'Waving At Airplanes': Dive Index's transcendental record is both deeply engaging and perfectly soothing

The downtempo electronic album features the soothing vocals of Natalie Walker and Merz and creates an other-worldly experience for listeners while dealing with themes of who we are and how we relate to one another


                            'Waving At Airplanes': Dive Index's transcendental record is both deeply engaging and perfectly soothing
Merz, Will Thomas, and Natalie Walker (Heather Sommerfield/Chris Hacker/Phaedra Walker)

Dive Index returns with its fifth full-length album 'Waving At Airplanes', an immersive and delicately nuanced exploration of both the human condition and the condition of humanity. The collaborative project of electronic composer-producer Will Thomas, Dive Index has crafted a discography of minimalist electronic music that features a wide range of vocalists and straddles the balance between being deeply engaging and perfectly soothing.

'Waving At Airplanes' features the vocals of Natalie Walker (of trip-hop collective Daughter Darling) and critically-acclaimed English multi-instrumentalist Merz, keeping in tradition with Dive Index's choice to put together highly collaborative projects featuring a wide array of talent. And while Thomas's previous albums have all demonstrated his ability to create a cohesive record, this album sees him really sharpen his skills as he creates something that transcends easy listening and veers into an almost transcendental experience.

In creating this record, Thomas set specific parameters to his sound design, sourcing almost everything (percussion included) from a modular synthesizer. The only exceptions are some piano, acoustic guitar, and occasional extraneous sounds – nail gun, jackhammer – that leaked into the studio and were embraced into song.

Will Thomas of Dive Index (Photo by Chris Hacker)

The album draws its title from the almost childlike act of seeking the fleeting attention of passing strangers for the sake of sheer connection. It's a wonderfully unjaded action confined to the very young and the very lost, and occasionally, to the ones who forget themselves for a short moment. Other themes on the album include artificial intelligence ('Wish I Had A Pulse'), contentment with what we have ('Bruised and Beautiful') and the current political climate ('We Can’t Change The Channel', '19 Fools').

'Window to Window' (featuring Walker) is a beautiful downtempo track that deals with the notion of missed connections, including being in different places emotionally and recognizing the fragility of the human ego and its propensity to limit the experiences we might have otherwise been privileged to have. 'Near Enough' (featuring Merz) feels similarly soothing, with a sound that twinkles and reflects the song's theme of contentment. On this track, we are reminded that we are enough, and it's a wonderfully poignant message delivered with absolute simplicity and ease.

The lyric video for the slightly more upbeat and dreamy 'Pristine Wilderness' (featuring Merz) was recently released and it matches the song's theme of desert beauty and touches on the ability of desert plants to all coexist peacefully. Despite being a downtempo song, it somehow manages to give off a summery vibe. In addition to this, Die Index also released an interactive music video for 'Wish I Had A Pulse' (featuring Walker), which is equal parts mesmerizing and educational, at least for anyone interested in how the music of Dive Index is created.



 

Co-written and produced by Thomas and mostly recorded in his studio near LA’s Laurel Canyon (with Merz contributing remotely from Joshua Tree), 'Waving At Airplanes' was mastered by Mike Bozzi at Hollywood’s legendary Bernie Grundman Mastering. The record is at once an audiophile delight and, warmed by Walker’s finely-grained timbre and Merz’s emotive expressions, a reassuringly visceral expression.

Walker and Merz also contributed to Dive Index’s lauded second album 'Mid/Air', while other past Thomas collaborators on the project include Joseph Arthur, Mark Gardener (Ride), Ian Masters (Pale Saints) and Simone White. Thomas has also released multiple minimalist electronic albums as Plumbline, including two Roger Eno collaborations, as well as composing film scores, modern dance pieces, and developing sound installations.

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