I came upon the term Hypnagogic Pop a few months back while listening to a lecture from The Wire magazine. It is a genre of music very close to the music I create; many of my friend's run small boutique tape labels (I myself release tapes) producing music that is largely dreamy or drenched in nostalgia, revisiting past regions of musical junk and jamming them through a lens of NO-future.
Hypnagogic music should not be simply understood as just music that is dreamy and lulls you into hypnosis, although this is a large part of the music, but also as a music that drifts you into a stream of consciousness where past and lost memories reemerge breaking through the surface of the water and are skewed by the light of your present feeling.
An artist like my college, Dirty Beaches, whose music recalls, a past time or a past life, that is real and comfortable, like a picture of your grandfather as a young man, but at the same time foreign, cold, and gone.
Hypnagogic music is a celebration of low fidelity - the music often recorded to bedroom tape 4 tracks, mutilated to an mp3, then mutated again to tape, before again being ripped again back to mp3's - tp the blogs where you so often find this music. The semblance of music stays the same but gradually at each stage the work becomes, shocked, more foreign cold, and gone. Gradually lost to history and murdered by the technology.
Many of these Hypnagogic artist recycle the junk of the past - new age, soft rock, yacht rock, smooth jazz - stuff that is hopelessly uncool, and through the warble and hiss of the tape, create something new through the decay of the medium. Artists like Ariel Pink, or Oneohtrix Point Never (Check out his version of Chris de Burgh's "Lady in Red").
After a conversation with my friend and music journalist, Elliot Sharp, telling me to check out the music of, out of all people, Kenny G, I decided to dabble in something very deliberately hypnagogic. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the tight, smooth-musicianship, and Casio-beats and tones, I often hear amongst the artist affiliated making hypnagogic pop - it was very "contemporary." So, inspired by the moment, I made a musical doodle, remixing Kenny G's Song Bird. I gave a brief lecture about this hear at the residency.
Hope you enjoy it!
Kenny G - Song Bird (Remix) by zacharyfairbrother