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Test-Pitting with Zoë Strachan

Zoë Strachan and I had a two-week residency at Glasgow Project Room in April/May 2022.

In our residency we were engaging in a process of ‘test-pitting’ to develop new work around themes of excavation as a means of opening an aperture onto fragile lines of connection between inner and outer landscapes.

In archaeology a test-pit is a trial, a delving in to reveal layers, fragments of artefacts, the potential of a site of enquiry. It enables a snapshot of composition and decomposition, of life cycle and decay in the earth. Grids and tracing map the process.

We shared some work-in-progress at the end of the residency in an event that included an informal performance and Q+A chat.

Zoë and I have an ongoing collaboration making sound art works and experimental radio combining newly written and found text, composed sound, field recordings, found sound, voice and improvisation.

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Salt Cellar | Zoë Strachan

Salt Cellar is an experimental radio work. Zoë Strachan and I first performed Salt Cellar as a live-to-air broadcast on Radiophrenia, 11th February 2022, in the Creative Lab at the CCA Glasgow.

Programme Note

What is a prompt? It’s an inciting, a bringing forth, an augury, an urge, a bringing to light. In this live to broadcast performance, Nichola Scrutton and Zoë Strachan employ a cootie catcher (also known as a salt cellar) to provoke a series of discreet but interlinked improvisations based on texts, photographs and physical objects. Thus they seek to enact an archaeology of embodied memory within the palimpsest of a time-limited performance space.  

Zoë and I collaborate to make sound art/experimental radio combining newly written and found text, composed sound, field recordings, found sound, voice and improvisation.

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Memory | Dream | Encounter Micro-Commissions

In another thread of my Night Vision research and development, I responded to the main text through a series of improvised drawings. I photographed fragments of the larger drawings in process and used the images as a prompt, a connecting point, a spring board for dialogue.

In a series of micro-commissions, I invited composers/sound artists Ruth Wiesenfeld, Elisabetta Senesi, Dafna Naphtali, Julia Drouhin and Claire Docherty to create miniature sound compositions using the visual prompts. The umbrella title is Memory | Dream | Encounter. The sound compositions stand alone as individual works and as a collection.

On 31st August 2021 the six composers met in a virtual gathering to listen together, discuss the works and creative process. The collection of works were first broadcast on Radiophrenia at 9pm on 13th February 2022.

Many thanks indeed to:

Claire Docherty – Pulse dream fragment For Una MacGlone (bass) & Emma Roche (flute) (3’23)
Dafna Naphtali- Striations (3′)
Elisabetta Senesi – Under the Surface (3’50)
Julia Drouhin – Mer4 (3’50)
Nichola Scrutton – Gestures (3’44)
Ruth Wiesenfeld – the wool from which the ribbons were made (3’54)

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Giant Tank Pot Luck at Tusk TV

I was delighted to be invited into a duo with Manuel Padding for Giant Tank’s Pot Luck, which was aired on TUSK TV on 6th August 2021. Big thanks to Manuel, and to Ali and Collette for hosting – connect to Giant Tank on their FB page – Giant Tank Facebook

Our duo track is available as part of TUSK Editions #5 – download the album at TUSK Festival’s TUSK Editions Bandcamp.

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Sonic Bothy Updates July 2021

New Work

Sonic Bothy Ensemble produced a new digital work Verbaaaaatum for Tectonics Festival 2021. The festival was online for a month and hosted a fantastic array of digital and streamed music/sound performances. View the archive of the 2021 Tectonics Festival online at Tectonics Glasgow 2021

Hats off to Claire and all at Sonic Bothy for how everything has continued to grow and develop since the first lockdown hit in March 2020. In spite of the challenges, we’ve being actively involved in staying creatively connected to participants/musicians and producing new work, and it’s a joy.

Scottish Awards for New Music

Exciting that Sonic Bothy was shortlisted for The RCS Award for Education/Community Project at New Music Scotland. The awards were announced in an online event in July 2021 – congratulations to the winners. Read more about the category and shortlisted projects here…The RCS Award for Education/Community Project

Sonic Bothy Ensemble Album Fields

Sonic Bothy Ensemble’s debut album Fields is still available at Bandcamp in hard copy and digital formats…

https://sonicbothy.bandcamp.com/album/fields

More Information

For more information on Sonic Bothy Ensemble, and all the charity’s activities, please visit Sonic Bothy’s website.

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Drawing Correspondence Pilot Program

I was thrilled to be one of ten artists selected for the pilot of the Drawing Correspondence Program. The Program was developed and facilitated by artists / educators Anita Taylor, Chloe Briggs and Tania Kovats. In addition, we were fortunate to have guest artists to share and discuss practice.

The intensive six-week development period had an umbrella theme of Grow. Regular self-directed drawing practice was focused through an exciting range of activities and investigations, live online drawing classes, one-to-one and group discussion, sharing and presentations.

We produced a publication at the end of the Program – 10 Letters and 10 Drawings – initially published on Issuu, with a physical publication to follow. Link to Issuu publication

A huge thanks to all on the journey.

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Magnetic North Book – Restless Explorations

Lovely to receive this book Restless Explorations in the post – Magnetic North celebrating 21 years. Congratulations!

The book contains details of all their work & commissions by artists they have collaborated with.

I was delighted to be invited to make a contribution. I feel very fortunate to have support for work-in-progress Night Vision, which I initially developed through a Rough Mix Residency in 2019.

The commissioned image is called On Route and re-presents ideas from that development.

Limited Edition copies are available at the Magnetic North website

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Up Closeness | Zoë Strachan

Zoë Strachan and I continue our exploration of performing live experimental radio artwork. Up Closeness is a dialogue between two green urban spaces, a close look at the local. An attempt to find small connections amid the dislocation from everyday life. Field recordings and voice sounds are combined with found and composed text to animate distinct temporal spaces. Live improvisation and embedded writing practice enact a mimetic re-inhabiting of space.

We first performed Up Closeness as a live broadcast at Radiophrenia Glasgow on 20th November 2020 in CCA Glasgow.

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Stolen Voices at CCA

stolen voices nichola scrutton 1
Photo © Alan Davidson

stolen voices nichola scrutton 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Necessary Notes: A Vocal Response  – solo performance as part of the Stolen Voices album launch on 8th February 2020.

Review

“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)

Read the full review by Lorna Irvine.

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 of Edinburgh. Many thanks to Rebecca and Johanna for the invitation. More info about the event at  CCA Stolen Voices.

 

 

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Sonic Bothy Updates March 2020

Sonic Bothy Ensemble at TUSK Festival 2019

Performances

Sonic Bothy Ensemble Platform
SBE at Platform Glasgow (image © Brian Hartley/Sonic Bothy)

Sonic Bothy Ensemble enjoyed wonderful performances at TUSK Festival in October 2019 (photo above © Sonic Bothy) and at Platform Glasgow in December 2019.

Gateshead Jazz Festival – Covid-19 affected

Tectonics Festival – Covid-19 affected

Sonic Bothy Ensemble had two very exciting performances in the pipe-line – one in late March at The Sage, Gateshead for Gateshead Jazz Festival and one in early May at Tectonics, Old Fruitmarket. Unfortunately both were cancelled or postponed due to lockdown.

Meanwhile Sonic Bothy has resumed some rehearsals online. More news about future events will follow as and when available.

Performance Anxiety Research Project

Since September 2019 I have been Lead Artist on the development of Sonic Bothy’s Performance Anxiety Project, along with Creative Director Claire Docherty (Project Manager) and Malcy Duff who works with Bothy Learning Space (Support Artist). At the core of the project was a series of exploratory workshops, co-led with Malcy. The project aims, through direct experience in workshops, consultation and research, to increase awareness and create resources to support musicians with an ALSN in any aspect of performance anxiety and associated issues. The project has been detailed in an extensive research report, written up at the end of the practical work.

Sonic Bothy Ensemble Album Fields

Sonic Bothy Ensemble’s debut album Fields is still available at Bandcamp in hard copy and digital formats…

More Information

For more information on Sonic Bothy Ensemble, and all the charity’s activities, please visit Sonic Bothy’s website.

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Sonic Bothy Updates Oct 2019

Review – Sonic Bothy Ensemble: Immediate Buzz Shift, CCA, Glasgow

Image © Brian Hartley

 

“Part of the wonder of Sonic Bothy is that each night is individual as a finger print. So it is with Immediate Buzz Shift.” (The Tempohouse)

Read the SBE CCA Review

Performances

Sonic Bothy Ensemble are next performing at TUSK Festival at The Sage in Gateshead, which is very exciting! We’ll be in Hall 2 at 7:10pm on Sunday 13th October 2019.

In June 2019 we had a fantastic time performing at the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery…Also in June we also had  a wonderful time recording some new work in the studio at Gorbals Sound, Glasgow.

Sonic Bothy Ensemble Debut Album

Sonic Bothy Ensemble’s debut album Fields is available at Bandcamp…

More Information

For more information on Sonic Bothy Ensemble, and all the charity’s activities, please visit Sonic Bothy’s website.

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Radio Play | Ian Spink

Radio Play, Unfix Festival

Delighted to be working with Ian Spink, Aya Kobayashi, Skye Reynolds, Selina Boyack and Stella Boyack to develop Radio Play. The immediate focus was a scratch performance for UNFIX Festival 2019. Here’s more info about the event on Sunday 31st March at CCA Glasgow Scratch Night. We re-visited the work for Batch2 Festival In August 2019.

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Residency at Q-O2 in Brussels

Q-O2 residency
Portrait photo © Wendy Kirkup.

I was delighted to be selected for a residency at Q-O2 in Brussels for two weeks May/June 2019. See more info at Q-O2. Part of my priority was to reflect on Night Vision – a new work-in-progress originally developed at Rough Mix Residency with Magnetic North Theatre Company. While I was there I also made some recordings, explored some visual artwork as an extension of the Night Vision text and, and gave an improvised performance with cellist Arnold Noid Haberl as part of a public sharing at the Q-O2 space.

Many thanks indeed to all at Q-O2!

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Rays & Correlations | Zoë Strachan

Zoë Strachan and I created Rays & Correlations  for a live broadcast from the Radiophrenia studio on 15th May 2019. This is our third collaborative radio artwork. Previous works are In Transit and Static Flux. 

Rays & Correlations

Inspired by the patterns of cosmic ray interactions in a cloud chamber, we imagine the myriad signals and attempts at communication that might enter a sphere and intersect, cluster, miss or fade away. Rays & Correlations is a voice-focused improvised performance with layers of interactive soundscape.

The listener is invited to find a thread to hold onto amid interweaving sparse and dense streams of words and evocations – and to decide whether the sound space is literal, as inside a kind of radome, or metaphorical – representing any individual consciousness trying to make sense of human connection.

 

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Sonic Bothy Updates April 2019

Sonic Bothy Ensemble Performances

The next performance is at CCA, Glasgow on 26th April 2019. More details at Sonic Bothy’s Facebook page.

Article in The List magazine

Sonic Bothy article The List

Read the article at the link below…

https://www.list.co.uk/article/107892-sonic-bothy-aims-to-explore-glasgows-new-and-experimental-music-scene-as-a-source-of-dialogue-and-inspiration/

Review of SBE Album at Scots Whae Hae

Sonic Bothy album review Scots Whae Hae

Here’s a link to the review online – scroll down the page to find Sonic Bothy’s album write up…

Scots Whae Hae New Musical Success

More Information

For more information on Sonic Bothy Ensemble, and all the charity’s activities, please visit Sonic Bothy’s website.

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Co-commission – Outspoken Arts

Love Street – The Musical

Love Street Paisley ExpressMartin O’Connor and I collaborated once again  on a co-commission from Outspoken Arts Scotland. We were invited to develop a proposal for a  new theatre production in Paisley called Love Street – The Musical. We spent two months  out and about visiting organisations and gathering stories from people in Paisley who have memories and connections to Love Street.

Love Street research
Research at Paisley Heritage Centre

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Sonic Bothy Ensemble Album Launch

Sonic Bothy inclusive new music ensemble I work with launched its debut album Fields with a performance at Mono in Glasgow on 28th February 2019.  The album was recorded near the end of 2017 at Riverside Studios. Read more at Lost Art Agency and at Glasgow City Music Tours…The album is available at Bandcamp.

More Information

For more information on Sonic Bothy Ensemble, and all the charity’s activities, please visit Sonic Bothy’s website.

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Night Vision – a body of work

Night Vision Nichola Scrutton

Night Vision (working title) is a body of work in development.

The starting point was a series of texts captured in the middle of the night lying down in a semi-conscious state over a two-year period (2017-19). This was a new approach for me as a composer.

Many thanks to writer Em Strang – an early reader of a random, unfiltered selection of the texts. Em’s generous response gave me encouragement to trust my instincts in pursuing the work. 

Early inquiries focused on investigating the text, making selections and initial thoughts about how to interact with the texts in performance.  In 2019, I had the opportunity to explore those seed ideas in a Magnetic North Rough Mix Residency. The work-in-progress was aired in a public performance at Perth Theatre, Scotland.

2021 Developments

I am delighted to say  that in early 2021 I was awarded Creative Scotland funding to develop the next phase of the project over a six month period. A few threads are now unfolding, including a more substantial ensemble work for performance (which takes the title Night Vision), as well as a solo recording project, drawings/visual compositions, and micro-commissions. 

I will link to more information here in the coming months, and I’m posting occasional updates on social media – you can connect there too if it’s of interest, details are on the Contact page…

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Sonic Bothy Updates 2018

181105 Sonic Bothy Diagonal JoyPerformance

Sonic Bothy Ensemble and Bothy Learning Space joined forces for some intensive rehearsals and a big performance, Diagonal Joy, in the Recital Room at City Halls in November 2018.

NominationSonic Bothy ISME 2016 at RCS photo © SB

Everyone’s excited that Sonic Bothy inclusive new music ensemble has been nominated for a Scottish Award For New Music.

More Information

For more information on Sonic Bothy Ensemble, and all the charity’s activities, please visit Sonic Bothy’s website.

 

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When Night Comes

When Night Comes 4When Night Comes 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

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”.

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Static Flux at Hidden Door Festival

Static Flux 2 Nichola and Zoë

Zoë Strachan and I performed Static Flux at the Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh on 29th May 2018.

Hidden Door Festival:  hiddendoorblog.org
Our FB page: FB event page

Static Flux is a sonic seance! In this spoken word/sound piece Zoë and I are exploring narrative and time through chance encounters with remnants, fragments and the ephemera of past lives. The performance was originally created for a live studio broadcast for Radiophrenia in 2017.

Hidden Door brings lost Leith venues to life with 2018 line-up