Joup Friday Album: Washed Out “Life of Leisure”

Washed Out - Life of Leisure The first time I heard “Feel it All Around” was watching Portlandia last summer. If you’ve seen or know the show, the tune acts as the opening theme song. And upon hearing it I had to know who, what, where and how. What I came up with initially was a group (which I would later find out was just Ernest Greene) called Washed Out. I put it on the back burner for some reason until recently and then it just hit me like a wonderful hazy memory…and that Portlandia show is terrific as well. Fred Armisen cracks me up, but that is another topic for another day.

I had no idea what “Chillwave” was till about 6 weeks ago. If you Wiki it you come up with:

A style of music characterized by a faded or dreamy retro pop sound, mellow vocals, a low-to-moderate tempo, escapist lyrics about the beach or summertime, psychedelic or lo-fi textures, effects processing (reverb especially), vintage synthesizers, and other attempts to loosely emulate 1980s electronic pop aesthetics as well as engage with notions of memory and nostalgia.


“Man this is me…totally.” The idea, the presentation and of course the music. Which there are quite a few outstanding “Chillwave” artists like Toro y Mois (Chazwick Bundick), Tycho and Neon Indian with their tune “Polish Girl.” But really this reminded me of older electronic artist/DJs like Bonobo and Zero 7…so maybe trip-hop? acid jazz? Or dare I just throw the blanket over it and say IDM? Ahhhh…it’s just labels anyway. Some take it serious as a form of categorizing for marketing purposes. Some think it’s complete rubbish like Dave Schilling from Grantland:

Chillwave was a term invented by thought leader/influencer Carles on his Hipster Runoff blog to classify a type of music loosely defined by summertime imagery, analog production, and heavy usage of samples. It really only existed from the summer of 2009 to the beginning of 2011, around the time when no one was sure how much of Hipster Runoff was a gag and how much was sincere tastemaking. (Grantland)

All I know is it has opened up a world of enjoyable music for me.

So our brief history lesson on Chillwave…but make no mistake, if you want a good “vibe” start here with “Life of Leisure.” Why? It provides an ideal intro into the “genre” as a 6 song 18 minute EP. Short enough to give it a full proper listen with out completely dismissing it after a track or two of skipping around, long enough to stay engaged for 20 minutes at work or home (anytime really). So perhaps a sampler? Really though “Life of Leisure” stands as it’s own entity.

Give me more reverb! I want to swim in it forever…and then delay on top. Saturate me in sound. That’s definitely what this EP has. From the opening track of “Get Up” the choppy synth and samples are drenched. Move onto “New Theory” where Greene finally features his own vocals and bubble bee buzzing synth. The sequencing on “Hold Out” is an impeccably lush backing for Greene yet again. It has a way of just creeping into your head and not leaving, which for me is completely welcome. Hard cut to “Feel it All Around,” quite possibly the perfect example of Chillwave. Moderate tempo, smooth beat, terrific melody line, tom flares, and layer upon layer audio stimulation. Yes, please. Again and again. Greene steps it up a notch with “Lately,” but that same formula carries through..even onto the last track “You’ll See It.” And yes I certain did, well heard it at the very least.

Yes somewhere in 2010 I think. Or maybe 1978, or 1983? It’s just a 20 minutes fond hazy memory from Washed Out. And if you like that, keep dreaming and search for more.

Chester? Maybe this isn’t everyone’s speed. :)

Joe Grez

Joe Grez

Joe Grzesik (JGrez) is still an artist developer trying to keep up with new technologies. Photography still has been one of his strongest passions. However, now his main focus has led him back to music where he teaches guitar, piano, saxophone and percussion privately. Music education can never be short changed.

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