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For his new single, LA-based indie electronic producer, Kauf delivers a message about social justice through the chillwave aesthetic

Over the past nine years I’ve been following the success of LA-based songwriter and producer, Kauf and his quest to create dance music that is lyrically led.

I’ve been a fan of Kauf from 2011 when he self-released his first two singles all the way to 2017 when he put out his debut album, Regrowth. Along the way he has worked many different artists including Fort Romeau, Jerro, Cut Copy, BAILE, Lane 8, and Lex from Overjoy (to name just a few). His music has been featured on KRCW and BBC Radio 6. His tracks have been featured on major playlists and topped the charts of Hype Machine and the NACC electronic radio. As if that wasn’t enough, Kauf has found time to start up his own label — ONE / HALF Records — which has been supporting new artists like O Future, Overjoy and Grayson.

His music is inspired by a sort of slowed-down disco sound that features simple, emotive chord progressions and a melancholic, almost brooding, feel. Heavily layered vocals act as sort of their own instrument on most tracks and give you the impression that you are traveling through some sort of dreamlike audio soundscape.

For his new single, “Time Pass,” Kauf finds a way to support today’s social justice movements through lens of his music. On one hand, chillwave and electronic music can help provide a bit of escapism, but on the other hand, we can’t ignore all of the suffering and injustice going on in the world right now. Should we feel guilty about our search for escapism right now?

The track’s refrain at the end highlights the tension between these two ideas: “Can’t tell me it’s not right, don’t tell me it’s not right”

I was inspired by this idea of longing for relaxing days on the beach at a time when many beaches have been shut down due to Covid-19,” Kauf explains. “But then also feeling like that kind of lifestyle can waste too much time and maybe shouldn’t be glorified too much.” 

Obviously there’s a balance, but considering the social justice movements going on right now, it feels like everyone is realizing we all need to be more involved, so I basically wanted to flip the chillwave tropes on their head but still keep the aesthetic.

Kauf – Time Pass