Words are powerful things but they are thrown about too liberally these days, especially when associated with music. After all, it seems these days that every second artist is “groundbreaking” or “ahead of the curve” or “the new” something or other…usually The Beatles. Surely, modern music can’t be this experimental and adventurous. Don’t get me wrong, I think that there is some great music being made at th moment, I’m certainly not an “it ws all better back in my day” kin of guy, far from it but we have to keep things in perspective. And if we do that when something truly special, odd, challenging and avant-garde does blip on the radar, we know that we have the words saved up to talk about it in a way that really does it justice.
Travis Duo, in general, is just such a case and this brace of singles, Uchouten / Sab Kuch Milega and Hitherto, in particular marks them out as being something truly different and all of the things that I mentioned above.
Hitherto is a collection of Asian classical vibes and jazz-like experimentations which seem to have been teased out into an ambient and spacious sonic platform through which Daniel Carter weaves his exotic flute sounds. Sitars shimmer, bass strings drone and the whole thing shifts and tumbles on very open and odd sonic structures.
Uchouten / Sab Kuch Milega feels slightly more focused in places, tabla drum meanderings helping to tether the rack slightly but it is just as often wanders into some experimental and, presumably, improvised areas.
Both tracks are dreamlike and trippy, meditative and hallucinogenic, odd and challenging but as is the way with such musical art attacks, (Pas Musique is a similar case in point,) it is all about leaving your expectations at the door, embracing the strangeness and allowing yourself to be taken on a journey. Do that and you can bask in the sonic splendours and hidden depths that the music provides, things that can only be appreciated by approaching the music with the required open state of mind.