Beautiful. Nostalgic. Tranquil. A few words to describe Washed Out’s new album, “Paracosm.” Released on Sub-Pop Records, the album puts you right inside a space-age Monet painting, fitted with pastels and breezy, warm vibrations. By definition, a paracosm is a detailed fantasy world. It’s an abstract idea complete with a dream-like environment, whimsical creatures, and fictional characters; an imaginary landscape that continues for years. Washed Out has a way of creating ethereal wonderlands for our imaginations to run wild in. Looping samples, celestial synthesizers, and sensual effects make his work a chillwave masterpiece.
The face behind Washed Out is Ernest Greene; a Georgia-grown producer with the dream of being a librarian. Unable to find a job, he focused on producing a new style of music that quickly caught the attention of the public. Lo-fi dance music, or chillwave, is a style of music incorporating heavy, distorted vocals and electronic, ambient melodies. Washed Out ignited the flame of the chillwave movement, making him the idol of a new breed of Hipster.
The thirty year old musician released his first full-length album, “Within and Without,” in February of 2011. It’s less album and more forty-minute love story; Greene’s vocals are lowered enough to become a hazy melody, swimming in ambient tones. In contrast to his first album, Paracosm is full of contrariety. From drone to dance, sensual to sharp, every track embodies diversity. “Amor Fati” and “Eyes Be Closed” are sexy, yet inspirational singles off of the album. These gems are mellow enough for unwinding, but Greene stirs up flowing vibrations with pop-influenced synth lines, making it still acceptable to groove to.
Paracosm has a way of giving you that nostalgic, hazy summer feeling. Greene has referred to his creation as a “daytime psychedelia.” Laden with samples of chirping birds, laughing people, house parties, and nature, this album reminds us what it is like to be human. It’s immersive and indulgent; heavy with bass frequencies and warm harmonies. It reminds us of holding hands with our first love in a wheat field behind a setting sun. It reminds us of sneaking beers out of our parents’ kitchen and having a bonfire on the beach with friends. It’s youthful, sentimental, and everything you could imagine of a perfect summer. It’s a continuous wave of filtered, soft harmonies laid delicately over looping rhythms. The ultimate feel-good album.
Paracosm is definitely one to listen from beginning to end. Take a minute, close your eyes, and see what imagery your mind paints while these sounds fill the air.
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