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coverpic flag US - Georgia - Full Moon 183 - 08/13/11

Washed Out
Within And Without
Weird World / Sub Pop / Playground

Behind the Washed Out moniker we find 28 year-old songwriter and producer Ernest Greene. In 2009 he put out the acclaimed Life of Leisure EP (including several tracks first presented through his Myspace page), and here's his debut album, Within And Without.

The Atlanta-based Greene is one of those bedroom-recording DIY laptop boys, re-visiting 80s synth pop, even with some shoegaze added in, but presenting everything through slightly psychedelic and blurred veils. This is chilled, laid-back loop-pop made for summer days of the weather and climate of any place. Cold, rain, sun, heat. You name it. As I'm trying to keep the mood up while staying deep south in a rain-washed Denmark, I find Within And Without to be a fitting soundtrack. Yes, as a fact I feel rather 'washed out' for the moment. Even almost 'washed away'.

Greene's songs sway and glide slowly around, but there's a great deal of substance and texture in his compositions. Here's even low-toned dance material holding neat samples. Various genre tags have been attached to Greene's music, such as 'hypnagogic pop', 'glo-fi', 'chillwave'. He's been called a "romantic, retro-futurist re-imagining of pop music past". Well, I guess many pop-heads all the time aim for pop music's past, while they're heading for the future. The nine tracks included on Within And Without is mainly blissful pop music, 'retro style' or not.

The former solo showman Greene (handling a laptop, a bag of samples and a microphone), has even turned Washed Out into a real band, playing live as a five-piece act (including his wife Blair). He's also been touring joined by Small Black as his backing band. He's a friend of the artist Chaz Bundick, A.K.A. Toro y Moi. Washed Out can also be filed along with Ariel Pink and Panda Bear. Even though he differs a bit from both acts, of course. Within And Without is co-produced by Ben Allen, who worked with Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion. Washed Out is more like chill-pop closer to the mainstream. But, mind you, not being mainstream like most mainstream acts.

Within And Without is quite a beauty. I wonder; can laptop dance pop possibly be tagged 'lapdance'....? Back to the retro-future now!

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