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Boredom. Laziness. Complete apathy. Is it a quarter-life crisis or just an excuse to never grow up? This is the world that Washed Out, aka Ernest Greene, conjures up on ambitious new visual album Mister Mellow. For many millennials, life can be overblown and over-dramatized to the point of absurdity. Their ways of distracting themselves from the insecurities they face on a daily basis are just as absurd, from social media and fantasy to drugs and music. Mister Mellow, Washed Out's first fully immersive multimedia experience playfully guides the listener through the highs and lows of this often ridiculous struggle, and shines a light on the humor in this paradox — how we can be so bored and unhappy in what is often a very privileged, contented life? This theme isn’t entirely new to Washed Out: Greene started exploring way back in 2009 on the Life of Leisure EP; but the new visual album, which he conceived and spent two years creating, provides a fresh, modern perspective, musically and thematically. Mister Mellow moves further away from the synthesizer-heavy sounds of the recent Washed Out releases and more band-driven sound of his work on iconic labels Sub Pop in America, and Domino in Europe. On Mister Mellow, Greene draws from the experimental collage techniques of musique concrète and plunderphonics artists such as The Residents. Combining styles as diverse as free jazz, house, hip-hop and psych together with interlude-esque voiceover samples, often pulled from anonymous YouTube vlogs, he creates a busy, chaotic, and caricaturish mix that mirrors the claustrophobic, hyper-stimulated psyche so familiar to young adults. As he continues to carve out his innovative sonic identity, influenced by the world around him but unafraid to buck trends, it’s fitting that Greene has partnered with legendary hip hop label Stones Throw Records, long a home for beat-loving musical rebels. His approach to releasing music is every bit as individual, too: in an environment where compiling singles into an album format or working with a single video director are the norm, Greene has chosen to commission eleven different artists to bring the visual aspect of his fully-realized album project to life.
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