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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2010
It is no surprise that Washed Out's debut EP Life of Leisure makes more sense to anyone not born after 1990. It almost seems primed for listeners who were born or spent a significant part of their lives in the late 1980's and early 90's. First time listeners of the EP will be quick to note that the "sound quality" seems a bit off--many of the tracks sound as if they were originally cassette recordings which were probably shoddy copies of other cassettes. The entire album is a collage of these sorts of low-quality musical snippets, cut and pasted together in an almost sentimental manner. Life of Leisure sounds more like the musical equivalent of a graduating high school senior in the process of scrapbooking her childhood.
The premise surrounding the creation of Life of Leisure itself is nothing new. The album is a collection of obscure samples from a wide variety of places. The samples themselves are not necessarily "non-musical" samples--they seem more like soft tunes from 80's soap operas and television commercials. Sampling has been used over and over again in digital music. One of the predecessors to Washed Out's sound is most likely to have been Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry's musique concrete. Musique concrete, developed in the late 40's and 50's in France, utilized taped recordings and samples and mixed, spliced, split, and combined them together to create electroacoustic music. Washed Out seems unusually in touch with musique conrete--virtually all of their samples come from analog tape recordings with none of the music completely computer-generated.
Washed Out's use of samples is particularly unique, meant to invoke a certain nostalgia for those who lived through the 80's and 90's. Many of the samples are originally analog recordings from either cassettes or VCR tapes. The original cassettes and VCR tapes are then copied onto blank cassettes and VCR's, similar to music and video piracy of the old days. Anyone who has been alive to practice such bootlegging is familiar with the loss of sound and sampling quality associated with analog bootlegging. The samples and then cut, spliced, and combined together to make a "lo-fi" recording. It should also be noted that despite being around for only a year or two, this isn't Washed Out's first release, but it is their only digital release. They released a cassette-only EP back in September.
Washed Out's sound seems to create a certain atmosphere for the listener. To this end, they seem much more like ambient artists than many other sample-based artists. If one were to draw comparisons, Washed Out sounds a lot like the Brian Eno of the 80's if he had utilized cheesy 80's music recordings and commercials. Their single from the album, "Feel it All Around," reminds one of a childhood vacation to a beach resort. It's no surprise that the accompanying music video is purely a videotaped montage of the artists' and his wife's honeymoon. One Amazon reviewer had noted, "[The music takes me] to a place somewhere between childhood lake trips, hiding from my mom under clothes racks in department stores and that sublime bliss you have when you meet the girl of your dreams." Life of Leisure may be properly described as a less-dark version of DJ Shadow's revolutionary album Endtroducing..., utilizing only low-quality recordings from the 70's, 80's, and early 90's.
Life of Leisure is a modern-day derivative of musique concrete and ambient music, put together in such an artful manner that it evokes one of certain childhood memories and feel-good sunshine stories. For those who always romanticize the past and their childhood, Life of Leisure may be the perfect accompanying soundtrack.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
You never start or stop listening to Washed Out's "Life of Leisure"; you get dropped into and pulled out of it. It was there before and it will be there when you're gone; music that has no end.

Scratch that, you don't even LISTEN to "Life of Leisure". You feel it...all around. Like the warmth of the sun after climbing out of the cold pool, laying there with sunglasses on, eventually falling asleep, waking up in a haze and knowing you are glad you aren't doing anything else.

I may only be the tenth reviewer in almost a year-and-a-half, but so many of the true greats are late in getting their due. Perhaps I am premature in stating this, but "Life of Leisure" is an important record.

The best in years.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2010
Not sure how to express what this album does for me. I instantly and honestly fell in love with "feel it all around." This song particularly took me to a place somewhere between childhood lake trips, hiding from my mom under clothes racks in department stores and that sublime bliss you have when you meet the girl of your dreams. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new sound in music that is tired of all the same old incest that we call "music" these days.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2009
Yes, it does have an 80's feel. Have you seen the movie 'Edge Of Seventeen'? I feel like this could be the music the main character wrote in his free time.

If you are a fan of bands like Junior Boys, Cut Copy, Presets, Hot Chip, Passion Pit, or Beirut's Realpeople Holland (the synth disc) CD... then you will surely love this album, and it surpasses some of those artists.

Can't wait for the re-mixes to hit the net!

Hand's down my favorite find of the year.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2010
Washed Out is a rising solo artist involved in a rapidly growing genre described by some as "chill-wave." Bands receiving this label fit into a controversial new niche in today's page of electronic music history. Like mash-up artists and laptop DJs, Washed Out has received some criticism for a lackluster live show. I recently enjoyed the privilege of hearing his live set, but unfortunately could not get anywhere close to the stage to see firsthand how he pulls off his mostly sample-based songs. All the same, I get the impression that the live environment isn't quite the experience that inspires his music. It's designed for a more relaxed situation than partying and dancing.
Electronic music is historically known for exploration. Some pioneers devoted themselves to exploring sound synthesis and the possibilities of new musical instruments, while others explored innovations made possible by recording technology and music production. I'm not quite certain whether Washed Out uses loops sampled from existing music or replicates those samples with whatever he has available, but his sound is mostly achieved through the recording and production process, and Sampling and manipulation has been used since the invention of tape recording, particularly with Musique Concrète in France and Electronische in Germany. The beginnings of Dub-reggae relied even more on the production studio as a tool for creating new music from recorded music. But the songs on Life of Leisure are hardly remixes, even if any of them use samples of other songs. The samples are obscure if at all recognizable, and the musician contributes vocals and adds his own synth lines.
The tracks on Life of Leisure tend to be driven by 80s inspired bass synthesizer lines and electronic drum loops that stir up memories of youth for those of us who grew up exposed to 80s music. Each song has a still background of warm timbre, barely noticeable, but always present like the sky or the horizon, with interjections of glittery echoing arpeggios, like sunlight rippling with the surface of water. Reverb-soaked vocals echo in and out or bleed gently into the mix. The tempo is slowed down for a laid back sense of pleasure.
The discontent roused by recent electronic musicians seems to be over an increasing lack of stage presence. Ironically, technology has betrayed the electronic musician. Why pay to see someone perform exactly what you can download for free? Life of Leisure is well worth the purchase, especially for those less comfortable around sweaty crowds. In contrast with DJs, mash-up artists, and most electronic pop and rock bands, Washed Out's Life of Leisure promotes listening in an intimate environment (however, like DJs, the focus is on feeling the music rather than watching the performer). Although the EP is certainly danceable, it's the kind of music you would dance to while watching the sunset with friends, not the kind of music you would dance to surrounded by strangers in a club until sunrise. The songs themselves synthesize emotions of longing and intimacy, for those worry-free times in our lives, hanging out with our closest friends. Life of Leisure demonstrates how musicians (not limited to electronic musicians) can capture and control our yearnings and emotions. It's as if Washed Out has discovered how to turn a song into an instrument and mastered how to play our nostalgia.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2015
If you are a fan of Washed Out (as I am) I would say that the Vinyl is worth the buy only for the novelty. The highs and lows get lost in distortion as it is very compressed. This was optimized for digital listening, and it should be done so. But as far as the content of the album, you cannot go wrong with Washed Out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2009
You will absolutely love this album... between the melodic reverberating voices and the groovy bass synths it's hard not to get lost in the world that Washed Out creates. The album has a sort of 80's feel to it but still maintains all the new wave production aspects. MOST DEFINITELY worth the 6$
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2012
Please, I'm sending my plea out into the void.

Please, please, please do a wide release of this incredible, incredible debut EP.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2011
Lovely chillwave, exactly as advertised. And since the LP doesn't improve on this rather elegant succession of six lo-fi ambient house tracks, I'll just call it the perfect summer record again.
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on November 21, 2009
I have two words: buy this. I discovered Washed Out through a friend on Twitter and bought these songs right away because I was so impressed by the music. These songs have been on replay in my iPod the last few days. The music is chill, but isn't cheesy the way discopop is. It's an interesting dynamic, but it works. Also, none of the tracks run past four minutes, so each track is like drinking out of a shot glass because they each pack a good punch. It is truly refreshing to still have music like this around. [...]. I am looking forward to more of his music!
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