Shida Shahabi`s debut recording, Homes, represents a move back to basics. A cliche I know, but after graduating from Stockholm`s Royal Institute Of Art, the album is a positive exercise in “working as simply as possible” and “limiting the tools”. A vacation from the Swedish-Iranian`s sound design for film, installations, and theatre.
Homes` pieces consist largely of close mic`d piano. Tape picking up the ambience, the hum, of the room. The pump of the pedals. The tap of feet keeping time. Fingers picking out waltzes, inspired by the romance of Chopin, Debussy, and Schumann. Georges Delerue, Francoise Rabbath, and Raymond Scott. Dances, and parties, remembered. Pretty In Plums is oriental, koto-like, in glissando and tone. Vassen ripples like waves lapping at a pier. A deserted boardwalk. Out of season. Thoughtful. But not hung up on melancholy, or strung-out on nostalgia, the way those fellas, like Nils Frahm, James Heather, and Max Richter, seem to be. Sharing the intimacy of 130701 label mate, Ian William Craig`s Slow Vessels. Even if Shida`s songs have no words.
I don`t know anything about Classical music. Post, Modern, or otherwise. But listening to Homes, made me wonder what makes one artist`s work standout from another. Without any theory or training, I think it`s just that some things instantly draw you into their world. Or a mood. Connecting at a particular moment. Resonating. Stimulating imagination and thought. Providing a window of calm. An opportunity to take stock. Or a means of escape.
A highly personal, and totally subjective, game of chance then. Where, sometimes, what`s needed is a companion. A shoulder in a low. When at others it`ll be that equally essential shake. A reminder to look beyond passing clouds, to bluer skies.
Shida Shahabi`s Homes will be released by 130701 on October 19th.
Below are thirteen fairly recent solo piano pieces that have provided company out here, at the foot of Asamayama.
Shida Shahabi – Pretty In Plums – 130701
James Heather – Last Minute Change Of Heart – Ahead Of Our Time
Goldmund – History – Western Vinyl
Poppy Ackroyd – Rain – Denovali
Patrick Jonsson – Still Life – Phases
Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch – Martello – 130701
Nils Frahm – The Roughest Trade – Erased Tapes
Sebastian Gandera – D`Un Pas Chancelant – Efficient Space
Erland Cooper – Maalie Over Marwick Head – Phases
Harold Budd – Rub With Ashes – All Saints
Dmitry Evgrafov – Falter – 130701
Max Richter – Horizon Variations – Deutsche Gramophone
Delia Gonzalez – I – DFA