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Onemind Presents Onemind

Sam Slater - I Do Not Wish To Be Known As A Vandal

Bedroom Community

  • £12.22

Format: CD
Catalogue No.: HVALUR41CD
Barcode: 5051142009616  
Release Date: 10 Jun 2022
Genre: Electronic/Experimental/Soundtracks 

Sam Slater is a two-time Grammy Award-winning composer, sound designer and music producer, who since 2013 has been busy working on a range of projects behind the scenes for screen, stage, live and recorded mediums. On 10th June he is set to step in the spotlight, with his new album ‘I Do Not Wish To Be Known As A Vandal’, released via Bedroom Community.

Receiving the awards for his roles as both score producer and musical sound designer on the box office smash ‘Joker’ (Todd Phillips, 2019) and the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning drama series, ‘Chernobyl’ (Johan Renck, 2019), Slater is a frequent collaborator with acclaimed Icelandic musician/composer, Hildur Guðnadóttir. He has produced, mixed and engineered projects for artists including Jóhann Jóhannsson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Colin Stetson, A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Ben Frost, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Mica Levi, Shapednoise and ZebraKatz.

When it came to the recording of ‘I Do Not Wish To Be Known As A Vandal’, Slater called on a number of creative forces. Recorded remotely, each musician would send a sound, some words, some creative parameters, and Slater would respond in turn. Hildur Guðnadóttir provided distinct Doro phone sounds, Yair Glotman played thunderous double-bass, and Hilary Jeffrey and Sam Dunscombe laid down woodwind and microtonal brass. In addition, Icelandic singer-songwriter JFDR delivered her intimate vocals and James Ginzburg (Emptyset) mixed it, with an ear for precise form. From his base in Berlin, Slater would flag the sounds he loved; some twitching strings, the stolen alto voice from an abandoned English chorale, some words from a climate scientist fleshed into a poem. It became an exercise in receptivity, in which openness itself became a creative voice, hushing Slater’s tendency to micromanage every detail. These interactions were pulled together into a single piece written for two sides of a single 12” vinyl; one side describing collapse (‘Darn!’) and the other, recovery (‘Kintsugi’). Influenced by the 70s concept prog records of his childhood, the album loops without ending, so you are never really allowed to rest in safety.

“Structurally the piece traces a recurrent mental image of mine in which a body is falling through space so slowly that I'm unsure if it is moving at all, while simultaneously and continually I’m anticipating the looming threat of bodily pain. Thankfully, also embedded in this movement is the anticipation of the inevitability of recovery. This ambiguous space between glacial-pace self-destruction and the potential of a return to one's feet become two aspects of the same dynamic, and indeed, I feel that we are often suspended perilously close to both. Within these cycles of collapse and recovery, be they personal, systemic, global or political, my sense of powerlessness is offset by the hope that at least my own actions could be rooted in kindness – I do not wish to be known as a vandal.”

The album showcases the breadth of Slater’s range as composer and producer, transitioning through distinctly different spaces, from the glitchy, clipped intro, into Icelandic folktronica, into swathes of menacing string mutations and eerie, mournful woodwind. These vivid, four dimensional scenes conjure a bleak beauty and sense of purgatory akin to Clark’s ‘Playground In A Lake’, with JFDR‘s voice providing a more familiar sense of reassurance – something human to cling to amidst murky abstracts depths, where effects twist instruments into barely recognisable shapes.

Slater began producing records in his teens and studied Experimental Composition at Leeds University before moving to Germany to begin his professional career. He got his start working as Johann Johannsson's principal musical sound designer and creative engineer, uniting on several projects.

In 2019, alongside Guðnadóttir, he engineered a live touring performance of the ‘Chernobyl’ score for a bespoke, immersive sound system inside an abandoned telephone factory in Krakow, Poland. The show will continue to tour worldwide in 2022.

In 2020 he scored ‘Guerrillas’, a feature film about freedom fighters in Myanmar directed by Arran Anyrin Bowyn, as well as ‘The River Between Us’, a documentary feature on uncontacted Peruvian tribes. He also composed the score for ‘I Am Not A Monster’, a BBC / PBS Podcast telling the story of an American mother who brought her son to live in war-torn Syria. The podcast won several awards and was noted for its complex and weighty sound world. In 2021, he scored the soundtrack to EA Games ‘Battlefield 2042’ alongside Guðnadóttir, which was nominated for an SCL Award in the ‘Outstanding Original Score for Interactive Media’ category.

To accompany the album, Slater worked with the visual artist Theresa Baumgartner and Dancer/Choreographer Lukas Malkowski on the simple imagery of a body resisting gravity, which has been realized as an Audio-Visual installation set to premiere in 2022. ‘I Do Not Wish To Be Known As A Vandal’ uses high speed cameras which compensate for gravity’s pull at 3000 frames per second, suspending an unclothed body in space as it moves from feet to floor and back again. The result is a simple, framed figure of a body moving through space, duelling with inevitably and the cycle of collapse and recovery, set to generative interpretation of the record.

Tracklisting:

1. ‘Darn! I’
2. ‘Darn! II’
3. ‘Darn! III’
4. ‘Darn! III’
5. ‘Kintsugi I’
6. ‘Kintsugi II’
7. ‘Kintsugi III’’

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