Songs for a Stranger is a collection or cycle of five electroacoustic works that draws metaphorical inspiration from the many senses of the word ‘stranger’.
Everyone feels like a stranger sometimes – when travelling somewhere new; returning home; confronting solitude. Some feel estranged in close intimacy; others find connection through anonymity.
Songs for a Stranger movements:
i A Fragile Memory (4’40)
ii Blowing In (5′)
iii Solitude? (4’26)
iv I Said You Said (5′)
v In the Midst (4’39)
The piece was premiered in the intimate ‘dark space’ at The Arches LIVE! Festival in September 2011, performed and diffused over a 4-channel speaker system. Vocal performance: me and Céline Hänni. Sound diffusion: Graeme Truslove. Many thanks indeed to the staff at The Arches.
Songs for a Stranger was further supported by a Creative Scotland Quality Arts Production Award.
**** Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman 23/0911, Arches Live!, Glasgow
……And down at the rough end of the basement, in a bare tunnel of a room, there’s composer Nichola Scrutton’s Songs For A Stranger, a 25-minute piece that moves beyond the limits of language into five segments of abstract electronic sound, accompanied by the increasingly fierce and brilliant vocal improvisations of Scrutton and her performing partner, Celine Hanni. There’s a central moment of meditation – titled Solitude – that recalls the deep resonances of Tibetan chant; then a final, shattering visit to what sounds like a dying rainforest, as a fierce richness of animal sound gives way to crackling cataclysm, and the soft, low sigh of a final breath….
*** Mary Brennan, The Herald (“…as a live performance, full of vertiginous vocal techniques, it was always impressive…”)
2014 Selected Artist, Voix Brutes Vol II, Audition Records, Berlin (v: in the midst)
2012 Basic.fm, broadcast by Pixel.Palace, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (v: in the midst)
2011 The Arches LIVE! Festival, Glasgow