Nathaniel Robin Mann is a “troubled folk” singer, songwriter and sound designer specialising in ambisonic recording techniques. Although still perhaps best known as one third of avant-folk explorers Dead Rat Orchestra, he has been writing and performing as a solo artist for several years in the guise of animateddog. His work draws inspiration from the European and American folk traditions and his shows are as likely to feature the stark a capella rendition of a Child ballad as the happy hewing of a log to the beat of a Spanish work song.
Mann spent 20 months as composer-in-residence at Oxford Contemporary Music and the Pitt Rivers Museum, where he developed projects inspired by the collection, including Pigeon Whistles and Rough Music. Pigeon Whistles was included as part of OCM’s Audible Forces tour in 2013 and won the George Butterworth Prize for composition in 2015.
He has collaborated with artists from around the globe, including award-winning folk musicians Sam Lee and Lisa Knapp, and the ex-Gurkhas of the 1st Naumati Baja Gulmi UK, with whom he formed the Nepali and English Joint Traditional Musical Band in 2017. In March 2018, his travels took him deep into the Brazilian rainforest, to Xingu National Park (near Cuiabá), where he recorded music with the Wauja indigenous community, for whom music plays an integral part of society and culture.
In 2018, Mann won the Arts Foundation 25th Anniversary Award for his multi-disciplinary work.
“Chopping tuned cleavers into wood blocks, fashioning a collection of dried fruits into buzzing instruments, and abseiling down pitch-black cliff faces to record the sounds of a guga hunting community. Nathaniel Robin Mann is a spectacularly creative and diverse musician and artist.” – Reel 2 Real
“Subverting the stolid conservatism that has come to be associated with much of today’s folk music and reconstructing it from the ground up.” – The Quietus
“A beardy folkie.” – The Guardian