Joss Jaffe | Traveller | Review

Article Contributed by Nicole Lise Feingold | Published on Thursday, April 30, 2020

I saw the words meditation and yoga in the body of the email regarding Joss Jaffe. My urge was to delete it, having a visceral dislike for the practices. Two things a native Angeleno, blonde gal should keep to herself unless she’s okay with being shunned from her bougie community. I’m a contradiction. I don’t care that meditation and yoga expands the mind and are good for the soul. In these capacities, they make me want to crawl out of my skin. Yet, when I have a massage, go to acupuncture or get a facial, I love the calming, tribal-like, hypnotic tracks. (I warned you. I’m bougie.) Life being on pause, I can’t partake in any of my extravagant, pampering activities but listening to Jaffe provided exactly what I needed. His tracks also greatly surprised me, varying in musical styles. Through his songs, I received an important spiritual reminder, was transported to a tropical holiday and ended my day at a serene spa.

In late April, Jaffe released three singles. “Traveller” and “Play It Again” include accompanying music videos filmed in Soul Korea. “Traveller” is set in a hip coffee shop/bar. The song is captivating with memorable lyrics. The trancy, trip hop, jam-band and electronica sounds are more prominent but the classic influences of Indian music for which Jaffe has been trained are present. At first listen, you may not catch the underlying meaning too absorbed by the ambient beats but, the track is deep. It’s a nuanced reminder you are just a “Traveller” on life’s journey. “Only got so much time. Living life on this earth. Like a seed germinates in the earth.” Maybe the tune resonated more now as everyone’s mortality is currently on the line. “Play It Again” is a love song with strong reggae, pop and hip hop rhythms. The quick drum beats underneath the rapping from both Jaffe and guest, feature Kiyoshi give the tune an easy going, vibe. The style of “Play It Again” speaks to me the most. Anything that shouts Marley is usually my favorite.

“Natural Rhythms” is mantra-like and the most new agey of the three songs. My already active imagination is triggered. I picture the quintessential, modern hippie couple. He’s lanky, bare chested with a misshapen crystal hanging from a leather band around his neck and of course is wearing pricey Birkenstocks. Remember they are contemporary hippies. She’s vegan, teaches yoga at least five times daily and has a shaman who reads her auras as well as adjusts her chakras. He is doe-eyed when he gazes at his magnetic, ‘flower child.’ She has him wrapped around her finger. The song describes the pull of that special person with the lyrics, “Natural, mystical, magical, vibrational. It turns me on.”

I’m embarrassed! I was reactive when I received the email, almost passing on Jaffe. That would have been a terrible mistake. Jaffe is a superb artist. He reminds me of a unique blend of Neil Young, Tom Waits, Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz. He is able to mix a range of styles creating a number of sensations. Writing mid-morning in my dining room, “Traveller” messaged both the beauty and fleetingness of life. It’s critical to appreciate every, darn moment because no one knows what the future holds. Late afternoon, sitting in my patio, during our April heatwave, drinking a refreshing cocktail of lemons, limes and a splash of Tito’s, “Play It Again” helped to produce a vacation-like state. Early evening zening out my living room with scented candles, trashy magazines and “Natural Rhythms” in the background, I created my own tranquil retreat. I know meditation and yoga have proven transformational effects. These activities, although excellent, will never be for me. Luckily, I found Jaffe.