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Posted on April 6th, 2012 (10:53 am) by Esmail Hamidi

From Wikipedia: Chillwave: a genre of music whose artists are often characterized by their heavy use of effects processing, synthesizers, looping, sampling, and heavily filtered vocals with simple melodic lines.

Wikipedia boils it down ever so elegantly, doesn’t it? When put into technical terms, this meaningful music is bluntly simple. A few effects pedals, a microphone, some cheap Casio synths, and you have chillwave! Ah, but if it were only that easy. To make chillwave is to adequately convey a sense of deeper meaning, hard to put into words; one must listen to find out.

Bill Gillim, also of indie-pop quartet Tigercity, is the guy behind Megafortress, a project defined by the heavy usage of field recordings and weighty synthesizers. The self-titled EP, out this previous January on the Software label, packs in all of the above, plus a colossal dose of eerie abstract vocalizations (is that a vocoder?) that float over the droning instrumental textures. The synthesizers in “My Favorite Girl” and “Consolamentum” spin across the stereo field with the power of a Leslie speaker in a church organ. “Green Child” opens up with grating vibraphone hits, soon joined by clattering noises and Gillim’s layered, reverberant vocals, forming words that are hardly recognizable as such. The mammoth “Studio Drone” slowly fades in and builds to critical mass, then falls apart as the massive drone gives way to nothing but looping, pinwheeling sounds that are vaguely vocal in character.

This is a good record only if the listener is in the right mindset. When listening, excitement is futile, and beat-oriented percussion is entirely absent. Thus, it’s a much better experience to put it on around sunrise or sunset than midday. Also, it’s an eighteen-minute listen, which makes it impossible to put it on and go about one’s business; however, this attribute definitely prevents boredom, and aggressively so.
If you like sprawling, spacious music that makes full use of the stereo field, then pick up Megafortress’ debut.

Track List:
1. My Favorite Girl
2. Consolamentum
3. Green Child
4. Studio Drone

Megafortress
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

72 / 100
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