Trav Nash music: fuel for a creative soul

The year of 2020 gave me a lot of time to think about how sound affects my mental health; inner city living is maddening. The result being that I have grown more particular than ever about the noise I allow into my day-to-day life.

Only recently have I come to appreciate the suburban ambience that comes through my office window. The past few months of a Covid-19 lockdown brought a tranquillity to this city that I am truly going to miss.

So, Melbourne is opening back up and I’m frightfully aware that a return to normality means a return to the sanity-sapping drone of human existence. To combat the ever-present aural assault of the outside world, I must return to the old ways. My brain needs fortification so that I might continue to function and produce creative work.

A most effective form of protection is a soundtrack or musical soundscape and a decent pair of headphones. But what sounds work best?

For writing, drawing, or any other creative endeavour I need music that strikes a balance between engaging and soothing, contemplative but detached. Something not so involving that it demands my full attention, but not so ambient that it lulls me to sleep.

If you want for such things and are looking for something new, Trav Nash might just be the undiscovered muse you may not know you needed.

His latest effort Chronophobia is available free to hear and download in the form of an episode of his contemplative quasi-journal podcast Tales from the Mind Boat.

Even in the face of oblivion, Nash continues to create perfect soundtracks for the creative mind. As his catalogue grows so too does the quality of his production.

You can discover literally hours of synthesized ambience and lo-fi beats among his podcast episodes. Here’s one I found for you (with a review and a little history for those interested).

He won’t tell you what to do and neither will I, but if you’re looking for something that ticks the boxes I’ve listed then dip in and have a listen.

If you like what you hear and want more, you can support Trav Nash by purchasing his exclusive-to-Bandcamp albums including the conceptual NEW_AGE_DEATH_CULT.

Featured Album: Embodied and Disembodied (2019) by Sophie Rose & the Manual Breathing

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Fresh from her Masters thesis, Embodied and Disembodied is a collection of creative research sketches from the mind of Sophie Rose. You won’t hear any pop songs here, but if you’re looking for meditative and experimental then you’ve come to the right place.

These tracks feature improvised vocal performances employing a variety of techniques such as overtone and throat singing with a smattering of samples, minimalist accompaniment, and electronic-infused experimentation as well.

If you enjoy the further left-field offerings of Bjork such as Medulla and The Music from Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 9, you’ll enjoy this.

Listen to Embodied and Disembodied.

Featured Album: Geedis (2019) by Trav Nash

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Trav Nash is a man of many talents. When he’s not drawing character art for The Quest Inn at the Centre of the Universe or creating nostalgic trips in video game format, you can hear him on his weekly podcast Tales From the Mind Boat (TFTMB).

Over the 170-or-so episodes produced to far, TFTMB has evolved from its humble beginnings as a storytelling podcast for a comedian and his friends into something quite different. Now, the show is more personal and journal-like as Trav shares moments from his day-to-day life in an effort to make sense of his world.

To accompany Trav’s thoughts and stories, the show has a strong musical identity with its evocative theme by the amazing Tim Whitt. This, combined with the additional ambient music created by Trav himself, adds to the overall tone of the project as he explores themes of depression, anxiety, and a sense of disconnectedness that seems so common in many of us these days. The complete package makes for an engaging half-hour of content that I look forward with every coming week.

No stranger to making lo-fi beats and ambient tunes, Trav has produced music under the moniker of Pierre Vanderbee for a number of years now, so it’s no surprise that when he pulls together the isolated music from TFTMB into a collection such as GEEDIS, it’s a competently-delivered and compelling experience.

For me, these tracks sit somewhere in my playlist between Autechre, Boards of Canada, Brian Eno and the less frenetic sounds of Aphex Twin.

As individual tracks, each song delivers a slightly different flavour. Rimdelda, for example, touches on something that wouldn’t be out of place on one of the more mature offerings from Nine Inch Nails or Gary Numan. As a collection, the sounds on GEEDIS take me on a satisfying journey and I recommend taking the time to sit down with the lights out and take a listen.

Speaking as someone who also suffers from anxiety, it’s calming sounds like what you will find on GEEDIS that can help keep the whirlpool of negative thoughts away.

Listen to GEEDIS.

Discover Pierre Vanderbee.