Joseph Shabason reworks Erik Satie’s ‘Gymnopédie No. 1’

We fell for Joseph Shabason‘s music through his brilliant and beautiful debut album Aytche. Listening to his follow-up works, in the realms of ambient and jazz, has completely captivated us every time. So news of a new single from the talented composer and multi-instrumentalist is wonderful news. Prompted by Western Vinyl‘s new series Composure: Classical Reworks for Modern Relief, that sees them invite artists to cover their own influential classical compositions, Shabason picked Erik Satie’s ‘Gymnopedie No. 1’. The French composer, who became an inspiration to modern ambient music, composed the Gymnopedies, consisting of three short piano pieces, in 1888.
Shabason’s take on ‘Gymnopedie No. 1′ saw him collaborate with string player Drew Jurecka and use tape-manipulation to create an eerie, relaxing and reflective track that feels like a salve for these times. “When Satie premiered this piece for the first time, he gathered all of Paris’ music critics and musicians into a theater, and had a big cocktail party with a piano player playing background music”, Shabason explained. He continues:

“Off to the side there was a concert space with a stage, piano, and chairs. After the party everyone filed into the concert space and found their seats. Satie got on stage and told everyone that the background music they just heard over drinks was his new material, ‘thank you and have a good night.’

I wanted to capture the loneliness of playing something that’s musically meaningful while people just talk over what you’re doing and what you’ve created. It’s something that every gigging musician has experienced, and it’s fucking awful…but there is also a kind of warm loneliness to it. You know that no one cares about your music, and in that knowledge you are left with the feeling of doing something just for yourself…which further solidifies your resolve and investment in what you’re doing.”

Now wrap your ears around the staggering and haunting beauty of this cover.