Swell Season

Tuneage // Cristina Black // June/July 2010
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Swell Season

Picture a boom box on a beach, caked in sand, wet with waves, blaring out beats and synth lines through a wobbly wall of fuzz and static. Easily, slowly, softly. This is the sound of chillwave, the electro mini-trend buzzing through indie blog boards right about now. The style registers like an offshoot of the day-glo pop movement spearheaded by Animal Collective, except way mellower, with soft melodies atop loops, samples and fake drums drenched in a wash of reverb, delay and echo effects. NEON INDIAN is currently chillwave’s most prominent constituent, but there are others—each one a lone dude behind a simple stage name—making DIY watercolor dance music. There’s the aptly-monikered WASHED OUT (a.k.a. Ernest Greene) from Georgia, whose EP Life of Leisure dips into dancehall beats, and TORO Y MOI (a.k.a. Chaz Bundick) from South Carolina, whose album, Causers of This, mixes broken beats with plenty of pretty falsetto. Dayve Hawk, a 26-year-old New Jerseyite who’s remixed Britney Spears, among others, recently reincarnated himself as MEMORY TAPES and spawned the atmospheric chillwave album Seek Magic. All of these artists evoke images of nostalgia, psychedelia and long, lazy afternoons by the water. And we love it.

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Originally published in June/July 2010

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