It’s a lovely Sunday in October. I’m stuck in transit at Rome airport for 4 hours, waiting for the plane that will take me home. I’m simply killing time on social media, when an album appears in front of my eyes. It’s title appears to be a sign. Of course, I press play without ever having, until now, heard of Sam Slater.

And so the first time that I listen and experiment with Wrong airport ghost is in an airport. In the middle of hundreds of people coming from all 4 corners of the globe. In the totally unique ambience offered by this type of place. It is difficult for me to explain the impact that an exceptional album has on me when first hearing it. However I was far from being in the best condition to give it all my attention. But it is irrelevant as to how much attention I could give, the hour or the state of fatigue. It is the kind of album, of sound, that reaches the recesses of my sensibility that are not accessible to other albums.

Very few titles have the ability to extract me from the reality that surrounds me. The extreme power of having the feeling of being alone in a privileged world, that others will never reach. When Blade for a double edged sword invaded my body, time and space were frozen.. and the general agitation around me took place in a state of beautiful slow motion. At this stage, nothing had the ability to reach me, except that sound!
The power music has over us is certainly stronger than we can imagine.

And because my ears don’t lie to me, I knew from the first listen, that I was in the presence of intelligent living sounds and it is exactly what moves me lately! You can find my definition of ILS here, but put simply, I am talking about the approach of combining Living Sounds (sounds of concrete or acoustic origin) with modern Intelligent technologies, in order to create sounds hitherto unknown to our ears (the origin of the sound no longer being identifiable).

Of course, before sharing my thoughts, I looked to confirm them. And arriving like a second sign, Bedroom Community, the Icelandic record label/collective that produced This album, confirmed this by way of a communique from Sam Slater, where he discusses Open, the opening track from the album.

Sam“Open was the last track I made, which I sketched on a plane to Iceland. It’s a folk tune performed by Krishna, that being really heavily processed to force a more “church-like” harmony into to. It’s being fired out of a wall of amplifiers in the studio where we recorded it (Greenhouse in Iceland), as a simple swell of strings appears over the top. I was trying to take this frequency rich source material (a single string, which resonates and echoes after each note, creating rich spectral harmonies) and force an almost dumb harmony onto it – Alfie, Bridget and I just sat and forced more and more artifacts out the processing, until the source was totally obscured, and its new sound was the only audible thing. That really informed the rest of the record from then on.”

So now, who is Sam Slater? Without a doubt, he is someone discrete and certainly not the type of artist to share his works to the four winds. Despite the good or bad interpretation of my approach by these hidden artists, it is those artists who I hope to highlight and to bring to your ears. Because most of the time, it is these artists who offer the better albums.

Wrong airport ghosts is Sam’s debut release under his own name. But this is what I have discovered concerning his biography: Sam Slater is an English composer, producer and sound artist who, since 2013, has been working on a range of projects for screen, stage, live and recorded mediums. A regular collaborator, he has worked on projects alongside musicians including Jóhann Jóhannsson, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Ben Frost and Hildur Guðnadóttir. In 2016, he engineered the live electronics for Oscar Nomminated fim composer Jòhann Jòhannsson (Sicario, Arrival) European tour!! Befor working on several film projects throughout 2017, most Darren Aronofsky‘s mother, and much more! I invite you to follow this link to have an idea of Sam’s professional and artistic accomplishments

Mid August, the Icelandic label announced the release of wrong airport ghost and offered the title track accompanied with a video Directed by Ben Haven Taylor and performed by Maya Zeigler. The description that they added, totally reflects the emotions I felt during my repeated listenings: “The final result is a captivating record, ominous and harsh, soft and emotionally striking. It surrounds your senses with unearthly drones and alien cries, yet it all pulses with a human heart.”

Sam belongs to those sonic explorers who look for of sonic metamorphosis or sonic blooming. As if the origin of the sound was a shell, the deconstruction of this origin unveil the pearl, the gem which is hidden inside.

“Wrong Airport Ghost is a collaboration directly with, and only with one instrument, and its single string. In the summer of 2016, Slater found himself in Rajastahn where he worked closely with the musician Krishna Bhopa. The pair delved deep into the mechanics of the stringed instrument; they relentlessly pulled it apart to begin to understand what made it work and what caused it to break. This very idea of deconstruction became fundamental to the whole process. Just like every sound comes from one source, the concept of dismantling it in order to build another is essential.”Bandcamp source

The album offers 2 titles variations from a previous live recording, released earlier this summer by Sam on Bedroom Community. If you are more into contemporary and modern classical oriented music, I recommend that you experience the live performance from Noland and Subway Lion featured by Hildur Guðnadóttir and Kjartan Holm.

Also available on Bandcamp:

Love N Stuff is, in my opinion, the perfect track to follow to this live performance. Give a chance and some careful listening to this composition, which could appear a bit abstract in its developpement. An uncommon way of composing that opens the gate to a gorgeous ending worthy of the greatest composers with whom he worked.