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New Release From Benedict Schlepper-Connolly ‘One Thing I Know’

April 19, 2022

One Thing I Know by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly was commissioned by the percussion-viola duo of Alex Petcu and Nathan Sherman in 2021, with funds provided by The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon. Combining floating viola pads over an intricate gamelan groove, the piece gently fuses ambiguous harmony with the propulsion of Berlin electronica.

The seed for the piece, says Schlepper-Connolly, was “the simple enjoyment of the low C# on the viola’s C string, a note with a characteristic all of its own.” He continues: “The work developed from here, continuing a childlike appreciation of individual sounds, adding in a custom assembly of percussion instruments, some of which were built by percussionist Alex Petcu himself.”

The title comes from the poem “Eines weiß ich” by Edeltraud Eckert, who was arrested for her opposition to the East German government in 1950, and who died in prison at the age of 24 in 1954. Schlepper-Connolly describes the poem as “absurdly optimistic for a better future.”

One Thing I Know is the second track featured on Totemic, the debut album from Petcu and Sherman, to be released April 28th on Ergodos Record Label. The record is testament to the very special synergy that exists between these two dynamic and sensitive musicians. A totem is a natural object believed to have spiritual significance, and there is certainly something elemental about the combination of percussion and viola. “The combination of percussion and viola offers unique timbres – evoking both the ancient and the otherworldly,” says percussionist Alex Petcu.

Violist Nathan Sherman adds: “This record was inspired by the phenomena that is the infinite range of human thought and emotion. The four works on this record represent our spirited, expressive, and heartfelt qualities, and our natural abilities to transcend, reflect and tap into the natural rhythmic flow that is life.”

To accompany the release of the album, the duo commissioned a bespoke music video for One Thing I Know by from filmmaker Néstor Romero Clemente. “Attempting to connect the video with the concept of the piece, I wanted to explore the idea of an imagined set of landscapes,” says Romero Clemente.

He continues: “I worked with an existing artificial intelligence to generate a series of new satellite images featuring places that do not exist on Earth. Benedict suggested arranging these across the video in a particular sequence that might evoke a hopeful recovery of nature, going from desert-like landscapes into lush rainforests. The artificial intelligence then analysed the waveform of the track and moved between these images reactively. Once the render was complete, I manipulated the video to get a more textural result that maybe resonates with the idea of a thought – something that could be but is not.”  

Watch the official video for ‘One Thing I Know’ here:

Alex Petcu and Nathan Sherman will perform an album launch concert at New Music Dublin on 28 April:




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