Shida Shahabi is a pianist and composer on the 130701 imprint, like the author of our last mix, Dmitry Evgrafov. Early Autumn is timed to coincide with the release of Homes, Shahabi’s debut album. Mainly featuring an old Swedish upright piano as its sole instrument, Homes delves deep into explorations of intimate piano tones. Occasional embellishments appear in the form of a melody played on a Juno 60 synth or with some grounding from an upright bass, Shahabi’s imposed constraints produced beautiful results. We all seemingly have access, these days, to limitless options, and here at A Closer Listen we celebrate the kind of creativity that comes from a deep relationship working within a limited tool kit. The piano has a central place in Western art music, one might even call this tradition claviocentric, for the keyboards central role in composition and the exhalted position of the (male) virtuosity pianist. Rather than rigidly try to emulate this model of self-assured perfection, Homes sees Shahabi embracing a quieter brand of assurance, an embrace of imperfection in the form of sparse and intimate sonic explorations. Shahabi performs on a J.G. Malmsjö piano, using tape delay and thicker felt pads to achieve very particular sonorities. Shahabi studied fine art at university, where she worked purely on sound art, and this attention to sound as material is evident even in her conventionally musical solo compositions. While she has performed in various bands and has written for dance, film, theatre and fine art contexts, Homes marks her first solo recorded work.
While her work is therefore likely unknown to most of our listeners, her backing by FatCat’s 130701 imprint should be a sure sign of quality. That imprint has proved very influential, with a past roster including Max Richter, Hauschka, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Dustin O’Halloran, Ian William Craig, and many other of our favorite composers. Playing piano and composing from a young age, it is only natural that Shahabi would have a soft spot for classical music, given the centrality of the piano to Western art music, but on this mix she showcases her disparate influences, weaving together modern composition with ambient, electronic, and krautrock, moving from old favorites to very recent releases. Enjoy. (Joseph Sannicandro)
There is an album release party in Stockholm the day before Homes is out and I’ ll be doing some gigs in Europe at the beginning of next year.
Great, good luck and keep us posted!
1. Michael Behaire & Teddy Rankin Parker – Smooth Face
2. Richard Reed Parry – Quartet for Heart and Breath
3. Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou – Evening Breeze
4. Nadah el Shazly – Palmyra
5. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Envelop
6. Marihiko Hara – Vita
7. Ellen Arkbro – Mountain of Air
8. Can – Halleluwah (Single Edit)
9. Mariah – Shisen
10. Oneothrix Point Never – Chrome Country
11. Cara Stacey – Circadian Clocks
12. Bitchin Bonne Billy Bajas – Pretty Saro
13. Jóhann Jóhannsson – Desert Music