Through the Rough Breathing project I have been collaborating with clarinettist Alex South to investigate the role and use of breath as an improvising tool in live performance. Our collaborative exploration to date has focused on a) the psychoacoustic and sonic relationships between voice and clarinet, and b) breath and bodily breathing processes as potential material and/or structural devices within free improvisation. One line of inquiry, for example, centres on how the breath might sculpt the dynamic flow of sound-making in performance.
With early exploratory performances at The Glad Cafe and Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre (many thanks John Cavanagh), the work was further supported and developed through a CCA/AC Projects Residency in the Creative Lab at CCA 2018 and Tectonics Festival 2019.
In 2020, Rough Breathing was shortlisted for the Scottish Awards for New Music Ism Prize for Collaboration.
I am delighted to have been working with Sonic Bothy Ensemble since January 2014. Sonic Bothy was founded by creative director Claire Docherty, and explores, composes and performs experimental and contemporary music.
I post occasional updates – read more in News or click on the Sonic Bothy tag.
For more information on Sonic Bothy Ensemble, and all the charity’s activities, please visit Sonic Bothy’s website
Static Flux is a radio and performance collaboration with writer Zoë Strachan. The work was initially produced as a live studio broadcast for Radiophrenia in 2017 and then subsequently selected for a live performance at Hidden Door Festival 2018.
Static Fluxfocuses on out-of-time memory states, and how they can be both static and in flux. We are interested in exploring narrative and time through chance encounters with remnants, fragments and the ephemera of past lives. Metaphors for our endeavour include the remnants found in second-hand bags and the pockets of clothing, or in notes scribbled on the back of black and white photographs. There is a melancholy air to these things, but as with any kind of haunting, also the potential for fear, and for deeper connections with our own sense of mortality.
Sonic Bothy Ensemble’s first gig of 2017 at Mono in Glasgow gets a wonderful review from The Cusp Magazine. Read the full review here…
Sonic Bothy Ensemble have been in residence at Riverside studios recording tracks for a forth coming album.
Paritor Award – Sonic Bothy was one of several Glasgow Life/City Council partnered projects submitted to the National Music Council Awards, and received the Paritor Award for New Music in Education. Read more about the Paritor Award and other winners at the National Music Council website.
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.
In the final week of the Sura Medura residency we headed up the road for the opening of Colombo Art Biennale in Sri Lanka. I was excited to also have been invited by Shereen Perera to create a live score for the Video Jam event on the opening night. I responded with a solo vocal performance to a beautiful, strange and thoughtful clip of Sri Lankan film-maker Vimukthi Jayasundara’s Light in the Yellow Breathing Space.
Here’s a short clip from the Video Jam at the opening night of the Colombo Art Biennale. The link takes you straight through to the Facebook page of Decibel.lk – a Sri Lankan online news, reviews and events site…just click the image to play…
Thanks to Decibel for that. And big thanks to Shereen Perera for inviting me to score for Video Jam.
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.
At First Lightis a studio composition (8’49). Arising from an ongoing strand of exploration around ideas of ‘ephemeral’, At First Light is a vocal meditation inspired by the play of light at sunrise and a notion that each moment may be filled with the past, present and future. The process of making the piece involved repeated exploration of the material ideas using a simple MAXMSP patch, with the final work being created in a single real-time improvisation. While a version of the piece was ultimately fixed to become At First Light, inherent in the process and the material is an idea of transient evolution – emergence, cycle and decay.