Musical Elements of Dream Pop-Shoegaze, Chillwave, and Post Rock and How They are Used in TV/Film.

Dream Pop-Shoegaze, Chillwave and Post Rock are sub-genres that have some tie overs and common musical elements that are worth discussing.  In this blog, I will discuss each sub-genre’s instrumentation, texture, moods, effective Industry usage key-wording, and Trailers that use these styles.

Dream Pop-Shoegaze:

The most defining elements of Dream Pop are the use of spacious, bright electric guitar effects, hypnotic vocals, and a laid back Alternative Rock feel.  Existential in nature, the Dream Pop style emphasizes smooth, bright, floating and flowing textures that evoke hypnotic and introspective moods.

The electric guitar delay and bright textures offer a floating, dream state sensation that depicts slow motion scenes in film.  Dream Pop’s influences are deeply rooted in the style of ethereal and gossamer sounds of the 1980’s from such bands as: Cocteau Twins and The Sundays.
Shoegaze, a style of Dream Pop, emerged from the UK in the early 90’s.  Some distinct elements are distortion and feedback found in the droning riffs of the electric guitar that creates a “wall of sound”.  The term “Shoegazing” was used to describe the stage presence of the band who stood still in a detached non confrontational state, often with their heads down.

Artists from the 80’s-90’s
Cocteau Twins


The Sundays


Artists of the 2000s-2010’s
Asobi Seksu


Static Daydream

Effective Industry Key-wording for Dream Pop/Shoegazing:

Featured Instruments:    Electric Guitar, Drum Kit, Vocals
Vocals:  Smooth Male or Female, relaxed and hypnotic.
Moods:  Dreamy, Ethereal, Hypnotic, Introspective, Trippy, Euphoric, Reflective, Serene, Soothing
Textures:   Smooth, Lush, Flowing, Floating, Atmospheric, Breezy, Bright, Shimmering
Styles:   Glo Fi, Shoegazing, Emotion, Slow Motion, Spacious, Hipsters, Drugs, Manic Pixie Dream Girl

 

 

Chillwave:

Sometimes referred to as Glo-fi or Downtempo Pop, Chillwave is a 2010’s version of Dream Pop.  Although Chillwave is more synthetic in nature, it still evokes similar moods to that of Dream Pop and Post Rock.  Like Dream Pop-Shoegaze, Chillwave features hypnotic, dreamy vocals and lighter acoustic and electric guitar in the mix, while synthesizer and synth drums are heavier in the mix.

Some artists are:

Washed Out


Blackbird Blackbird


M83

Effective Industry Key-wording for Chillwave:

Featured Instruments:  Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizer, Synth Drums, Vocals
Vocals:  Smooth Male or Female, relaxed and hypnotic.
Moods:  Dreamy, Ethereal, Hypnotic, Introspective, Trippy, Euphoric, Reflective, Serene, Soothing, Chic, Cool, Confident
Textures:  Smooth, Lush, Flowing, Floating, Atmospheric, Breezy, Bright, Bouncy
Styles:  Glo Fi, Shoegazing, Emotion, Slow Motion, Spacious, Hipsters, Drugs, Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Youth, Teen, Innovation, Technology

 

 

Post Rock:

Post Rock is a sub-genre that carries ethereal and ambient traits.  Like Dream Pop and Chillwave, Post Rock uses similar moods and textures.  The differences lie in composition, featuring long builds to epic sections and resolved diminishing endings. Post Rock is mostly instrumental with less influence on drums and groove.

Some Artists:

Sigur Ross


Explosions in the Sky

Effective Industry Key-wording for Post Rock:

Featured Instruments:  Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Light Drums
Vocals:  Mostly Instrumental
Moods:  Dreamy, Ethereal, Longing, Hopeful, Introspective, Reflective, Serene, Heartfelt, Melancholy, Bittersweet, Pensive, Building
Textures:  Smooth, Lush, Warm, Floating, Gentle
Styles:  Art Film, Dreams, Emotions, Spacious, Indie Film, Shoegazing, Epic

 

 

Below are some examples of how Dream Pop, Chillwave, and Post Rock are used in movie trailers:

Use of Dream Pop in the movie “Lost in Translation”

 

Use of Dream Pop in the movie “Jenny’s Wedding” (at the end of the trailer)

 

Use of Chillwave in the movie “Oblivion” (with orchestral/cinematic elements)

 

Use of Post Rock in the End Credits in the movie “HER”

 

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