Sam Lee and Llywelyn ap Myrddin


Sam Lee’s olfactory journey began with help from pathologist Dr Laura Casey of University College London Hospital. Undecided about which organ to choose, but with an idea that it would be one connected with the senses, he visited the Gordon Museum and considered both the nose and the eyes as a possible focus.

Having decided on the nose, he met Ear Nose and Throat surgeon Professor Simon Gane (also from University College London Hospital), who was fascinating both on the physiological structure of the nose  – demonstrated via animal snouts in London’s Hunterian Museum, and the connection between our sense of smell and the brain, drawing out the deep neurological connections between smell and memory.  Perfume expert Nick Gilbert gave an insight into the history and complex art of creating scent.

Finally, Dr Darren Logan from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge met Sam and his collaborator composer Llywelyn ap Myrddin to explain his research into the genetics of smell.

Sam says:

“The nose is by far the least understood of all the organs and one of the great of the human science mysteries, This song explores this “archaic nerve” that penetrates our psyche and unconsciousness in magical transportive ways. This original organ has elevated itself to such a lofty position of biological deportment as to become almost unnecessary, yet so rooted in all our judgements socially, sexually, animalistically and atavistically it could be reckoned as the seat of the highest intuition and most advanced of all faculties”