Shifts

Released worldwide: 08/11/2019
Cat. No: LP13-36 / CD13-36 / DA13-36
Format: 12” / Digital
Barcode: 12” - 6-00116-13361-8; DIG - 06-00116-13365-6

Tracklisting:

VINYL:
SIDE A
1. Futō
2. All In Circles
SIDE B
3. Sea Ear
4. Janvie
5. Keiki


DIGITAL:
1. Futō
2. All In Circles
3. Sea Ear
4. Janvie
5. Keiki
Shifts

Press Release

A wonderfully immersive suite of five stunning new tracks, ‘Shifts’ expands upon pianist / composer Shida Shahabi’s debut album and confirms her as a genuine new force in contemporary piano music.

Stockholm-based Shida's 'Homes' LP was released on FatCat's pioneering 130701 imprint in October 2018, with its gentle yet deeply immersive, homespun piano drawing comparisons to the likes of Goldmund and Nils Frahm. It was championed by BBC’s Mary Anne Hobbs and Gilles Peterson, whilst MOJO marvelled at her “summoning music from the very bowels of the piano, the out-of-focus opacity; like her simple, affecting melodic figures, suggesting... a half-submerged music that rewards the attentive ear". Elsewhere, Future Music called the album “a masterclass in simplicity... allowing each note the space and time to become truly affecting... a confident debut of a new artist with their own vision". Released without huge fanfare or big industry / marketing machinery, ‘Homes’ nevertheless found a strong, organic connection with an audience, being picked up and shared across social media and through word of mouth, and viewed by many as one of last year’s finest piano albums.

Following the the rise of pianist / composers like Max Richter, Nils Frahm, Dustin O’Halloran and Olafur Arnalds from the late ‘00s onwards, contemprary piano-based music has seen a huge surge in popularity. It has become an increasingly flooded field, and one largely dominated by white male artists drawing upon a fairly narrow spectrum of influence. What sets Shida apart from so many peers is both the genuine depth of detail and feeling as well as the greater breadth of influence she draws on. Hers is a visceral, lusciously sensitive music. Prepared with felt (to create a damped sense of closeness) and intimately captured via clever microphone placement and a subtle prism of tape delay treatments, the simple, gentle beauty of her compositions is striking. Uncluttered and unhurried, a deep sense of integrity and humble warmth seeps through every note.

A year on from her debut, ‘Shifts’ sees Shida continue to mine her beloved old JG Malmsjö upright piano as a source of warmth and character. She describes the new material as being “very much about continuing on exploring and pushing things to a direction sound-wise that makes me excited - trying out new things, learning and reflecting upon that.” Without radically departing from the ‘Homes’ blueprint, this time around her palette is expanded, with the opening three tracks seeing the prominent addition of cello, intertwining with piano to provide a powerfully emotive sweep and drone. These parts were provided by Linnea Olsson, who Shida calls "an old musician friend of mine and without a doubt the best cellist I know in Sweden.” Having known each other since she invited Shida to play organ for her at a show at London’s Union Chapel in 2013, Olsson has some pedigree as a performer, playing with artists like Peter Gabriel, Sting and Ane Brun, as well as releasing a number of her own solo albums. Though engaged in more pop-oriented material in recent years, Shida refers to her “genius sensitivity as a musician for a wide range of sounds.” Indeed, the timbre and tone of Olsson’s cello perfectly complements and adds emotional resonance to Shida’s own playing, with the two interlocking beautifully.

From the opening bars of first track ‘Futō’, the mechanics of the piano are again clearly audible, with a wonderfully visceral recording revealing intimate acoustic details and imperfections - the hiss / fuzz of tape machinery, the creaking and clanking of the piano’s pedals, hammers and keys. Everything was recorded by Shida and Elias Krantz in various Stockholm locations – at Shida's former studio, and at both her own and Olsson’s homes. Pulled together slowly and sporadically over the past year, Shida describes its recording as being “like a parallel process that I had between maternity leave, tours and other work. Some tracks were made in a single day and other material took weeks. The only thing I brought with me in the writing process was that I didn’t want the writing and sound to be as focused on the piano as it was on the album. It feels like that was a good frame to have, even though some tracks still ended up having a piano focus. I wanted also to work with longer lines and more abstract/ minimal arrangements on this one.” The record was mixed by Hampus Norén and mastered at Calyx by Francesco Donadello (Jóhann Jóhannsson, Modeselektor & Tom Yorke, A winged Victory for the Sullen, Dustin O'Halloran, Lubomyr Melnyk, Hauchka, etc).

Born in the Swedish capital in 1989 to parents who had fled the Iran-Iraq war, Shida Shahabi began studying piano from the age of nine and grew up listening to a broad range of music, her family home soundtracked by an immersion in '70s Persian pop, MTV, and her parents classical CD collection. As a child she would listen to Mozart or Tchaikovsky, picking up pieces on piano by ear. Besides eventually levitating towards post-rock, ambient, krautrock and more experimental material, Shida became inspired by a wide range of sounds – from the lyricism and harmonies of 19th Century Romantic composers like Chopin, Schumann and Debussy; to Georges Delerue, Raymond Scott, and Francoise Rabbath; to Erik Satie, Goldmund, Aphex Twin's 'Druqks' album, and Ethiopian pianist Emahoy Tsegue Maryam Guebrou. Studying fine art at Stockholm's Royal institute of Art in 2009, Shida played keyboards for numerous local artists / bands and focused her studies etirely around sound-related art. Since finishing college in 2013, she has been working with varied forms of music and sound art and continuing to play in different constellations, whilst writing music both solo and for dance, film, theatre and fine art contexts.

'Shifts' is released on 130701 on 8th November on vinyl and digital formats. The EP will be released in Scandinavia via the Sing A Song Fighter label. Shida will be playing a series of UK / EU shows in support of the album, including a performance in front of an audience of up to 2,000 at Film 4’s Summer Screen this August at Somerset House in London, where she will play before a screening of ‘The Piano’.

Contacts

UK A&R:
Dave Howell - [email protected]

UK PR:
Dave Howell - [email protected]

UK / EU live agent:
Kai Lehmann at Cabin Artists - [email protected]