Soft Science Shares a Dreamy Rorschach Test with Their “Diverging” Music Video (KEXP Premiere)

KEXP Premiere
Dusty Henry
photo by Chantel Elder

Sacramento, Calif.’s Soft Science makes the kind of lovely, murky music you want to hear when you’re processing the profundity of your current environment. A self-proclaimed “dream-gaze” act, the band recently found themselves at perhaps their dreamiest with their latest LP, Maps, released earlier this year on Test Pattern Records. Hidden within the cacophony of fuzz and grand swaths of reverb, there a moments of startling truth and introspection. It’s something you can feel all to well on the single “Diverging.” 

The song began as a demo from the band’s drummer/keyboardist Ross Levine, centering the song on its driving bass line. He passed along the track to vocalist Katie Haley who began to flesh out the track. It was on a flight back to Sacramento from New York that she started to compose the lyrics.

“I had recently had a falling out with a good friend,” Haley says. That was on my mind as well as the intensifying stark divisions in our political climate. At the same time, looking out the airplane window, I had the overwhelming feeling of insignificance, in one of those moments when I was reminded that we are just specks on this earth - here for a short time. From this experience the lyrics for ‘Diverging’ came to life.”

The music video, created by fellow Sacramento-based artist Matthew Maxell, embraces the hazy feel of the music. The band says they were interested in pursuing a concept loosely tied with Rorschach inkblot tests, an exercise used by psychologists and designed to help identify personality traits and emotional states within their patients. It’s an apt fit for the song, allowing their audience to immerse themselves in the abstraction of the band’s maximalist music. Splotches of multi-colored ink are superimposed over highly contrasted images of the band, getting more and more psychedelic as the video goes on. While it doesn’t directly address the themes of insignificance, maybe you can feel them for yourself as you the inkblots splatter across the screen. It’s a beautifully, open-ended video – a great pairing for a song that feels like a dream. 

Watch the video below.

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