Vocal-driven dreamy electronics
It makes sense that every song on Su Shaw’s debut album as SHHE is concerned with “questioning identity”. She was born in the Highlands to a Scottish father and a Portuguese mother. Nationality, coupled with changes in her life including a move away and a relationship breakdown, inform her introspective approach.
Before reinventing herself as SHHE, Shaw made music under the name Panda Su. This new project is a sharp move away from her former work towards experimentation and electronics and her self-titled debut is beautiful and fleeting, clocking in at around 35 minutes. SHHE doesn’t need much time to make her impact though. Opening track ‘Eyes Shut’ lures the listener in with a gentle vibrato shudder, before going in for the kill with a hypnotic pulsing beat. There’s the empyrean allure of plaintively-sung ‘Emma’, and the moving two-part movement of ‘Maps’ and ‘Maps 2’. Fans of The xx and London’s Babeheaven will particularly approve.
Tell us more…
Shaw has an affinity with colder climes. As if Scotland isn’t eye-wateringly chilly enough, much of the album was conceived in Iceland. “I first spent time there as part of an artist residency in a village called Þingeyri,” she says. “A few days in, a snow storm cut off the village completely and access in and out wasn’t possible. I had rented a studio space, but for most of that time, I couldn’t get to it. It was the first time I’d gone somewhere where I wasn’t in any control. I’d never been somewhere that had had an effect like that before. Spending time in Iceland helped shift my perspective on many things, creatively and personally.”
‘SHHE’ is out on One Little Indian