Written by Maria Arroyo
Dive Index, a collaborative project with electronic composer and producer Will Thomas, vocalist Natalie Walker, and vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Merz, is sharing their fifth full-length album. Waving At Airplanes is a beautiful exploration of “both the human condition and the condition of humanity.”
While having very strict parameters in reference to recording everything, Thomas still found the beauty in some of the “unexpected sounds” that came through, like the occasional nail gun or jackhammer that bled into the recording. Thomas takes inspiration for the title Waving At Airplanes from the “optimistic act of seeking the fleeting attention of passing strangers for the sake of sheer connection – a wonderfully unjaded action confined to the very young and the very lost.”
Opening up the album is “Window To Window” with a gentle mix of R&B and alternative, which is paired with some vividly written lyrics that explore themes of missed connections between people.
Their next song, “Near Enough,” creates a different kind of atmosphere that’s spacious and fluid. Along with the different layers making up the song, there’s an illusion that’s created in the vocals where one of them is slightly delayed, which creates this feeling similar to that of an echo in an empty hallway. The fantasy-like feel within the arrangement and production of the song allows the listeners to completely submerge themselves and get lost in the music.
These next two songs keep my attention from beginning to end. “She’s Exploding” courtesy of the beautifully executed harmonies, and “19 Fools” with its catchy lyrics and melody with deep ties to the political climate we’re facing.
“Bruised And Beautiful” does a magnificent job of exploring even more into their ambient sound to tap into this atmospheric approach that creates these songs that are larger than life, while also exploring themes of being content with what one has.
“Pristine Wilderness” is another beautifully arranged song that I could lose myself in to. I especially loved the mix of the non-traditional instruments such as the ambient sound effects, and the more traditional instrumentation, which lies in the string parts throughout the song.
As we get closer to the end of the album, this next song “Wish I Had A Pulse” emotes these haunting-like sounds, which, paired with the intimate vocals, create for such a diverse and well-done creation that explores the ideas of artificial intelligence. The lyrical style this song possesses is also an added bonus.
This next song pulls together a lot of different elements to bring itself to life. Waving At Airplanes completely covers its listeners in a trance of sound and emotion, and they do so almost effortlessly. Their closing song, “We Can’t Change The Channel,” brings all of the different elements the album uses together into a cohesive ending. I love that if they chose to go this direction with the song, the instrumentation can stand up alone from the vocals and still be just as interesting. There’s so much attention to detail, and I think the potential of hearing this song as an instrumental would be an amazing experience.
The ride that Waving At Airplanes takes listeners on is definitely unique, but a worthwhile one. There are so many complex ideas and themes they are able to cover while creating incredible musical moments that take listeners to a whole new level.
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