Are you ready to take a trip? Let’s go on a journey with Dive Maru and escape the late winter chill. You’ll need your headphones or it won’t work properly. And you’ll need a dark room too, lying down optional, but hey, we may as well do this properly. Press play and let’s drift away… “The Calm” is Dive Maru’s new 6 track EP, but if I were you, I’d play them all as one 20 minute piece of music. Each track has its own distinct character but together they gently pull you on a journey, which makes it tricky to talk about this track by track, but I’ll try. This is pure escapism; a musical world conjured up just for you to dive into and get submerged.
Opener, “The Calm Part 1”, fades in on a wash of tone before a pulsing throb and a lovely wooden piano give it shape. It sounds like we’re underwater – the ticking and swirling of underwater animals flick past, washes of synth roll by like waves passing us overhead and the piano chords are like shafts of sunlight shining through the water and glittering on the seabed. “Manta” begins where the previous track leaves off, as piano floats past, before pulsing drums with a nice, tight, trebly bass drum kick in. The energy levels lift; this isn’t floating by us, it’s pulsing past with uplifting optimism. Disembodied human voices give the music emotion and humanity as electronic arpeggios shimmer and blurt. In a middle breakdown the sea washes the shore with piano chords before the pulsing drums return. At the end, a violin unexpectedly arrives to add organic warmth and the music’s layers thicken as human voices and bleeps and blurts blend beautifully, and we end with rolling waves. It feels like we’ve been washed up on the beach when “Jhoom” starts. Space opens up within the heavier rhythm, this is more sexy and funky – we’ve left the washes of synth far behind. Trumpet and violin lines (or is that a saranhi?) give the rolling trip-hop beats human feeling and heart, before squelchy processed organ tells us that “Portland” is here. The beat is more propulsive, we’re being carried forward. Even the piano and double bass have more movement, like they’re walking with purpose. Dogs bark and people talk in the distance – we’re on dry land now. Then pizzicato strings pluck by us and glitchy organ bounces us on to the end, so the sudden shift down into “The Calm Part 2” comes as a shock. We’re back in a world of synth chords and sustained piano notes floating gently past. Final track “Luna” leaves us feeling more energised and positive as little clicks and taps frame a woman’s voice singing “Luna”, like someone singing your name in the distance. A throbbing bass and drums are joined by a rising electronic arpeggio and a woodwind instrument I can’t quite place… our journey has been from melancholy through hope, to a steady upbeat positivity.
You can open your eyes now, we’re back. I suppose music like this used to be called “Chill Out”, and the tricky thing is to imbue emotion into the music, so it’s not simply a set of electronic patterns. The violin, human voices and trumpet does it for us here, and the piano is the combining element throughout, guiding us through the different pieces of music. Each track has its own personality but it all sounds of a piece, but we now have to return to the real world. Look out the window, is that Spring slowly approaching? I bet this’ll sound even better if we listen to it lying on a beach in the sun…
By: Eastside Jimmy