This short video contains some taster clips of sound compositions created for Martin O’Connor’s The Mark of the Beast in 2018.
Following the CD release in 2014, a back-issue of framework:seasonal issue #7, winter 2014 is now available on Framework Radio bandcamp page.
My composition Post-Industrial Broadcast #1 features in a compilation of thirteen tracks from some wonderful artists.
Many thanks to Patrick Tubin McGinley.
The Mark of the Beast gets a ***** review
Presented by Martin O’Connor and Platform
Written and Performed by Martin O’Connor
With Nichola Scrutton and the North East Recovery Community
Platform, Easterhouse 13th-15th April
The Scottish Storytelling Centre 19th April
Inspired by Glasgow and its relationship with alcohol and addiction, Martin’s latest poetry performance The Mark of the Beast explores society through a prism of morality, temptation and family attitudes towards the ‘demon drink,’ and is performed in Martin’s recognisable blend of Scots and song, shot through with religious references and imagery.
The performance includes sound design created by Nichola Scrutton featuring personal experiences of alcohol addiction from members of the North East Recovery Community.
Martin O’Connor – Writer and Performer
Nichola Scrutton – Composition/Sound Design
Fergus Dunnet – Set Design
Hana Allen – Stage Management
Davie Green – Lighting Design
Alan McKendrick – Directing Support
Eoin Carey – Image and Production Photography
Theatre Review – The Herald
The Mark Of The Beast
Platform, The Bridge, Glasgow
“Whit ye huvin?” The voice has a chirrupy geniality to it: pure Glesca’ camraderie. “Ur ye huvin’ a drink or no?” The camaraderie is now teetering on the querulous, the aggressive even. Offence is on the verge of being taken, here. Minutes into this pithy, comedic, often harrowing monologue about various shades of alcohol addiction, writer/performer Martin O’Connor has wheeched us inside a pub, and into the core shorthand of belonging – of being a mate, a part of a community – that is inherent in the offer of a pint.
One pint… unseen voices chip in with memories of the wee swally that first introduced them – often, as far back as childhood – to the compulsive disorder of getting totally blootered. The recorded voices belong to Glasgow’s North-East Recovery Community: mixed into Nichola Scrutton’s chorale-cum-sound design, they will add personal witness to O’Connor’s tangy, savvy progress through the cumulative effects of long-term alcohol abuse. There’s the bilious heartburn of self-loathing, the upsurge of resolve – “Ah’m affit..” – and the lonely isolation of battling your demons when your pals remain in the boozer.
There’s a graphically vicious section when a posse of well-dressed lads become a pack of drunken thugs, relentlessly kicking a total stranger
just because… because he was there. It all sounds, feels, pungently real.
O’Connor’s talent for morphing social documentation into a bravura prose-poem pivots merrily on the rhythms of everyday Glesca’ patois, but – back-lit by designer Fergus Dunnet’s row of stained glass windows – he offsets the gallus patter with the soaring fire and brimstone of biblical texts, juggling revelations and hallucinations in a linguistic cocktail of those abiding havens: bevvy and religion. We laugh a lot, because O’Connor understands bathos but he never mocks the alcohol-afflicted, or diminishes their trials in what is a truly exceptional piece of work.
The Mark of the Beast is a collaboration with writer/theatre-maker Martin O’Connor that explores issues/ideas around alcohol and addiction in Glasgow.
Between November 2015 to March 2016, Martin and I undertook a period of research and development, commissioned by GEAC Platform-to-Health and GRAND (Getting Real About Alcohol n Drugs). Working with the North East Recovery Community.
At that time, I composed a sound installation Good Days Bad Days, incorporating the many voices/stories of participant’s experiences. For The Mark of the Beast, I re-visited and re-composed that material for Martin’s live solo show.
13th – 15th April, Platform, Glasgow
19th April Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh
Vernon & Burns -collaboration
Exploring the Unknown is a performance collaboration with Vernon & Burns, initially created for this lovely event in Glasgow produced by Sonically Depicting.
Have a listen to some Vernon & Burns on SoundCloud.
Wave Shift – Radiophrenia
Source sounds for the work include voice, hydrophone and other field recordings captured during my Sura Medura Residency in Sri Lanka.
Collaboration as composer/sound designer with writer/theatre-maker Martin O’Connor on his solo show Togail Nàisean/Building a Nation. We toured as part of a double bill with Aisling Oidhche Meadhan Samhraidh/A Midsummer Nights Dream and had a performance at Tramway, Glasgow in 2018. Read more about it at Martin’s website here.
Isle of Mull
Sura Medura Exhibition
A Sura Medura exhibition is running from 21st April to 19th May 2017 at The Briggait in Glasgow. The exhibition includes a range of work by artists who have been artist-in-residence at Sura Medura in Sri Lanka.
Wave Shift, a new work made in collaboration with artist and illustrator Natasha Russell, is premiered as part of the Sura Medura exhibition. Read more about Wave Shift
Wave Shift was originally an experimental audiovisual collaboration with artist and illustrator Natasha Russell in response to the ideas and situations we encountered on the UZ Arts Sura Medura Residency in Sri Lanka. Natasha and I were in residence from October – December 2016, along with Sumit Sarkar and other visiting artists. Following the installation I re-worked Wave Shift into a stand alone composition.
During our post-residency collaboration, Natasha and I became interested in the way an understanding of the experience of a place shifts over time, between people, even at the drop of a hat. We decided to weave decaying memories, slippery facts and shifting folklores through sound and print to form a portable set that melts place and atmosphere into an imaginary landscape.
Integrating with the structure and printed visual landscape of the set, the Wave Shift audio component plays out into the space as an immersive, abstract, evocative soundscape composition. Source materials for the work included a selection of field recordings captured during the residency and vocal sound recordings. Both the main thread of sound that underpins the work, composed with a series of hydrophone recordings, and the form, which unfolds as a series of wave-like emergences, draw on myriad notions of water as a bridge between real and fictional landscapes.
Sura Medura Exhibition, The Briggait, Glasgow
Sura Medura Exhibition, Summerhall, Edinburgh