Shida Shahabi presents Early Autumn [mix]

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)

Download/Listen at SoundCloud


Please introduce yourself.
My name is Shida, I play and write music. At the moment I live in Stockholm , which also happens to be my hometown.
Tell me about your local scene. What’s exciting you about in terms of artists, labels, nights, venues etc?
There are a lot of good musicians coming from different genres in Stockholm,  who make different kinds of music. Hans Appelqvist is a brilliant composer who releases records but who also works with film and theatre. He has really created a wonderful soundworld musically for himself. Other great artists I respect and like from here are Fever Ray, Musette, Wildbirds and Peacedrums. Unfortunately, the venues in Stockholm are disappearing slowly one after another so there are not so many. Of the ones that still exist, Fasching is an old jazz club but they don’t just book jazz nowadays, you can see artists/bands like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Hailu Mergia, Jeff Parker, Yasuaki Shimizu. Rönnells Antikvariat is a bookstore and used as a nice little venue. They can have really special bookings. Södra Teatern is an old beautiful theatre venue. When it comes to labels I have to mention Sing a Song Fighter who are co-releasing my upcoming album Homes together with 130701. Karl Jonas Winqvist is the person behind SASF and is a true music lover and great at finding new interesting music from different parts of the world.
Tell us about the mix.
This is a mix of old favorites and pretty new releases that I’ve been listening to a lot recently. Music that has been inspirational instrumentation, sound, and energy wise. I guess all of the tracks have a lovely balance between autonomous layers that has its own progression and a clear idea of a form with beautiful harmonies, sounds, and arrangements. I’m also weak for sounds where you clearly can hear a human expression and a personal unique quality: this is why Richard Reed Parry’s “Music for Heart and Breath” is so beautiful, you can hear the nerve and focus while the musicians are playing the piece after their own pulse and/or breath. The same goes for Nadah El Shazly’s sound she has created in “Palmyra” and the way Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou plays in “Evening Breeze”, there is no doubt that it is her behind the piano.
What have you got coming up on the horizon you’d like to plug?

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

About Joseph Sannicandro

writer | traveler | sound organizer | contrarian | concerned citizen

One comment

  1. Pingback: Lake On Fire by Shida Shahabi – Oddly Enough

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