Musically, we vacillate between folk and electronica, as small pulses of experimental motif chime in Samson’s evocative sound. The album draws a lot of inspiration from the artists he has shared the stage with over the years: from S.Carey who accompanies Bon Iver, through The Album Leaf, Olafur Arnalds or even Do Make Say Think.
Composed in one year – January-December 2020 – and composed of nine beautiful new pieces, it presents itself as a rich meditation on the idea of belonging, identity and the search for a home in the most precarious worlds.
Marking 10 years since the release of his debut album Balance in 2012, Will Samson’s new album almost feels like the fruit of his learning and growth over the past decade.
For the first time, he gave himself a dedicated studio space outside his home. A blessing to his sanity and work process, while also upgrading his tools, finally buying his own microphone and a new laptop that doesn’t heat up and crashes constantly, allowing him to update his recording software for the first time in years.
While this fairly ordinary detail may seem superfluous, to someone who has spent a lot of time streaming, it did bring some stability that Samson’s work often fails to find.
Recently settled in his new home in Portugal, Samson has spent most of his life moving from one place to another. Born in Oxford, he soon emigrated with his parents to Western Australia, where he lived for ten years before returning to the United Kingdom. He then moved between Oxford and Berlin, then Brighton, Lisbon, Brussels and finally Bristol, where the active fantasy was recorded in the building of a former brewing house.
This fluidity has always been central to his work, as there are many elements in his music that relate to notions of identity and home. Active Imagination est, à bien des égards, une continuation de cette quête et de cette découverte, mais la sécurité qui se trouve à sa base a abouti à une confiance retrouvée dans son propre métier et sa about capacitité pourle ir plus today.
The end result is a compelling testament to learning about self-love, developing inner confidence and examining the idea of identity. Some songs have also been drawn from Samson’s attempts to tame lucid dreams during the first close of 2020. Many of the lyrics on the album are simple descriptions of those dreams that will be recorded in a dedicated dream journal. “Juvenita,” for example, is taken directly from a dream that Samson had dreamed of walking through an empty Indian town with his ancestors.
album opening trackArpy– 5 and a half minutes of heart-pounding rhythmic build – it was always special to Will but took several months to complete, while the fast closing track languishes,”AvoidHe appeared almost completely in one day.
Dreamlike in the swirling and imaginative nature of its unfolding, active imagination bears witness to Samson’s ongoing exploration – of the world around him and his own actions – which still provides great mysteries of interpretation. Patient yet mysterious, the album embarks on this journey and creates a wonderful soundtrack to explore, as Samson’s work has always done.