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Weekly Release Spotlight: Washed Out

Posted on 9/2/2013

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"The Great Escape" -

Washed Out

Paracosm

Sub Pop

Written By: Alex Simpson


While many have moved on to the latest and greatest chill-wave imitators, Greene has underwent much maturation (for the better), and his latest full-length Paracosm is evidence of that.  

Fame came almost instantly for electronic producer Ernest Greene (Washed Out).  His lo-fi debut Life of Leisure earned him a record deal with Sub Pop and regular play at hipster retail chains across the planet, not to mention "Feel It All Around" was featured in the opening credits of the quirky hit series Portlandia. But in the last four years, while many have moved on to the latest and greatest chill-wave imatators, Green has underwent much maturation (for the better), and his latest full length Paracosm is evidence of that.

One of the biggest surprises on Washed Out's sprawling sophomore full-length is the use of more live instrumentation.  Paracosm flaunts over four dozen instruments, more than you'll hear on the last two Washed Out records combined.  You may not be able to pick them out individually, but some of the dreamiest tones on the record come from old keyboards such as the Mellotron and Optigan. It's certainly worth mentioning that Greene and producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter, M.I.A.) managed to make these obscurities work with harps, bird noises, country samples, and many other interesting choices. 

Additionaly, Greene continues to blur his words on this record, and it's still working in his favor.  In most instances, the listener demands the right to sing along, but Greene's lack of enunciation allows his vocal to float over the top of beats like some obscure synthesizer.  It also allows the listener to "feel" his songs rather than dissect their parts or overall meaning. That implied "feeling" might be the only thing that is intrisically chill-wave, or at least for Greene it is- as we see his sound mature.

 

Paracosm is full of highlights -- "It All Feels Right", "Don't Give Up" and "Great Escape" are all fine examples. However Paracosm seems to be more of a whole work rather than a collection of singles. One should consider giving the whole record many complete spins.  The lack of a smash single makes Paracosm a more cohesive, rewarding listening experience.  Greene also keeps the listener within his little world, or paracosm.  By making use of natural sound- like birds chirping and wind- in "Entrance" and "Falling Back" and the crowd noise in "It All Feels Right" and "Don't Give Up" adds to the album's overall awareness of setting.

In regards to past Washed Out albums:  just because you can't feel it all around doesn't mean you can't feel it.  Paracosm is far from Life of Leisure or even Within and Without, but it's the difference that makes it interesting and fun to listen to. It's the reflection of a matured musician who is very comfortable in his place, and that always makes for a strong album.   

Washed Out will be visiting Minneapolis, September 12th to play a show at the First Avenue Mainroom you can buy tickets here; more tour dates available below. Check out "Great Escape" streaming and available for free download at the top of this review. 

Tour Dates


  September 2, 2013 
Club 9one9, Victoria BC
  September 3, 2013 
Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver Canada
  September 5, 2013 
W.O.W. Hall, Eugene OR
  September 6, 2013 
Mississippi Studios, Portland OR
  September 8, 2013 
Cesar Chavez Park, Sacramento CA
Launch Music Festival!
  September 10, 2013 
Fox Theater (CO), Boulder CO
  September 12, 2013 
First Avenue, Minneapolis MN
  September 13, 2013 
Metro, Chicago IL
  September 15, 2013 
Opera House (ON), Toronto Ontario
  September 16, 2013 
Corona Theatre, Montreal Canada
  September 18, 2013 
Terminal Five, New York City NY
  September 19, 2013 
Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA
  September 20, 2013 
Wilbur Theater, Boston MA
  September 21, 2013 
Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia MD
Virgin Mobile Freefest
All Ages!
  September 23, 2013 
Cats Cradle, Carrboro NC
  September 24, 2013 
Georgia Theatre, Athens GA

Track List

  1. Enterance

  2. It All Feels Right

  3. Don’t Give Up

  4. Weightless

  5. All I Know

  6. Great Escape

  7. Paracosm

  8. Falling Back

  9. All Over Now

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click album to purchase

Tags: radio k kuom university of minnesota weekly release spotlight washed out paracosm free download review alex simpson