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Sault are an R&B-rooted collective whose output has integrated numerous styles including retro-modern psychedelic soul, rambunctious post-punk funk, righteous Afrobeat, and purposefully oblique pop. They have been just as varied from a lyrical standpoint, shifting with ease from affection and heartache to opposition and upliftment. Remarkably prolific, they've issued six full-length projects, including the debut 5, the Mercury Prize-nominated Untitled (Rise), and the choral/orchestral Air, since appearing in 2019. Presented anonymously, Sault appeared early in 2019 with "We Are the Sun" and "Don't Waste My Time," singles that set up and appeared on the full-length 5, released that May. Physical copies credited only production to Inflo, aka Dean Josiah Cover, best known for having co-written Michael Kiwanuka's Ivor Novello Award-winning "Black Man in a White World," among other work with the Kooks, Jungle, and Little Simz. Cover wrote or co-wrote all the songs, joined by primary vocalist Cleopatra Nikolic, aka Cleo Sol (another Little Simz collaborator), and Melisa Young, aka Kid Sister. Only four months later, Sault returned with the briefer 7, written strictly by Cover and Nikolic in tandem. Among the high-profile fans of these albums was BBC DJ Gilles Peterson, who in June 2020 broadcast the entirety of the third Sault offering, Untitled (Black Is), a week ahead of ahead of its Juneteenth release. The expansive and urgent set, featuring an appearance from Kiwanuka, followed Cleo Sol's Inflo-produced Rose in the Dark by less than three months. Untitled (Rise), distinguished by more uptempo material, arrived that September. Only nine months after that, in June 2021, Sault offered Nine with assistance from the likes of Jack Peñate and Little Simz. Having generated an organic groundswell of support from DJs, publications, and listeners, Sault reached the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart for the first time, placing Nine at number 99. Coincidentally, Sault had announced that the album would "exist" for 99 days -- unavailable as a download, pulled from streaming services, and out of print after that period. A few weeks after the arrival of Nine, Untitled (Rise) was shortlisted for Mercury Prize 2021, and Mother, Cleo Sol's second Inflo-produced solo album, was out that August. Accolades continued to pile up. At the 2022 Brit Awards, Inflo became the first Black producer to win British Producer of the Year. The nominees for Album of Year included Little Simz's Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, which Inflo produced almost exclusively, and Adele's 30, featuring three Inflo productions. Sault were back in April 2022 with album six, Air. Consisting mostly of strings and voices, it emphasized Inflo's talents as a composer and arranger.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo
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