The Symbiosis of Musicianship and Experiment in the works of Hildur Guðnadóttir and Sam Slater

October 27, 2021

The Symbiosis of Musicianship and Experiment in the works of Hildur Guðnadóttir and Sam Slater

Based in Berlin, experimental cellist and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir and her husband, music producer and composer Sam Slater are on what must be one of the most inspiring musical journeys of recent times.

For years they have been active in and beyond the Icelandic and Berlin music scenes, playing shows and festivals, making inspiring records, and collaborating with bands and artists such as Animal Collective, Múm, Ben Frost and Valgeir Sigurðsson - among many others. In 2019, one year after the death of Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhansson, who they shared a studio space in Berlin Kreuzberg with, Hildur stunned the world with her soundtrack to Todd Phillips' Oscar winning psychological thriller Joker. She was awarded an Academy Award for the music, whereas Sam won a Grammy for his role as a Sound Designer and Score Producer. Both won Grammys for their work on the soundtrack to HBO's mini series Chernobyl, arguably another milestone in recent TV history. In November 2021, they announced their collaboration with gaming company EA on the soundtrack of Battlefield 2042.

Whereas Sam owns fairly substantial amounts of tasty soft- and audio-hardware which he considers crucial to his studio workflow, Hildur is all about analog simplicity and minimalism. Entering her small atelier is soothing, there is space, there is light, there are instruments made of wood. She spends most of the time practicing the cello, finding new sounds, improvising - and ultimately recording herself through a straight-forward recording chain, only interrupted by the occasional bark of her dog Máni.

Watch and hear Hildur and Sam talk about the fascinating way they collaborate on musical projects and why Hildur chooses to work with the HEDD TYPE 20 MK2 studio monitors.