, to help aid a smooth Black Friday and Cyber Monday experience.

To access the Black Friday playlists, visit:

Or Spotify:



Dr Till’s top songs to help keep calm under pressure, when shopping stresses you out:

Song Artist
Daydream in Blue I Monster
I Remember Johnny Bent
Song of Life Leftfield
Teardrop Massive Attack
Weightless Marconi Union
At the River Groove Armada
Mustt Mustt Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Massive Attack Remix)
Water from a Vine Leaf William Orbit
Thank You Dido
The Great Gig in the Sky Pink Floyd


Dr Till’s top songs for a fast, focused and fun money-saving shop:

Song Artist
Shape of You Ed Sheeran
Despacito (Remix) Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Justin Bieber
You Don’t Know Me Jax Jones ft. Zara Larsson
There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back Shawn Mendes
Call on Me Starley
Feels Calvin Harris
Chained to the Rhythm Katy Perry ft. Skip Marley
Big for your Boots Stormzy
Sun Comes Up Rudimental
What Lovers Do Maroon 5


Dr. Till’s top songs to help pass the time for those who don’t enjoy shopping:

Song Artist
The Good Life Tony Bennett
Beyond the Sea Bobby Darin
Wishin’ and Hopin’ Dusty Springfield
Wichita Lineman Glenn Campbell
That’s Amore Dean Martin
Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay Otis Redding
Lovely Day Bill Withers
Songbird Fleetwood Mac
Over the Rainbow Eva Cassidy
She Peter Skellern


Dr Till’s top classical choices when shopping for elite, aspirational, high quality products:

Song Artist
Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor: 4. Adagietto. Mahler – Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly
Nocturne No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 9 No. 2. Chopin – Ji Liu
Adagio for Strings and Organ Albinoni – I Musici
Symphony No. 3 “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”: II. Lento e Largo Gorecki – Joanna Koslowska, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Kazimierz Kord
Bolero Ravel – Boston Symphony Orchestra and Seiji Ozawa
Requiem in D Minor: Lacrimosa Mozart – Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and Sir Neville Marriner
Spem in Alium – Tallis I Fagiolini and Robert Hollingworth
O Euchari Gothic Voices, Christopher Page and Emily Van Evera
Flower Duet (from Lakme) Delibes – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Serenade to Music Vaughan Williams – Adrian Boult


Dr Till’s top songs for buying cutting edge gifts:

Song Artist
Glitter & Gold Barns Courtney
I Need a Connection Jane Weaver
There’s a Honey Pale Waves
Human Rag’n’Bone Man
Keep in the Dark Temples
Let’s Go to the Beach Sophie Longshaw
Anita Smino
Belle Wahalla Kondi Band
Makeba Jain
Skwod Nadia Rose

For more information, contact the press office on 0203 897 0333 or at



About Dr Rupert Till

Dr. Rupert Till is Professor of Music in the Department of Music and Drama, having worked at the University of Huddersfield since 2002. He is also Associate Dean International in the School of Music, Humanities and Media, responsible for overseeing international development and recruitment.

He has appeared on TV and Radio, including BBC Breakfast, BBC News, the Sky at Night, Mystery Quest, ARTE, the Travel Channel, BBC Radio 2, 4, 5, 6 and World Service, LBC, various international radio stations, and speaks regularly on BBC Radio Leeds and Sheffield on popular music subjects. His research has been featured widely in national and international press and on numerous websites.


Study Like A Pro – Music To Keep You Motivated

My first Huffington Post article is up.

This morning I was supposed to be writing about how music can help you work, but instead I found myself distracted, wandering around the kitchen, looking in the fridge and checking Facebook, somehow, I just couldn’t get started. Suddenly the irony of the situation hit me, I reached for some music, and with the Cuckoo Clocks’ new single playing in the background, as if by magic, the words just started to flow.

This isn’t the first time I’ve faced this problem, as a student I’d often work through the night on an assignment and struggle to stay focused in the early hours. The trouble is that my only-too-human brain can typically only concentrate for about 20 minutes before struggling. Stress, noise, hunger and tiredness all shorten how long I can stay focused for. At worst, I zigzag from drowsy to wired, and produce work that is far below what I’m capable of. But when I was in the zone I’d work for hours without a break, in a flow state, as computer games theorists call it.

To stay awake, a first instinct is caffeine. So I was pleased when I found out that Pro Plus has unveiled a playlist specially designed to help students study, based on research they commissioned that explores whether music helps or hinders studying success. Even though today’s students are spending on average 2 hours less per week in the library than their parent’s generation, almost three times as many students achieve first class degrees. So, what’s the secret? A powerful playlist would appear to be one answer, with three quarters of today’s student population listening to music when studying to aid concentration and motivation.

I grew up learning in stony silence, my schoolteachers aiming for pin drop silence and only allowing talking occasionally. It turns out that they were missing out on the role music can play in helping us to achieve our best. For many years, educational researchers in Australia have used music to aid the concentration of students of all ages. They need something to help them, Pro Plus also found our fixation with social media to be the number 1 distraction, closely followed by Netflix box set bingeing and playing computer games. Their parents’ generation – I’m talking about my generation here – were mostly distracted by a night out on the town, which I still think is more fun!

Whereas, their parents had to cope with the humble cassette mixtape, today’s young nighthawk study sessions are sound-tracked by custom curated music playlists to keep on task. 24 to 34 year olds are more likely to listen to an artist’s album, and over 55s will listen to whatever appears on the wireless. So, what does research say music can do to help turn you into a working genius (well at least to keep you awake)?

It seems it’s a ‘horses for courses’ case here, with the perfect playlist being dependent on the task in hand. For an all-night study session, the music needs to turn up the pace to keep your blood coursing through the veins, boosting natural stimulants in the body. But you must avoid anything too fast, otherwise you can get too hyped up, and stressed. Music with lyrics can keep you sharp, helping avoid your brain slowing to an alpha or theta brainwave state, in which you can feel drowsy. It’s important to choose music that particularly appeals to you, everyone’s perfect playlist is different. For something that involves complex thinking at a higher level, like a dissertation, you should listen to instrumental music, as you need the intellectual space that lyrics might take up.

Lower tempo music can achieve something quite different, reducing tension, entraining your body, even your heartbeat, to a lower speed when listening to chilled out music. For anything mathematical, calming background music seems to work, as do lyrics, so choosing songs can be good. Extroverts it seems respond better to familiar music, introverts might want something new. The research shows that silence is worse than vocal or instrumental music when working with pictures, so for art homework or graphic design music is a must. If for your music is distracting, turn it off, but it’s at least worth trying working with music playing. The work might take longer, but you might get more done, and be happier while you are doing it.

Streaming hits the top 40 but is this the end of the chart itself?

Check out an article I wrote a little while ago on the Conversation

Music streaming is soon to be counted within the charts, a reflection of a major shift in the music industry. Spotify and other sites like it make access to their vaults of recordings free – if you don’t mind advertising. This shifts the focus of music consumption from ownership to always available rental-like streaming. Because of this, terms that were once significant, such as “single”, “album” and indeed “chart”, are slowly being deconstructed.