Washed Out was unknown to me before the Life of Leisure EP put a knot in my stomach with its captivating cover image. I’m still in awe of the stunning woman bathing in the ocean off the coast of, what I wish to be, Nice or or some other spot on the Riv. The Life of Leisure EP ended up resonating with me in a very warm and embracing manner, and maybe it’s my arrogance, but Ernest Greene’s music could very well be endemic to LA, but it’s not, as Greene hails from Atlanta. His music became synonymous with the “chillwave” genre that seems to be slipping into irrelevance as I desperately convince myself otherwise. It defined a mindset that embraced the simple, obvious joys of one’s surroundings, and California boasts a virtually unrivaled litany of natural spectacles. 

Being spit out of college into an adulthood spent mired by economic insecurities, crippled by circumstances out of their control, and with little reason to feel guilty, the “fun-employed” decided to delay adulthood until things picked up, and chose to enjoy their time basking in the invigorating sunlight, while enjoying the endless inspiration allowed by decriminalized cannabis. I can’t imagine too many other places where Ernest Greene’s music makes more sense then Southern California, in the summer, with no reason to rise before noon, and readily available weed.

Hardly groundbreaking, and far from transcendent, few proclaimed “chillwave” artists had strong intentions of creating anything nuanced, but rather easily evocative, on a more cursory level. However, there was an inexplicable richness to Greene’s music that provoked thought, and placed him alongside Toro Y Moi as the “chillwave” elite. 

Chazwick Bundick is the notable contemporary of Greene, and his Toro Y Moi project has, as of late, seen a conspicuously diminished indulgence in prominent “chillwave” elements, meaning less use of processing effects, and engulfing, looped synths are so last summer...Bundick released his second LP, Underneath the Pine, in February and while brilliant, it may serve as a cryptic omen for “chillwave”. Subtracting these  “chillwave” elements means you’re left with something crisp, and undisguised, and Within and Without mirrors Underneath the Pine’s vivid and, apparently, enshrouded sounds. 

'Far Away' is just one of a very strong track list. Instead of drowning the vocals, Greene softens them, and further diminishes his voice by using stunningly vibrant instrumentals. 'Soft' is a great medium between old a new styles, with a mixture of vocal processing and vivid percussion, and 'Amor Fati' has the same drifting demeanor and laid-back cadence you would expect, but the hazy skies have been cleared by a fresh, lucid, sunny disposition....

Again made misty eyed by his cover image, I abandoned any preconceived notions about what to expect from Washed Out’s first full-lenth, Within and Without. I’m not sure too may people would classify this as a “chillwave” record, even if it may serve the same purpose, but my worry was we would get a dated collection that sounded like stuff we’ve been hearing for the last year and a half, and that’s not the case. Similar to Toro Y Moi, Washed Out has reveled a surprising range that I’m so happy wasn’t stifled by too many droning synth-loops....