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Saturday, 07 September 2013 writing an essay 09:47

Charting the Music: Washed Out, 'Paracosm'

Charting the Music: Washed Out, 'Paracosm'
Written by Travis Dettmann
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"Paracosm" shines happily on any listener who accepts its warmth and ecstasy. Washed Out creates a sonic trance state that borders on complete serenity.

Ernest Greene, aka Washed Out, wins again with his sophomore full-length "Paracosm." Capturing the warmth of the sun as well as the gentle, salty breeze of the ocean via an array of electronics and live instruments isn't effortless[ yet in just nine songs, your mind will be transported far away from the living room.

88.1 KDHX Chart Position: #1 Electronic, #3 Adult Album Alternative and #5 CMJ Top 30 for the week of September 3, 2013.

Record label, release date and producer: Sub Pop Records released "Paracosm" August 13, 2013; it was produced by Ernest Greene and Ben H. Allen III.

Can be heard on: Beep Beep Boop Boop with Kate, Rocket 88 with Darren Snow and the Space Parlour with Nick.

RIYL: Toro y Moi, Wild Nothing and Neon Indian.

Hometown: Perry, Ga.

Standout tracks: Yearning for the better past is "Don't Give Up," a lesson in the hardships of separation. The spacious "All I Know" combines old and new-school electronics along with live instrumentation, successfully blending what Washed Out does best with a healthy kick of shoegaze. What a better way to end it with "All Over Now," which will inevitably influence one to restart "Paracosm" for another journey back to paradise.

About the artist: Born in 1983, an unemployed Ernest Greene began creating computer files at his parents' home soon after earning a degree in library science. A couple of EP releases and one "Portlandia" theme song later, Washed Out is considered an influential member of the chillwave movement. Seducing the ears of grunge/indie fiends Sub Pop Records, two LPs are now added to Washed Out's catalogue.

This producer: Atlanta's Ben H. Allen III worked as an engineer with Sean "Puffy" Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment, earning five gold and platinum plaques. Aside from co-producing both Washed Out's LPs, he holds credit in production for Animal Collective's "Merriweather Post Pavillion" and "Centipede Hz" as well as Youth Lagoon's sophomore release, "Wondrous Bughouse." He is the owner and chief engineer of Maze Studios in Atlanta.

This label: The fanzine turned label, Sub Pop Records, was created by Bruce Pavitt with the much needed financial help of Jonathan Poneman in 1986. They brought influential attention to the "Seattle sound" by signing Washington natives Mudhoney, Nirvana and Soundgarden. The duo had a 10-year run together until Mr. Pavitt decided to part ways after Warner Music Group purchased 49% of Sub Pop's stock. Since then, three Sub Pop releases have reached platinum status: Nirvana's "Bleach," Flight of the Conchords' "Flight of the Conchords" and Postal Service's "Give Up."

Play it while: Taking a mental or physical road trip to be one with sandy beaches.

Awards and accolades: Washed Out's debut LP "Within and Without" peaked at No. 5 on the "Billboard Top Independent Albums" chart, 6 on "Top Rock Albums" and 26 on the "Billboard 200" in 2011. "Paracosm" reached No. 3 on the "Billboard Alternative Albums" chart, 5 in "Top Rock Albums" and 21 on the "Billboard 200" this year.

What the critics say: "Four years after 'Feel It All Around' defined chillwave, and two since 'Within and Without' stood against the backlash, 'Paracosm' presents Greene as a man without a movement, someone whose music can no longer be used to project opinions about a larger trend. Due to the attrition of his peers and imitators, as well as his own artistic refinement, this sound is all his now. While 'Paracosm' isn't going out of its way to convert anyone, it's a modest display of staying power, proof that Greene is a niche artist who hasn't yet suffered from redundancy." Ian Cohen, Pitchfork.

Playing in St. Louis: Party time will commence with Washed Out on November 13, 2013 at the Firebird.

KDHX coverage: Abby Gillardi captured Washed Out's performance at Plush on September 17, 2012 with locals CaveofswordS.

Discover more new music on all the 88.1 KDHX charts.

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