For our next release then, we have something truly striking in the form of this debut album by Reykjavik’s S.hel. It will be released on Piano Day, combines piano and strings compositions with electronics and cinematic effects. To my ears, it sits somewhere between the quieter moments of Aphex Twin’s Drukqs, and then the work of composers such as Hauschka, Nils Frahm and perhaps even the artist’s mentor Mikael Lind, who mixed the album. For us, the artwork absolutely sets this album off in a truly unique way, thanks to the work of Sarah Maria Yasdani, helped by Rakel Ýr Stefánsdóttir. It really embodies the concept of this album which is disconnection and questions of origin. We have a feeling it may very well strike a chord with people right now, even though the concept for this album was born long before Covid 19 was a thing and is not actually related! Our message to the world right now is to think of the people all around you and care for one another. Get connected, even if it has to be at a distance. The album was released on Piano Day, Saturday the 28th of March
Disconnect was released to subscribers of our mailing list last weekend, who had the first opportunity to grab one of these 100 CDs. We do have some available however, please note, there will be a delay in shipping following the closure of our post office due to Covid 19. We aim to ship every order as soon as we can but please bear this in mind if you decide to order. You can also stream the album in full on Bandcamp as well as Spotify and of course, you can grab a digital version if you prefer, by clicking the player above or link below. To avoid missing out on future releases, you can join our mailing list HERE: low-run releases will be made available suddenly without official release dates, meaning they’re likely to sell out fast. The best way to keep informed is to join our mailing list which can be located through our website menu or you can click HERE
“There’s a well-known German saying ‘Ich bin Weltbürger: überall zu Hause, überall fremd’ which roughly translates to ‘I’m a world citizen: I am everywhere at home and everywhere a stranger’. S.hel believes this is a phrase which describes him well; London his birthplace, being partly raised in Germany and residing in Iceland.
Disconnect is a debut album by an emerging artist, arriving at a time of uncertainty and disarray, where terms such as self-isolation and social distancing are on everyone’s lips. However, this record’s theme is not born out of the adversity that coined these phrases. Instead, when creating these works the artist was informed by his thoughts around identity and how we perceive it as a whole. Do places of origin matter? He moved around a lot as a child and at times, felt he had no roots which left him feeling very disconnected at times. Some years on and settling in Iceland, he now realises the valuable lessons and skills the experience has brought.
Disconnect follows the self-released EP ‘Lucid’ in 2018 and the primary instrument is the piano. Aptly, we will be releasing this album for piano day as this unique record draws in wide influences including mentor Mikael Lind who mixed the album, S.hel’s piano teachers Sunna Gunnlaugs and Kjartan Valdemarsson as well as compatriots Jóhann Jóhannsson and Hildur Guðnadóttir. Contemporary composers play their part too in the stimulus, such as Nils Frahm, Arvo Pärt and Max Richter. Disconnect flits between intimate and organic piano compositions and granulated or randomised electronic effects, interspersed with swathes of strings and synthesizer. Creaks and pensive moments navigate perceived silence and suspense, whilst the mood switches effortlessly to the grandeur of modern classical orchestration in equal measure.
This striking album package is complete with the wonderful concept artwork of Sarah Maria Yasdani and Rakel Ýr Stefánsdóttir who have also produced and directed accompanying music videos. The concept works hand in hand with the music and the themes of disconnection S.hel portrays and reflects on the loneliness resulting from being part of a society that has lost itself in daily routine. Currently the routine may be all we crave, but maybe amongst all this we can all find some way to connect again.”
Written and produced by S.hel
Mixed by Mikael Lind
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Art concept and photography by Sarah Maria Yasdani and Rakel Ýr Stefánsdóttir