November 24, 2023

New album: Syncline

Jean Kapsa, SynclineJean Kapsa, Syncline

I’m thrilled to announce the release of my new mini-album Syncline, on the Berlin-based label LEITER, founded by Nils Frahm and Felix Grimm.
It’s been a wonderful journey to work on this album surrounded by such an exceptional team, and it’s a great joy to join the LEITER family.

You can listen to Syncline today on the platform of your choice and on Bandcamp.

For more information, read below and visit this page.

French pianist and composer Jean Kapsa shares a beautiful mini-album, Syncline’, out on all digital platforms via LEITER. A collection of six solo pieces, it was recorded at night between September and November 2022 in Kapsa’s home in Paris on the piano his parents gave him when he was just 15 and which he still keeps in his living room, surrounded permanently by microphones. Most of it consists of first or second takes,” he says, usually recorded not too long after a piece’s composition — and often on the same day — so that the mood was the same. If I wasn’t happy after three takes, I usually gave up. I wanted the listener to be able to witness this intimate, fragile way of building an album made up of very new, personal, precious pieces.”

Syncline’ manages to be all those things: intimate, fragile, personal and precious. And it’s also performed with rare skill. Kapsa’s connection to LEITER dates back almost a decade to the loft he was sharing with seven other roommates in 2014. The place was really special,” he recalls, and one evening La Blogotheque came to film the band Real Estate with a little group of guests as the audience. I knew that a pianist friend of the producer had been invited to join us after the concert, but it was a surprise to see Nils Frahm arrive. Afterwards, while people were tidying up, I sat at my piano, the same one on which I’d later record Syncline’, and started to improvise. Nils came over and joined me for twenty minutes or so. You could say we introduced ourselves without words.”

So impressed was Frahm that he not only insisted Kapsa stay in contact, but also invited him to perform a duet, Hammers’, at the Philharmonie de Paris the following night for a show broadcast by ARTE. Afterwards, Frahm explained to the crowd how they’d met the previous evening: I was like, Who’s that? He’s way better than me!’” Still, it would be another eight years before they encountered one another again, though in the meantime Kapsa added to what was already a flourishing catalogue, with two solo albums, 2019’s Haïku’ and 2020’s Vespera’, joining 2012’s Improvisations’, not to mention multiple releases, before and since, with some of the many bands in which he performs. Over the years, you see, Kapsa has built up an impressive reputation in the French capital’s jazz scene, where he’s particularly appreciated for his improvisational skills.

releases November 24, 2023

Music by Jean Kapsa
Produced by Jean Kapsa
Mixed by Nils Frahm
Mastered by Zino Mikorey
Cover image by Klaus Frahm
Cover design by Torsten Posselt

October 11, 2023

Here is a playthrough video with the Rhodes MK8/75AE.

September 7, 2023

The stunning Rhodes MK8/75AE piano I won last year just arrived home yesterday, and I thought I’d write down a few thoughts. I spent a couple of hours playing with it and this experience was fantastic. I first got used to the touch of the piano - the keyboard action is excellent - and the physical sensation of feeling the hammers action and the vibration of the tines transmitted to the fingers is something truly special. I then experimented with all the piano’s functions, both in the preamp and effects sections - so many parameters and possibilities to explore, some bring us close to synthesis. Everything is very well thought out, well designed, and easy to use while playing. It feels like a very solid and complete instrument. This combination of an amazing sound, wonderful additions and a great design, makes this Rhodes an extremely inspiring instrument. Already, some new tunes emerged from this first session.

September 3, 2023

I’ve discovered Anthony Williams’ album Spring (1965), and I really like what’s on it. The music was surprisingly reminiscent of a Tyshawn Sorey concert given at the Musée du Quai Branly in the early 2010s, although his energy was arguably closer to Elvin Jones at that performance. The direction taken left me with the impression of witnessing a group of sculptors coming together to make something fine out of the rock in front of them. This album exudes freedom.

September 2, 2023

I just uploaded a new video where I’m jamming on the piano while testing the Chase Bliss Mood MKII effects pedal.

September 1, 2023

I’ve just watched again Brazil directed by Terry Gilliam and released in 1985. I watched it for the first time probably 20 years ago and I had no particular recollection of it, except for the pipes. But today it’s different. What struck me most was the freedom of direction the film took in so many areas: the script, the characters, the simple madness and absurdity that subtly emanates around the film’s guideline, this B instead of T. In the film, there’s this separation between Sam Lowry’s dreams and reality, but you’d think it was all a dream. The almost mind-numbing repetition of the song paradoxically adds a layer of freedom. In the end, it’s this controlled freedom that brings us back to the theme of a totalitarian future.

June 12, 2023

Nature’s Child

You can now watch Nature’s Child, a short film directed by Christina Amundsen, for which I composed the music.

In a world increasingly dominated by digital distractions, Nature’s Child’ encourages people of all ages to rekindle their relationship with nature.

The film won silver at Cannes Young Director Award for best Charity Commercial 2023, and is selected for Berlin Commercial Awards.

Nature’s ChildNature’s Child

January 23, 2023


August 31, 2022

August Ending

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