The world is faced with a huge wave of adversity right now and the uncertainty will continue over the coming months and dare I say, beyond. Uncertainty isn’t anything new of course but I guess many of us get used to the status quo and find our normal. What do these times mean for Whitelabrecs? Well, the truth is – we don’t know in the short term. We’re pretty sure however, that the long term will be fine.
So with the rest of this year’s releases, we’ll be guided by you our listeners and followers and see what happens! For some regions, expect postal delays but for now here in the UK, my trusty postman assures me he still wants my business. So for now until I’m forced to stop, I’ll keep selling CDs and visiting him once or twice a week 🙂
Onto 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 will be released officially on Piano Day, Saturday the 28th of March but if you join our mailing list using the link below, we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear.
Whitelabrecs 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