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Travis Duo - Hypnagogia

7 January 2022

Some people have questioned the fact that I use terms such as odd or weird to describe music as if it is some sort of detrimental swipe or criticism. Nothing could be further from the truth. For my money, odd and weird is where all the good stuff happens. It is music with outsider status, that doesn’t conform or pander to the listener’s expectations, which plays by its own rules, which is adventurous, experimental…avant-garde even.

Well, Travis Duo in general and their latest album, Hypnagogia, in particular, is all of those things and more. Merging classical Indian instruments with more cutting edge use of tape loops and occasionally voice, this collection of cool and challenging tracks is a wonderful blend of occident meets orient, tradition meets modernity, structure meets untethered adventurousness.

As an album it is best not to try to analyse, better just to observe, it is less about individual tracks or musical moments and more to do with an overall experience, as you might expect from an album built of, as they themselves describe it, “7 songs based on drawings & diagrams drawn during lucid dreams.”

Genres come and go, ideas ebb and flow, sonics drift in and out of each other but the thing that stands proud is the unique approach to making music. Songs might not be the right word for what they have created here, maybe musical statements, thought-pieces or sonic art is a better way to frame their creations, but in a world where too many people want to look back, plunder the past and revel in nostalgia, Travis Duo is exactly what the musical cause needs right now.

So what if you don’t fully understand what is going on here…that’s pretty much the point and, after all, what is life without mystery, whimsey and adventure? What indeed?