Ernest Greene, also known as Washed Out, has a new album out after four years and is performing at the Norva this Saturday, July 8th.
The new visual album is titled Mister Mellow, and was released by Stones Throw Records on June 30th. This was the first album by Washed Out to come out under the label Stones Throw, now placing Greene among the ranks of Snoop Dogg and MF Doom. Mister Mellow is a thirteen track album that runs for just under thirty minutes. Expect to hear dreamy percussive beats layered with voice samples, coupled with soft moody vocals.
Washed Out is known for having a place as a sort-of godfather to the microgenre of Chillwave. This musical niche is known for its nostalgic tone and usually incorporates vintage synthesized sounds soaked in reverb to play off of this, giving a hazy sound that feels like you’re floating around. The lyrics tend to have themes of escapism and helplessness, and this theme is made apparent in tracks like “Down and Out,” with a tired and rambling monologue about a long day and the necessity of music. Ernest intends to answer that call.
Mister Mellow sheds a bit of the flavor of more recent albums and adds a more rhythmic taste in places, relying more on sampling than on the retro-synth and moody vocal-centric harmonies of previous albums. This style comes closer to Greene’s roots and is represented best in tracks like “Get Lost” and “Hard To Say Goodbye.” The tracks bleed into one another in a way that flows with the mellow tone. The dialogue sampled on “Down And Out” flowing into an instrumental two minutes of “Instant Calm” is one of the most prominent example of this. The same thing happens with “Easy Does It,” transitioning into “Million Miles Away,” giving the last two tracks the sort of sound you might expect to find on a previous release.
The album was accompanied with visuals for each track that are up for streaming on YouTube. The visuals take a different approach for each song, ranging from a two-dimensional yellow Play-Doh girl swaying to music in a room alone in “Instant Calm” to a psychedelically censored slideshow of Greene growing up in “I’ve Been Daydreaming My Entire Life.”
The video for “Burn Out Blues: is a video collage of flying faces and chimeric animals whose inherent flatness is pulled out from under you like a magician with a disappearing handkerchief. “Floating By” features faded silhouetted animations with a muted color palette of blue, burgundy, and purple that mesh well with the rhythm’s xylophone-filled groove, and help pull the string of nostalgia. The visuals included on Mister Mellow are thoughtful and give an additional dimension to the work, hopefully encouraging more artists to try this approach.
With an upcoming performance on the horizon and a fresh album in the mix, expect a psychedelic visual wave at The NorVa this Saturday.
Washed Out is playing The NorVa this Saturday July 8th. The doors open at 8pm. For more info or tickets, click here.