It’s that time of year again: best of lists, top lists, most beloved reissues – the qualifiers go on. The summarizing is even more intense now with the fast approaching end of the decade putting even more of a magnifying glass on what is most worthy of recognition and praise before the month is out. That said, seeing as the U.S. is in the middle of a particularly tense time and noting that pressure to get through it all is only rising with each day, this feels like the right time to pull back rather than push forward. Instead of demanding as many people as possible pay attention to certain music and hammering in every exact nuance as to why, perhaps everyone could benefit from simply taking in some new music without preconceived hype or cemented expectation of arbitrary superiority.
The above pair of singles is a perfect example of music that both bears importance and is entirely worthwhile to listen to but the reasons for that can’t be defined by any one person. Inconspicuously floating among the pages of Bandcamp’s classical arrivals, A Safe Place offers almost nothing in the way of technical explanation or artistic profile. Composed by a video game composer, sound designer and audio mixer working toward a degree at Brigham-Young University named Andy Brewer, who goes by the moniker, Hayvn, these songs come with brief liner notes that simply give context from a vantage point of personal inspiration and intent, more than musical direction or assembly.
I used to be obsessed with writing catchy dance and pop tracks. But one particularly emotional week in my life, filled with uncertainty, hopelessness and fear, I realized that I’m a complex emotional being full of beauty and that I needed to stop neglecting that part of me. As a result of that week, I decided to write the music in my soul. Not a work project, not a school assignment, merely the music that’s been sitting inside me waiting to be told. These songs are a collection of my emotional vulnerability and I hope that you feel that sincerity as you listen.
The album is called a Safe Place, since I am attempting to capture the place where it feels safe to be emotionally vulnerable. We all have our Safe Place and they are worth protecting. Each song has a description that I hope you’ll read.
– Liner notes from Hayvn on ‘A Safe Place’
That’s not to say that Hayvn’s work as a composer bears minimal technical merit. There is much to applaud on several fronts and both pieces are beautifully written and arranged depictions of their respective self-reflections. But with the context provided, it almost seems a disservice to initially explore any of the music with a fine-toothed comb. These two songs present an intention of solace, refuge, and openness with one’s own feelings. And knowing that these pieces were drawn purely from a place of emotional embodiment, it makes much more sense to just take in the pieces (just as people do their emotions) as whole experiences – like stepping back to see the entirety of a panoramic mural.
The music of A Safe Place is melodically vivid and plays out like the sonic backdrop to some powerful stories. And while Hayvn’s specific life experiences are their own, the music’s overarching sentiment, which encourages inner peace, support, and emotional respite, is just the oasis to have available amidst the relentlessly taxing atmosphere of today. It’s music meant for experiencing over examining and now more people know it exists, should anyone out there want some time with their own safe places because permission to be vulnerable with ourselves and each other is important and something everyone deserves.
A Safe Place is available now through Bandcamp.
Look for future tracks in this six piece series from Hayvn soon.