Shaw & Grossfeldt – Klavier
Out on June 5 2020
The chance discovery of a Yamaha Disklavier took Jas Shaw and Bas Grossfeldt’s collaboration in a whole new direction.
When Simian Mobile Disco’s Jas Shaw and fine artist turned musician Bas Grossfeldt walked into a Cologne recording studio they came across a Yamaha Disklavier in the live room which sparked a whole new direction.
For non musos a Disklavier is a conventional piano, but one fitted with electronic sensors and triggers, so they decided to ditch their plan to set up synths. Instead they used a Max MSP software patch allowing one to control the piano, and the other to manipulate the acoustic strings to create a unique sound.
Despite the fact that Shaw is being treated by AL amyloidosis – a rare bone marrow disorder – and his partner is relatively new to music they have created a template that subtly merges delicate piano motifs with elements of dance.
The album veers from something like the atmospheric Klavier pp full of plucked strings with static buzzing around to the almost housey Klavier mp. It ‘s a really off kilter mix that should be discordant, but somehow works.
You can wallow in the subtle beats and simple acoustic riffs of Klavier pp then drift off to Klavier mf’s shimmering percussion driven by synth riffs cut and pasted together through the Disklavier’s midi system.
The duo are already working on new material, and it will be interesting to see if they carry on in this direction, but in the meantime this is a strong debut full of intelligent production using an unconventional instrument.
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Review by Paul Clarke, you can see his author profile here.