Traba is a brand new mini-LP from the UK’s Simon Scott. In the early ‘90s Scott was the drummer for renowned shoegaze band Slowdive. Recent years have seen Scott running the KESH recordings label from his base in Cambridge, performing in the group Seavault with Anthony Ryan (ISAN) on Morr Music, and also working as a sound designer for television, film and sonic art installation. 2009 saw the release of Scott’s debut solo album Navigare released on Miasmah Recordings (run by Erik Skodvin of Svarte Greiner/Deaf Center).
Scott has shared studio and stage with Brian Eno, Klimek, The Caretaker, Machinefabriek, Jasper TX, Nils Frahm, Seasons (Pre-Din), Rafael Anton Irisarri, Xela, Fever Ray, Svarte Greiner, Marcus Fjellstrom, Lawrence English, Fennesz, Leyland Kirby and Taylor Deupree. He has also remixed ON, Autistici and ISAN and provided production assistance for Hannu’s album Hintergarten. Scott also performs live with The Sight Below and co-wrote songs on the new album It All Falls Apart (Ghostly International).
Traba contains four tracks that were written at the end of the sessions for Navigare. When the deadline for completion of the album came and went these compositions were unfinished, but over the course of the summer and autumn of 2009 they were completed in Scott’s o3o3o Studio in Cambridge. Traba continues and expands on the themes of submergence, being lost at sea, and intoxication.
Opening track “She Came From The Sea”, with it’s distant swirling brush stroke drumming, haunting vocals and deep processed textures, captures the almost overwhelming physicality of being at sea, miles from home, yearning for loved ones and a physical embrace. Though this is the first track on the record it was the last one to be written and completed after the Navigare sessions.
“The Water Loop” tackles themes of addiction, obsession and urban decay via a Max/MSP manipulated loop that initially feels warmly narcoleptic but grows into something anxious and intimidating. The music evokes warmth and adventure but slowly unfolds into a dark tone of emotional weakness and paranoia. An influence of Stanley Kubrick shines out here as this is a musical landscape occupied by Droogs on Molotov cocktails threatening to impose themselves on you.
“Lamina” is about a short spell of tinnitus that Scott had which resulted in a brain scan. The uncertainty of what caused the hearing damage mixed with the possibility that something had indeed grown inside his brain affected Scott in a heavy way. “Feeling like I had half of my head submerged underwater somehow matched the themes I was writing about so it inspired me to finish the track. Luckily my head was fine and the frequencies returned just in time to mix the piece”. The digitally processed acoustic instruments are blended together with field recordings taken from his local East Anglian Coast line as well as vocal samples. These elements ebb and flow until the smoldering finale that recalls the sinister imagery of the Quay Brothers, David Lynch or the Brothers Grim.
Scott’s uncle was a submarine officer in the British Navy who died of alcoholism. His life away at sea fueled his fraught family life and kept his battle with drink alive until his death. Traba’s closing track “An Avalanche” is directly inspired by the moment his uncle’s heart stopped. Coming ashore after months at sea, his uncle drank himself to death. He was brought to a hospital where he was shortly brought back to life, but quickly returned to his death bed as a direct result of his eldest son’s disapproval.
Traba is truly a dense collection of songs from Simon Scott.
“Scott is particularly adept at layering coolly shimmering guitars and dark churning currents of noise into something vast…A haunting aspect of ‘Navigare’ is how it seems to contain traces of tunes that stand out like half forgotten relics of the past” – WIRE
“A wonderfully rich ambient record in its own right – one whose residual echoes of a shoegaze past give it an appeal that transcends the usual parameters of drone music.” - Boomkat (Navigare, Album of the Week)