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Chillwave "1980s synthpop meets dream pop" (sometimes referred to as Glo-Fi) is a genre of music where artists are often characterized by their heavy use of effects processing, synthesizers, looping, sampling, and heavily filtered vocals with simple melodic lines. Its musical predecessors are diverse and include the synthpop of the 1980s, the almost whispered vocals from dream pop, lo-fi, new wave nostalgia and ambivalence towards pop from electroclash, psychedelic, funk/disco, it actually appropriates anything according to its conceptual frame, sound platform and memory manipulation plan. In this case nostalgia of 80s synthpop is filtered through a distorted lens, re-envisioning the era in a more vague and lo-fi sense, and interpretation of the 80s as structural meaning is different. The term Chillwave is said to have been originated on the Hipster Runoff blog by Carles (the blog’s author), on his accompanying ‘blog radio’ show of the same name, and proliferated by Sirius XMU DJ Josiah.

The New York Times’ Jon Pareles described the music thus: “They’re solo acts or minimal bands, often with a laptop at their core, and they trade on memories of electropop from the 1980s, with bouncing, blipping dance-music hooks (and often weaker lead voices). It’s recession-era music: low-budget and danceable.” .

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