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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Is For Tunes: Washed Out


I first heard Washed Out, this week's Tuesday Is For Tunes featured music-maker, a couple months ago the Pitchfork: Best New Music playlist. I clearly remember liking what I heard, clicking back to listen to it again. Unfortunately, I usually listen to that playlist rather passively, and did not investigate further. Thankfully, You'll See It by Washed Out was today's All Songs Considered: Song of The Day, and this time I had the good sense to listen more. After listening to that song on repeat for a few hours, I proceeded to play what other Washed Out songs I could find on the interwebs with equal vigor. It is some of the best minimal synth I’ve heard in awhile, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve been listening to what could be considered by some to be a gross amount of minimal synth music lately.

This is probably influenced by some hopeful or maybe just wishful thinking on my part, but to me Washed Out sounds like wintertime dreams of summertime love as John Hughes might have conceptualized it. Deceptively simple, yet Washed Out skillfully blends the atmospheric reverb of shoegaze with the electro beats of techno pop to create distinct and memorable songs, such as Lately. These songs make you want to dance, but not in the booty-shaking-in-da-club way of incessant, blaring, buzzed out, base beats at a BPM only hyperactive small mammals can match. I’ll admit to loving me some of that in the past, but these days I’m pretty over it. Slow the tempo down a bit. Give me a song like Belong with gorgeous effects and subtle beats that will make my hips sway, and my mind soar.

Washed Out is the work of just one very talented man, Ernest Greene. In addition to exquisite music, Greene makes equally compelling art, photography, and videos. Together he’s creating a complete post-modern multimedia aesthetic that absorbingly appeals to me. I cannot get enough of it, and I’m finding the limited content on his blog both frustrating and tantalizing. Truthfully, it is the restraint of Greene’s work makes me want to gorge myself on it all the more. For example, take the video Perry, Georgia.
Watching this fills me with a yearning for the birds to fly even further away. At the very least, I want the video to loop for at least five minutes. Not to mention my deep and public love for the clouds of starlings you can see in fall on the east coast. The rivers of birds that flow from horizon to horizon are the true heralds of autumn for me. I will appreciate anyone, who also appreciates these birds. Triple bonus, Washed Out released a 7" with Feel It All Around as the A side and a Toro Y Moi remix version as the B side. It is simply delicious for my ears.

Washed Out released Life of Leisure, a 6-song EP, last year. Unfortunately, the album is sold out on Washed Out's online store. As much as it pains me not to have a physical copy, my need for immediate satisfaction overcame my personal standards, and I bought a download of the album. It is so, so very good that you should follow suit immediately. If after you listen, you too cannot get enough of Ernest Greene, here are some links.
Washed Out on MySpace
Buy Life of Leisure as an MP3 download
Ernest Greene's blog
Ernest Greene on Vimeo
Washed Out: Sweeping Synths, Dunked In Reverb by Kevin O'Donnell
Washed Out - Feel It All Around (Toro Y Moi Remix)
Washed Out's online store


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