In Print: Washed Out Trades Sampling for Songwriting, and More

Washed Out's Ernest Greene

After Portlandia, Washed Out trades sampling for songwriting: Washed Out might be the most perfect band name ever conceived: It captures the gist of Ernest Greene's music in two simple words. Bright, explosive hues could have easily ruled his synth-driven pop, but he takes a different tack, toning down his songs by surrounding them with liquidlike reverb. His sound is wrapped in a chewed-up, low-key feel that turns otherwise summery melodies blurry and ambient. These muted hues give a sense of sleepy, distant nostalgia. Washed Out is such a fitting name that if you added “pop” right after it, the phrase could be a good substitute for “chillwave,” the blog-bred subgenre Washed Out and contemporaries like Neon Indian and Toro Y Moi have been tied to. The fact that Greene's project carries some name recognition is at least partly because of the hype that accompanied the rapid rise of chillwave in late 2009 and early 2010. But that's not to say that the material isn't fascinating in itself.

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