According to Peter Pan, there are two options to fly: either pixie dust or wonderful thoughts.
Well, little Pete, I’d like to add Chillwave to the list.
Chillwave is one of those hybrid music genres that have been gaining a lot of popularity in the past few years, and I believe it has to be one of the best inventions since, I don’t know, traffic lights?
This experimental interbreeding of Synth-Pop, Deep Bass, Psychedelic Pop, Electro, Chamber Pop and New Wave offers a subtle harmonisation of vintage (70’s and 80’s) and modern music. It sticks to this, maybe overused but here more relevant than ever, adjective: Chill. Thus, you are welcome in a universe of wavy beats and ethereal melodies wrapped up by the most phantasmagoric sound effects. It feels like contemplating an abstract painting, only you do it with your ears.
One very interesting feature is that the creativity behind Chillwave often goes beyond the audio experience. Indeed, the tracks are generally enhanced by visually intense videos showing miscellanies of colours, shapes and lo-fi or saturated images.
Although it is defined by its diversity – you can dance, chill, even sleep on it, and it creates a consensus between fans of diverse music styles – Chillwave is now considered as one single genre with it’s very own fan base, as different bands keep rising.
Here’s a choice of three Chillwave artists I thought you might need to check out:
A.K.A. Alan Palomo is probably the most popular artist, if not the reference, when it comes to Chillwave. His debut Psychic Chasms, themed around acid trips, was released in 2009 and got an amazing success, being praised my most print and digital indie music magazines. His second album Era Extraña, released in autumn last year, was long awaited before its release and got great reviews, confirming Palomo’s status of sound genius. The guy actually conceived his own mini synth, the PAL 198X, just to give you an idea of how involved he is.
Check the video of my favourite of his tracks, Mind, Drips, designed with a video synthesizer, which is a device creating images the way a synth creates sounds (how COOL is this?):
A.K.A. Gus BC is a British musician I actually got in touch with for my Oxjam gig. He is currently touring around some small London venues such as the Lock Tavern or The Old Blue Last (that saw early days of the Klaxons and Foals among many others now notorious bands) and recently released an EP entitled State Of The Art. Fact is that I was nearly begging him to play for my gig because I instantly fell in love with his transcending tracks.
Watch the video for Human, directed by Niall Trask, whose YouTube channel is filled with the coolest “WTF” videos:
A.K.A. Jeremy Malvin is originally from Pittsburgh but is now based in this city in Michigan called Ann Arbor that I had never heard of (had you?). However this city seems pretty cool since it is home to the music collective GRL MTN of which Chrome Sparks is part. Malvin is also the drummer of the Indie Pop band Stepdad, which happens to be really good, but I particularly like the direction he took with Chrome Sparks. Vaporous tracks, some of them tinged with Steffaloo‘s silky vocals, you can only dig it.
Marijuana has to be one of his most addictive tracks (no pun… btw, he posted it on Facebook a few days ago saying “this one’s for you, colorado”, funny boy). The video down below was edited by David Dean Burkart, who edits really good music videos out of movie shots, check it out:
Bottom line: it really annoys me hearing people complaining about music nowadays, saying such things as “everything has been done”. HELL NO! There is SO much more to be done. I actually love that it is becoming nearly impossible to define a song as belonging to one music genre. This explosion of genres is a blessing, it shows that music is an integral art and that you can explore its creativity to any extend.
Love the tunes!