Jas Shaw evidently has a gift for collaboration: he made his name as one half of Simian Mobile Disco before pairing up with Gold Panda in 2018 for ‘On Reflection’, a collection of improvisatory synth-jams released under the alias Selling. Shaw’s latest partnership sees the producer joining forces with Søren Sibel aka Bas Grossfeldt, an artist best known within the spheres of performance art and choreography.
Working together as Shaw & Grossfeldt, the duo have taken a decidedly cerebral approach to their debut release, building what’s ostensibly a leftfield dub-techno record around the sonic manipulation and decontextualisation of a single instrument, the Yamaha Disklavier.
Capable of receiving MIDI input, the Disklavier is a traditional piano that can be fully controlled by computer software. Shaw & Grossfeldt take full advantage of the world of possibility that this presents, using Max/MSP patches to generate unfamiliar melodic material while experimenting with prepared piano techniques that physically alter the instrument’s sound.
After sampling, slicing and processing the resulting recordings, the duo have engineered an emotionally resonant atmosphere of deep unease and exquisite tension, in which percussive thuds, knocks and skitters of percussion take on an unearthly significance. Each track on ‘Klavier’ is titled with reference to a performance direction that denotes volume, ranging from pianissimo to fortissimo.
Our premiere, ‘Klavier fff’, is an immersive head-spinner that provides a heated contrast to restrained and beatless minimalism found on experimental curiosities such as ‘Klavier pp’. Using layers of filtered micro-samples as a tonal backdrop for mesmeric percussive patterns and an inexorable kick, Shaw & Grossfeldt double down on the dub techno influences that haunt the ghostly ether they’ve jointly created, reminding us that despite its artful methodology and admirable imagination, ‘Klavier’ remains a dance record at its core.
‘Klavier’ is scheduled for release 5 June via Drone. Order a copy from Bandcamp.
1. Klavier pp
2. Klavier mf
3. Klavier f
4. Klavier fff
5. Klavier mp
6. Klavier p
7. Klavier ppp