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Baker's Dozen

Not Just Random Doof: Jas Shaw's Favourite Music
The Quietus , May 20th, 2020 11:07

Jas Shaw marks the release of the first album from his new project Shaw & Grossfeldt with a Quietus Baker's Dozen, featuring an Aphex Twin love story, why dance music isn't an albums game, and how a Resident Advisor podcast helped him through chemotherapy

Jas Shaw is perhaps best known as one half of Simian Mobile Disco, the duo with James Ford that grew to be one of the blog house era's defining acts. But as SMD fans have grown up, so has Shaw's sound, and on 5th June he releases Klavier with Bas Grossfeldt (aka choreographer and artist Søren Siebel). It is an album built entirely around ruminations on the Yamaha Disklavier, and the play between the digital aesthetics of synth and piano.

A few years ago Shaw was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disease called AL amyloidosis, for which he continues to receive treatment. Health problems have little slowed his work rate, and in recent years has also released solo album Exquisite Cops, as well as a collaborative album with Gold Panda under the name Selling.

Simian Mobile Disco went on hiatus after their 2018 album Murmurations, a songwriting collaboration with Deep Throat Choir leader Luisa Gerstein. SMD had come to prominence over a decade before, with a sound that segued between electroclash and blog house, bringing the fruitiness of analogue synths from the former to the neon-clad attitude of blog house's digital slaps and kicks.

They released one of the defining albums of that era, Attack Decay Sustain Release, and extensive collaboration with just about everyone followed: they brought in vocalists with attitude like Beth Ditto, and remixed the era’s big stars, from nu-rave bands like Klaxons, CSS and The Rapture to royalty like Bjork, and in more recent years had got behind the buttons for Nine in Nails, Depeche Mode and Omar Souleyman. All this made them, as you might say, bloghousehold names.

Shaw's Baker's Dozen turned out to be a trip around some of the most important music of the last 50 years, and shows him to be an open-minded and hungry listener, interested not just in electronic music but in anything and everything that pushed boundaries and reimagined what composition, production, or digital sound could be. He takes us on a tour that runs through Pan Sonic and Steve Reich, to My Bloody Valentine and Augustus Pablo. Shaw's final choice is a provocation, a podcast mix instead of an album, that he says he listened to on repeat in the period he was undergoing chemo for his health condition, and is, as he says "not just some random doof".

Shaw & Grossfeldt's Klavier is released on vinyl and digitally on 5th June 2020 via Drone. Click the image of Jas Shaw below to begin reading his Baker's Dozen selections