The Translator


BY Stephen CarlickPublished Feb 21, 2011

What is it?
Also known as glo-fi, chillwave is distinguished by its oft-forlorn, always hazy amalgamation of '80s synth-pop, lo-fi, and dance beats. Of course, that means it can either be slow and melancholic, or slightly more upbeat and soaring ― as long as the vocals are straight-faced.

Why is it called that?
Chillwave is typically characterized by its "chilled out," but joyous nostalgia for good times past. The "wave" suffix is borrowed from "new wave"; the two genres are similar in that both borrow strongly from, and experiment with, the rhythm-heavy tradition of electronic music.

Who's doing it?
Washed Out, Neon Indian, Small Black, Toro Y Moi (pictured), MillionYoung, Memory Tapes.

Where should I start?
Neon Indian Psychic Chasms (Lefse), Washed Out/Small Black split seven-inch (Lovepump United), Toro Y Moi Causers of This (Carpark).

What's next?
Washed Out's debut full-length, due later this year.

Listen to the Exclaim! Chillwave playlist at rdio.

Latest Coverage