Dream pop

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Dream pop
Stylistic origins
Cultural origins
Mid-1980s, Scotland, England
Typical instruments
Guitar, Female vocals, Synthesizers; heavy use of delay, reverb and chorus effects
Mainstream popularity Small
Derivative forms Shoegazing, Ambient pop
Other topics
Notable artists

Dream pop is a type of alternative rock that originated in Britain in the mid-1980s, when bands like Cocteau Twins ("Treasure"), The Chameleons, The Passions, Dif Juz, Lowlife and A.R. Kane (to whom the term has been attributed) began fusing post-punk and ethereal experiments with bittersweet pop melodies into sensual, sonically ambitious soundscapes. The term was almost exclusively used in the United States, although frequently used, and allegedly coined, by Melody Maker journalists Simon Reynolds and Chris Roberts. An "all-star" dream pop collective named This Mortal Coil were known for covering obscure pop songs of the 1960s to '80s.

The essence of the music is a focus on ethereal textures and moods, rather than on propulsive rock riffs. Breathy, high-register female vocals or almost whispered male vocals are usually the means of lyrical delivery; lyrics are generally introspective and existential in nature. Cover art tends to consist of blurry pastel imagery and/or stark minimalist designs. Overall, the 4AD record label is the one most associated with dream pop, though others such as Creation, Projekt, Fontana, Bedazzled, Vernon Yard, and Slumberland also released significant records in the genre.


[edit] Dream pop artists

In the late 1980s to early 1990s, bands such as Slowdive, Lush, Pale Saints, Spoonfed Hybrid, Spirea X, early-period Seefeel, early-period Verve, Kitchens of Distinction, The Sundays, The Ocean Blue, Galaxie 500, Bel Canto, Hum, Cranes, Failure, Frazier Chorus, late-period Talk Talk, Strange Boutique, Curve, The Dream Academy, and No-Man were representatives of the genre.

Concurrently, a number of more predominantly guitar-driven dream pop bands emerged in the United States, including For Against, Alison's Halo, Low, Mazzy Star, Velour 100, Love Spirals Downwards, Ars Poetica, Duster and Frownland. In Europe, some dream pop bands emerged also mixing more folk or electronic components, such as One for Jude or The Legendary Pink Dots.

[edit] Influence over other styles

[edit] Shoegazing

A louder, more aggressive strain of dream pop came to be known as shoegazing; key bands of this style were Lush, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Alison's Halo, Chapterhouse, Curve and Levitation. These bands kept the atmospheric qualities of dream pop, but added the intensity of post-punk-influenced bands such as The Chameleons and Sonic Youth. Shoegazing arose out of a love for dream pop's textures and moods, at the same time rejecting its more passive tendencies.

[edit] Further development

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, bands like Sigur Rós, Mercury Rev, One for Jude, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Dubstar, Laika, Asobi Seksu, Readymade, Bethany Curve, Halou, Windy & Carl, Trespassers William, Southpacific, Mira, Yume Bitsu, Devics, Xinlisupreme, Highspire, Air Formation, The Meeting Places, Psychic Ills and Auburn Lull have had the dream pop/ shoegazing labels attributed to them. Groups like these are sometimes (dismissively) called "new-gaze" or "nu-gaze" bands. The term "Ambient Pop" is applied as a genre to some of these artists as well. The Smashing Pumpkins' single "Rhinoceros" from the album Gish (1991) is considered to be a combination of psychedelia and dream pop. In another genre combination, Deftones combined elements of dream pop with alternative metal and nu metal.

Dream pop is often credited with providing the creative "anti-rock" catalyst for textural-based musical styles such as trip hop, slowcore and post-rock.

2008 in particular experienced a resurgence of dream pop in the independent music scene, with the relatively successful indie acts of Beach House, High Places, Lykke Li, Chairlift, School of Seven Bells, and Fight Bite.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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