This article originally ran in July 2021, but we’re updating it because A) they’ve got another surprise project out today, April 15th, and B) we still don’t know who the heck they are.
SAULT operates under a shroud of mystery. Since emerging in 2019 with singles “Don’t Waste My Time” and “We Are the Sun,” the UK collective has delivered four albums via independent record label Forever Living Originals under total anonymity.
Their latest studio effort, AIR, dropped on April 15th, and features highlights “Reality,” “Air” and “Solar.” You can stream it below, or grab the full project through a Bandcamp Name Your Price download.
After a few years of building momentum by releasing their music at the drop of a hat with virtually no promotion, their 2021 project Nine scored the group their first chart entry in their native UK, debuting at No. 99 on the Official Albums Chart dated July 8th.
In the weeks since that release and its subsequent chart milestone, we’ve rounded up five things you need to know about the mysterious collective.
1. The group is anonymous
First and foremost, no one seems to know who SAULT is — which is no small feat in this digital age. While they are certainly based in the UK, the collective’s identity is a tightly-guarded secret, with its members eschewing media attention in favor of recording under the umbrella of the group’s title. Listening to SAULT’s catalog of work, it’s clear the group puts its collective and collaborative spirit center stage.
There’s no clearly defined lead singer, with an undefinable number of voices singing melody, harmonies, and backing vocals, often in a loosely choral setting. Neo-soul and R&B songs are frequently filled with distinct chatter under the music, spoken words and dozens of instruments ranging from synth, keyboards and guitar to all kinds of percussion and violins.
2. They primarily work with one producer
While the group members choose to remain anonymous, one name can be found in the liner notes of each of SAULT’s albums: Inflo, the award-winning producer who’s also worked with the likes of Michael Kiwanuka, Little Simz, Tom Odell, and Cleo Soul. Last year alone, the influential producer (born Dean Josiah Cover) took home the UK’s Mercury Prize for Album of the Year (for producing Kiwanuka’s eponymous third album) and the coveted Ivor Novello Award for Best Album (for co-writing Little Simz’s Grey Area).
3. They dropped not one, but two incredibly timely albums in 2020
SAULT spent 2020 unveiling two moving and powerful bodies of work: Untitled (Black Is) arrived first on Juneteenth, Untitled (Rise) followed almost exactly three months later on September 18th. Both coursed with themes of Black liberation, Black protest, and Black joy, providing an apt soundtrack as the world marched to protest the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement dominated headlines throughout the summer.
4. They’ve collaborated with both big names and virtual unknowns
Thanks to their connection with Inflo, the collective have teamed up with a handful of other artists over the years — most notably Michael Kiwanuka on “Bow” from Untitled (Black Is) and Little Simz on “You From London” off Nine. The group only has two other credited guests across their entire discography: Laureforette Josiah, the founder of a North London children’s charity who happens to be the aunt of Leona Lewis, on Untitled (Black Is) spoken-word interlude “This Generation” and Michael Ofo, who recalls the memory of finding out his dad had been murdered on Nine interlude “Mike’s Story.”
5. Their 2021 album Nine no longer exists
Nine dropped in June 2021, then was scrubbed from the internet forever after 99 days. In a cryptic Instagram post ahead of its release, the group revealed the album would only be available for digital download and on streaming for a limited window of time. Like, very limited. “Nine will only exist for ninety nine days,” SAULT’s stark post warned, sharing that the LP was also available on vinyl. Now that it’s been taken down from digital services, only fans who copped a physical copy are able to enjoy the music.