The last time New Times caught up with charismatically offbeat Fort Lauderdale singer songwriter Travis Newbill, the charming musician was embarking on a career-defining project, which saw the young 29-year-old releasing 11 records in 11 straight days. The prolific project, spanning the length of his entire eclectic career, culminated in a sight and sound extravaganza called the Oneness event, held on November 11 at Fort Lauderdale art and music space the Bubble.
Early this week, the far-out, unconventional musical oddball released another EP titled Smoke. Followers of Travis' "Travulous" wonderment will recognize both songs on this mini digital EP, as both have been previously released. Newbill says that both songs "Losar Song" (from on Iron Rabbit,) and "Smoke in the Rain" (found on The Sun Is Shining, Birds Are Falling From the Sky, the Sun Is Shining) represent the two extremes of his solo music.
"They are the yin and yang to my musical offerings," said Newbill when we spoke to him in between a solo set at Delray Beach Café-cum-patio-performance space, Dada. Newbill, a devout Buddhist was eager to release the project due to the significance of the date of January 8 in the Buddhist faith.
The psychedelic trilling heard on "Losar," is the yin to Newbill's sound, touching on the artist's experimental existential side. Newbill recorded "Losar" on Losar--the date of the Tibetan New Year,-- as he sat in the dark at the Bubble, opening his mouth and channeling vibrations. The outcome is a meditative number that might just put listeners in the deepest trance stupor they have ever encountered
The yang, "Smoke in the Rain," captures his male quality, (versus the female essence captured on Losar,) according to Newbill. "The song is much more succinct and active in poetry." It is a delicate art-damaged strumming guitar number that highlights Newbill's refreshingly crisp and earnest vocals.
The cover image, created by local artists Sean Murdock and Olga Volkus, also served as an impetus for Newbill. "The visual image and the musical offering go hand-in-hand here." Newbill tells us that the kaleidoscopic hexaptych version of the original bunny mask on top of a unclothed woman created by Murdock and Volkus inspired him to release these two disparate efforts on one album.
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