Wave Shift is an immersive soundscape composition. Source materials for the work include a selection of field recordings captured during an artist residency with UZ Arts at Sura Medura in Sri Lanka, and vocal sound recordings. Wave Shift was originally composed for a collaborative installation with artist/printmaker Natasha Russell, and then subsequently recomposed as this shorter standalone work.
Wave Shift Released in 2019
Wave Shift was the first release in August 2019 in the new season South Asia PhoNographic Mornings as part of the soundscape project Each Morning of the Worldproduced by Stéphane Marin in France on BandCamp. All donations from the project go to the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE). Many thanks indeed to Stéphane for inviting me to contribute the track, record the voice intro and outro for the season’s radio broadcasts each week, and the album artwork.
Necessary Notes: A Vocal Response – solo performance as part of the Stolen Voices album launch on 8th February 2020.
“Nichola Scrutton is, as ever, an absolute wonder- her voice can disarm, charm and bewitch….She takes the listener into otherwordly realms, an uncertain space between sleep and consciousness.” (The Tempohouse)
The album launch was part of a creative research project by Rebecca Collins and Johanna Linsley – more here. The event forms part of ‘The Sonic Study Series: Act I Sonic Practice’ and is a pop-up event for the Festival of Creative Learning 2020, University ofEdinburgh. Many thanks to Rebecca and Johanna for the invitation. More info about the event at CCA Stolen Voices.
From the archive – Bruised was my first solo performance work, made in the early 1990s as part of a collaborative project Segami Dance Company with New Zealand performer Hugh Major. Read more at Segami. I am currently going through archive materials to see what remains from that time.
Night Vision (working title) is an interdisciplinary performance project.
The starting point was a series of non-narrative texts and drawings captured in the middle of the night lying down in a semi-conscious state. This was a new approach for me.
Early inquiries focused on selection and how to interact with the texts. What happens when these words and symbols are given voice, off the page? In 2019, initial ideas were explored in a Magnetic North Rough Mix Residency including a public performance at Perth Theatre.
The work is now in the next phase of development. More information to follow…
When Night Comes was a solo performance created in dialogue with Wendy Kirkup’s film from a score (2017). In the film I perform Berio’s Sequenza III for solo voice. After Wendy’s films were selected to be screened at the 5th Edition of the Beton 7 Festival in Athens, Greece in 2018, I was invited to perform at the opening as a response to the film prior to the screening on the opening night of the festival. My improvised performance drew inspiration and gestures from both my knowledge of Berio’s score and the compositional and material aesthetic of the film itself. The title is a play on a fragment of text from Berio’s score – “before night comes”.
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 Shiftinto a stand alone composition.
During our post-residency collaboration, Natasha and I were 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 with the set, my Wave Shift audio was projected into the space as an immersive, abstract, evocative soundscape. 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 underpinned the work, composed with a series of hydrophonerecordings, 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.
The installation was exhibited in 2017 at Sura Medura Exhibition, The Briggait, Glasgow and then Summerhall, Edinburgh
The final stage of our residency was focused on preparing for our Moving Out event. The other artists involved were Natasha Russell, Sumit Surkar, Samson Ogiamien, and Rose Staff. On the day, we were thrilled to have a big local crowd join us, and delighted that many people came down from the Colombo Biennale and the University Faculty of Visual and Performing Arts to join us for some or all of the time.
Overall, the day at Sunbeach was a wonderful combination of visual art, sound, sculpture, video, performance, people, food, beer, Arrack sour, sea, sand, laughing, chatting, sharing…and cake (what a fabulous day for a birthday!). In our exhibition, which combined some finished elements and work-in-progress, my sound work Sabda saha Pintura was available as a headphone installation.
The title Sabda saha Pintura means sound and picture in Sinhalese – through much discussion this seemed to be the most apt translation for the collage idea I was working with in the piece. Exploring differences in the English/Sinhalese languages was very intriguing – how or in what way metaphors or concepts translate, for example, sound, soundscape, landscape, environment.
During the afternoon an audiovisual tuk tuk tour was running – a collaboration between Natasha (Russell) and me. Three people at a time could hop into Sudu’s tuk tukand take a short round trip to visit Natasha’s work in local shops accompanied by my soundtrack.
The soundtrack combined recordings I gathered from those shopkeepers introducing themselves and their businesses, shop sounds, etc – the general store, jewellers, barbers, a fruit and veg stall. I also recorded an introduction to the tour in Sinhalese, with pronunciation help from folk at Sunbeach. Big thanks to Sudu and Chinthaka for running the tours.
Early evening, I accompanied Samson Omiagien with some live vocals for his performance piece with sculpture, which we had rehearsed in the lead up to the event. The evening finished with a fantastic Sri Lankan curry banquet.
Big thanks to Neil and all at UZ Arts, Chaminda, Chathura, Hasantha, Kari and all at Sunbeach, Maria and Jack, my fellow artists-in-residence, everyone I met.
Sabda saha Pintura is a sound collage composed on site during the six-week Sura Medura residency with UZ Arts in Sri Lanka using a selection of field recordings captured early in the residency. Repetition and fast cut edits try at the same time to capture something of the sensory experience on arrival in Hikkaduwa and reveal detail in a dense sound world. Sabda saha Pintura had its first airing as a headphone installation at Moving Out for the Colombo Art Biennale in November 2016.
I was thrilled to be selected for a six-week Sura Medura residency with UZ Arts from October to December 2016. The Sura Medura residency on this occasion was being hosted in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. My fellow artists were Natasha Russell and Sumit Sarkar, and two other artists arrived later in the residency – Martin Janicek and Samson Ogiamien. Early experience after arrival was a whirlwind of sensations and there was definitely a process of settling into Sunbeach and adjusting – heat, humidity, sounds, smells, surf, swimming, dogs, jungle, mozzies, food, walks, and meeting many warm friendly folk along the way sharing experiences, tips and ideas.
As part of the residency we travelled to Colombo and gave presentations to staff and students in the University Faculty of Visual and Performing Arts in week 3. That was a really good day – as well as meeting people, we were fortunate to be shown round all the art departments then had lunch before travelling back.
Thinking about soundscapes
The sound environment is generally very dense and I spent quite a bit of time actively listening and drawing.The area has two main aspect – beach and jungle – and each has its own distinct soundscape. On the beach side the sea roars continuously as the surf thunders in and on the jungle side the air is thick with heat, bird song, massive trees rustling and people going about their daily lives. A railway line runs between the two through much of the area and regular trains, horns and bells punctuate the air. In the mix are a whole rich array of sounds – the hollering voices of people selling at markets and on the street, the honking and revving of huge buses overtaking other vehicles at breakneck speed (treacherous), thunderstorms and torrential rain, intermittent firework eruptions, the bread, fish and other vans making melodic announcements and so on. I created two soundscape pieces – Sabda saha Pintura and Wave Shift.
In week five we hosted a Moving Out public event at Sunbeach as part of the Colombo Art Biennale, which was a big success. And actually it was on my birthday so an extra cake was involved at the end of the night. Read a bit more info on that at Moving Out. Finally, we had a trip up to Colombo for the opening of the Biennale. I also had been invited to perform/score a film clip at the opening as part of Video Jam. More info on that at Video Jam…
Huge thanks to Neil and all at UZ Arts, Chaminda, Chathura, Hasantha, Kari and all at Sunbeach, Maria and Jack, my fellow artists-in-residence, everyone I met.