The memory rings in your ears, like a musical note in reverberation.
One loop, then another, first the guitar, slow and trilling.
Building slowly, the drums enter, steadying the scene.
Your body sways back and forth as if you’re lying face up in the ocean tide.
The voice enters. Higher pitched than anticipated,
it chills the soul in a startling way.
Your eyes close even though you didn’t give the order.
The music takes hold and you willingly surrender.
She entered my life in July 2018, while I was sitting in an apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Through the windows, the sun was setting behind the mountains surrounding the city. My roommate, a fellow digital nomad, calls her hundreds of playlists the “soundtrack to her life.” Every mood variation is accompanied by a playlist she’s spent decades of her life crafting and refining. That evening, the sunset was particularly stunning. Sun rays were blending into the clouds like marbled oil paint dripping down a canvas. As usual, my roommate was DJing and we were both working; I as a freelance writer and she as a freelance graphic designer. Creativity was in the air, and she regulated the music as if an atmospheric maestro.
I didn’t yet know that the next song would forever change me. One loop, then another, first the guitar, slow and trilling. My body began to sway back and forth; I was transported to another plane. My eyes closed, and I was no longer sitting in an apartment in Chiang Mai, writing on my computer. I was floating through a sea of bioluminescence, each note igniting a burst of color. When I was finally able to open my eyes, I looked at my roommate in awe. “Who is this magical person?” I asked. Her name was Tash Sultana, an Australian singer/songwriter who was semi-new to the scene. My roommate had seen her at a festival a few years back in Melbourne. We proceeded to listen to her entire setlist, and I’d never been so productive—and in the zone—in my life.
Flow State occurs when a person is fully immersed in an activity, so much so that the mental absorption makes time seemingly nonexistent. It also happens to be the name of Tash Sultana’s second album, which was released in August 2018; just one month after I first heard her music. I was sitting in a coworking space on the beach in Koh Phangan, Thailand. The water was the most beautiful rendition of turquoise I’d ever seen. I was surrounded by digital nomads like myself. Each of us engaged in our craft, reclined in beach hammocks, overlooking the enchanted Gulf of Thailand.
That’s when my YouTube subscription notified me that Flow State had been released. The timing was serendipitous. Already in a semi-flow state, immersed in an enchanting environment, it felt as if the universe understood the distinct moments in which to inject her music into my conscience. Similar to that night in Chiang Mai, where that breathtaking sunset had inspired my roommate to fill our apartment with the most enchanting sounds.
I put my headphones in and pressed play. The next few hours were a blur of space and time as I floated into the deepest flow state I’d ever experienced. Endlessly rocking back and forth, rhythmically typing on my keyboard, as if playing a Bach sonata.
A few months later, I still listen to Tash’s music anytime I crave elevation to a timeless state. Who knows how long her music will hold this power over me. For now, she’s my spellbinding ticket to creative productivity; a welcome passenger in the depths of my mind.
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