Shida Shahabi: Shifts (LP, 130701, November 2019)

I’ll admit that my first thought on hearing the opening track here, Futō, was that maybe it was overdoing the whole close-miked piano thing a wee bit, as the creak of the mechanism was so up front in the mix. But that was soon forgotten, displaced by my second and more lasting thought: this is blooming lovely.

Iranian–Swedish Shahabi’s intimate and evocative piano playing is accompanied by cello by Linnea Olsson, with a subtle touch of synth and electronics from Shahabi herself. I’d file this record under “modern classical with a touch of ambient/drone”, and while it may not stray far from the genre template, it easily stands out from the common herd for its melodies, which are unshowy but somehow worm into your subconscious in that way that makes you feel you’ve known them for years, and the superb playing. An all-to-brief 25 minutes, it is tender, with a quiet touch of sadness, but ultimately gently uplifting, this has been brightening up a cold and damp London winter enormously.

I bought this from Juno. They call it Ambient / Drone.

Your turn! What do you think?