Tucson, Arizona’s synthwave trio Glacier.WAV (pronounced glacier-wave) have released a dazzling new music video for their song “Thirty Four.”
Opening with the crackling static of your favorite worn VHS tape, this video feels just as nostalgic and immediately familiar. As the synths come in, the group’s name flashes across the screen with the same sparkling, silver-gilded energy as the opening of a 1980’s sci-fi flick.
We watch as denim-clad vocalist and lyricist Jaime J. Soto concludes a distressing phone call with a would-be suitor. “But I’m so scared. What if I can’t love and I just fly away?” he inquires. He then rises from the desk in his stylish – but nonetheless claustrophobic – retro bedroom and proceeds to do just that, walking through his floor-length mirror and right into a Roxy Music album cover, emerging glitter-eyed, sequined, and tasseled on the other side.
As we wander the pastel dreamscape of checkerboard-tiled Grecian palaces in the clouds along with him, we explore the song’s lyrical themes of intimacy-related anxiety, aging, and resigned self-awareness. “Underneath it all, the song is about fear,” says Soto, adding, “The fear of vulnerability in love AND the fear of aging out alone if I choose to leave [my relationship].”
“Some say I’m a bird always changing my tune, caught up and alone start singing for you,” Soto croons, gently pleading for our continued acceptance of his heart’s capriciousness with the line, “I don’t know where I’ll go, are you going with me?”
And the answer is a resounding yes. Lulled by the humming synths, perpetual sunset hues, and silky vocals, we, too. begin to dissociate into the fantasy of it all. Visually, it seems like Falkor could glide past at any moment. Although no luck dragons appear, we do encounter multi-instrumentalist and producer Frank Anzaldua playing sensual piano and occasional guitar in dark shades and black wizard robes.
Watch the epic music video here:
According to Anzaldua, the song represents “saying farewell to youth and innocence” as well as “the pain and joy of nostalgia.” In regards to the video, he adds, “The retro vibe accentuates the feeling of looking back at a period of your life to help evaluate the future. The fantasy elements are a metaphorical way to depict an inner world similar to the movie Labyrinth. In general, the imagery takes a lot of inspiration from vaporwave and retrowave which are as much aesthetic movements as they are musical.”
For the most part, Soto agrees. “To me, the retro visuals represent an escapism to my youth. However, the journey through the mystical world carries the weight of uncertainty that ultimately collapses upon itself. Visually, the piece reminds me of the youthful, imaginative mysticism of The NeverEnding Story alongside early Prince & The Revolution music videos.”
Anzaldua and Soto both cite Prince’s emotionally-charged ’80s and early ’90s ballads as inspiration for the songwriting process, specifically “The Beautiful Ones” and “Diamonds and Pearls.”
“Say you’ll let me go, I can fly you know,” Soto sings as the song draws to a close and the duo leaves the dreamland together, entering the white light of ambiguity and returning to the confines of reality.
The sentiment behind the song’s namesake line – “I woke up 34, no longer 23”– begins to sink in as the crackling screen static returns and we, too, are left with the jarring sense that we are suddenly waking up a completely different age. Back in 2023, no longer in 1983, desperation sets in. Dear Glacier.WAV: Do we really have to let you go?! Please take us back!
Dan Singleton – who officially joined Glacier.WAV as a bassist and guitarist in 2022 – directed, edited, and created special effects for the music video alongside his brother, Gabriel Singleton, as part of the production company SIN BROS before he became a full-fledged member of the group.
Shot on location at a studio in Tucson, Arizona, filming involved an iPhone, a green screen, and the gorgeous make-up artistry of Sonia Campbell. Singleton then made expert use of Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere, Blender, and the mind of his technical role model, Ian Hubert, to create the various 3D environments and VHS grain effects that make the video pop.
“Thirty Four” is the seventh song on Glacier.WAV’s self-titled debut album, released on February 14, 2021. Tackling climate anxiety, government failure, isolation, aging, intimacy, and other themes of our modern apocalypse over a backdrop of lush retro synthesizers and tasteful electric guitar, Glacier.WAV is a band unlike any other you will ever experience. Stream the full album here and purchase it here.
If you enjoyed the video and happen to find yourself in the Sonoran Desert, be sure to catch Glacier.WAV live this spring!
April 4, 2023 – 191 Toole – Tucson, Arizona (with Xiu Xiu)
April 6, 2023 – The Rhythm Room – Phoenix, Arizona (Goth Night with Tarot Blood, Monty Oblivion, Rare Kreature, and VIOL8R)
April 15, 2023 – The Quarry – Bisbee, Arizona (with Black Tapestry and Rare Kreature)
April 16, 2023 – Thunder Canyon Brewery – Tucson, Arizona (with Black Tapestry and Weston Smith)
May 4, 2023 – Groundworks (all ages) – Tucson, Arizona (with Carrellee, Plant Candy, and Echo Fighter)