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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

UPCOMING! Washed Out at Corona Theatre

UPCOMING! Washed Out at Corona Theatre  |  Monday September 16th



I have always found the labeling of different music genres mind-blowingly fascinating. It is one of the most beautifully problematic cultural exercises ever performed.

If the majority of us appear to agree that a certain consensus is usually established around a series of objectively recognizable elements, it also seems like most people have a highly intuitive expertise when the time comes to agree what style a given song falls under. These differences in expert opinions have the potential to give birth to the most passionate debates around a pair of monitors. I once saw two guys raising their voices about whether a given piece was a house or a minimal techno track.

It is cool to see the kinds of labels people come up with. What is even more fun is laying eyes on the name of a genre I had never heard of before. In that specific context, my reactions vary. A “What? Pfff…” here, a “Ah! Clever!” there, with the occasional “Bof.” I am the most pleased with the self-explanatory labels, the ones that clearly evoke something that you can kind of picture, without having heard the music that it designates.

I have a few favourites. Dreampop. Glitch Hop. Speed Metal. No need to hear the sound to which they correspond to have a rough idea of what to expect. I find that utterly gleeful.

Same goes for the descriptor “chillwave”. Not bad, huh? If you are anything like me, you picture atmospheric, floating songs, involving slow beats and smoky chords, in the midst of an ocean of reverb. You hear a light-hearted, yet potent form of pop, with vocals that sound like they’re going up in smoke.

No wonder, then, that Washed Out’s music has been associated with that label. His house-flavoured progressive pop songs are a delight, a series of tasty loops with a distinct chillout vibe. His albums should be consumed on a sandy beach stretching for miles under a golden dusky sun. It goes down easy, it flows well. It is detailed and soothing, serene and cooling.

I am not the only one to enjoy his soft, groovy touch. The people at legendary Sub Pop Records are fond of his music too, and that is why they signed him in 2011. Shortly afterwards came his excellent debut album Within and Without, the predecessor of the one that is fresh out of the oven (August 13, 2013), Paracosm.

He is presently touring to promote the latter, and shall stop by Montreal, at Corona Theatre. Make your way to St-Henri on September 16th if you wish to see whether the man delivers the goods in a live context or not.
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