Illbient is a genre of electronic music. The term was allegedly coined by DJ Olive to describe the music being produced by a community of artists based in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York in 1994. The word "Illbient" combines the hip hop slang term "ill" (a positive expression: bad meaning good) and "ambient".
Though there are many individualistic variants of illbient, the music is characterized by interesting dub-wise layering of soundscapes,hip hop-influenced use of samples and a progressive approach to beat programming that encompasses all genres of world groove and electronic music. Usually, but not always, illbient uses beats more than purely ambient music (or dark ambient), and often illbient includes loops in the recordings.
Centered in New York City (Brooklyn in particular), illbient is a distinctly and consciously urban form of electronic music, aiming to express both the cultural variety and grimy decay of its surroundings.
Unlike the UK's marijuana-infused ambient culture, New York's 'illbient' scene is less about wombing soundbaths and vegetative bliss, more about creating audio-sculptures and environmental soundscapes.