Donawhale is one of the most important Korean indie bands to me. The contrast of the music from anything else that I had heard from music in South Korea was the starting point of my discovery into the different and vast genres.
Dive to Blue is from 2009. In my opinion, Dive to Blue is indie pop perfection. The tones and arrangements combined with the lyrics created some of the best realizations about Korean music. The 12 songs on the album combined familiar tones and add in other effects and layering to create dense songs that sounded simple.
It’s difficult to really describe the music that the band created with this album. While I had hoped for another release, Donawhale has been on hiatus with some members exploring different avenues.
Songs like “Cloud” are the slower, but melodic side of the band. “숨막혀” is more electro-indie-pop, but equally impressive with the band retaining their core sound, but adding a distorted bass which guides the song through all its verses and choruses.
That is the impressive nature of Dive to Blue. It’s layered on many levels: from the song arrangements to the track order. And I can’t forget “NaNa” which only features those words as the only lyrics, but presents many different styles in the five and a half minutes it plays.
Donawhale’s Dive to Blue was my key to Korean Indie music. Everything after finding and listening to that album provided me with the promise of (usually) great music and I still haven’t found music that I couldn’t listen to.