Shawn Lee releases Synthesizers in Space today on ESL Music. The seed for this record was planted at Switched On, a vintage music curiosity shop in Austin, Texas. Wandering through the store, Lee came across a “mystery box” instrument that was unlike anything in his arsenal of keyboards and synths. Inspired by his new discovery, he went directly into the studio and cranked out 11 tracks implementing his new mystery find. While the name of the album may be Synthesizers in Space, heavy, real time drumming is at the heart of this record. Lee’s smoky, psychedelic grooves cook and sound incredible as he recorded everything on tape for that dense, analog warmth.
“There’s a lot more to this album than the title implies. I use a lot of keyboards, but it’s not wall-to-wall synthesizers. The foundation is drumming – real drums played in real time – and captured on analog tape for that crusty, magnetic sound that I like.” – Shawn Lee
Growing up, Shawn Lee taught himself how to play drums, guitar and bass among other instruments. Determined to capture the sounds that intrigued him, Lee’s mind was filled with sonic possibilities. “I got a real guitar when I was 10 and started playing along with records and recording myself,” he explains. “I wanted to make records. Not to get chicks and play clubs, but to make the kind of sounds that fascinated me.” He moved to Los Angeles where he found day jobs producing, doing session work, and working with the likes of the Dust Brothers and the late Jeff Buckley, Tony Joe White, and Tommy Guerrero. BBC’s renowned radio DJ Gilles Peterson noticed Lee and offered him a record deal on his label, Talkin’ Loud, and a chance to move to London where he still lives today.
Lee’s been fortunate enough to have worked with artists such as Clutchy Hopkins, Money Mark, Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Rey, Alicia Keyes, Adrian Younge and Bei Bei, composed music for film, video games (award winning video game composer for “Bully”) and television shows, including HBO’s Eastbound and Down, Lost, Criminal Minds, and toured with artists like Phoenix, Zero 7, Sigur Ros and Thievery Corporation. Listen to “Head Up” below to get a taste for the vintage perfection found in Shawn Lee’s authentic grooves. Lee will head out on tour with AM this summer and you can catch them when they come to Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory on August 31st.
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