Chillwave: The new underground genre soon to take over the music scene
Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 23:10
The weather patterns in Storrs at the start of this semester could literally be categorized as a fair-weather fall, tantalizing students with promises of a lingering summer with a slow fade into the bitter cold we’re accustomed to. As midterms are upon us, however, it is the mindset of summer that students really crave–there is nothing like the constant grind of a full course load to provoke longing memories of blissful lethargy. Even in the midst of internships, jobs and classes, warm summer days have a way of recharging the body, mind and spirit. While pushing your stack of books off your desk, throwing your hands up and heading for warmer climates might be out of the question at the moment, there are several ways to reclaim the relaxed vibe of that three months’ vacation. Perhaps one of the best ways to infuse your packed semester with that summer vibe is through chillwave music.
While the use of synths in music is not by any means a new concept – as any UConn student who’s recently been to a party knows – the chillwave genre utilizes synths in an entirely different way than other electronic subgenres do.
This lesser-known subgenre perfectly fits its name: the sounds are relaxed and gently rhythmic, the synths used in such a way as to almost physically encourage the listener to breathe deeply. Simply put, chillwave is the smooth jazz of electronic music; it finds itself at the apex of ambient music and down-tempo, where it brings its own distinctly light, summery feel.
Because chillwave is a very new genre, its pioneering artists are not only writing the rule book, but are taking extremely listener-friendly measures to promote these new sounds. On SoundCloud, for example, many chillwave artists will enable free downloads on their tracks; this is an excellent and perfectly legal way to expand your mp3 collection while supporting new artists (just make sure to follow them on the site – it’s good etiquette). Many artists have also embraced a system where users can like their Facebook page to download free tracks, since the combination of free music and allowing a user to declare their “discovery” of the artist is marketing gold.
However, with the plethora of chillwave artists online, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Some good starting points within the genre are Fear Club, whose debut EP “Escape” came out this past August; the titular track is a highlight. Another star in the genre is Venture, whose tracks “Sycamore” and “Lost in my Dreams” bring about a visceral sense of relaxation. Other great artists include Skywide, Gold Falls and Southern Shores.
Chillwave’s smooth sounds and rhythmic beats make it the perfect soundtrack to a long study session: Rather than counterproductively stressing out over all of the work ahead of you, take a few deep breaths, immerse yourself in the relaxing synth sounds and get into a summer state of mind. Much like the summer days you embraced with that effortless mix of enthusiasm and relaxed passivity, your hours of studying will be sure to fly by.