A recording of Songs for a Stranger: (v) in the midst has been selected for the documentary audio compilation Voix Brutes Vol II, which is to be released by Audition Records on 15th May 2014. The focus of the Voix Brutes compilations is the voice in live performance – its extended forms, techniques and possibilities.
More info including the list of selected artists is here.
Word of Mouth is fixed medium work (4′) that uses the human voice as the only sound source. Structurally the piece uses gestural phonemes to project a range of non-linguistic vocal sounds on the breath, which are extended and woven together to evoke metaphorical and spatial associations.
CAAA Centre for Art and Architecture Affairs, Portugal (Fringe Música Viva 2013)
Radio 6: Cafe Sonore, Netherlands (Musica Viva Sound Garden)
France Musique Radio: ‘Electrain de Nuit’, Christian Zanesi (Musica Viva Sound Garden)
Música Viva Festival Sound Garden, Lisbon, Portugal (2012)
RadiaLx, Radio Art Festival / 88.4 FM, Lisbon, Portugal
Lights Out Listening Event, Glasgow
After being awarded my PhD from University of Glasgow I worked as a Teaching Fellow in Music there for two years.
2009-2011 University of Glasgow (Music) Teaching Fellow (0.6 fte)
In brief, areas of work included:
Sonic Arts Levels II and III;
Practice-based Composition Workshops;
Contemporary Music Ensemble;
Lectures in Music and Technology;
Advising UG Dissertations and students on the MLitt in Popular Music Studies (Creative Practice);
First GLEAM concert organiser;
Music Education Project Organiser;
2004-2009 University of Glasgow (Music):
Graduate Teaching Assistant
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
I am very pleased to say that I have received a Creative Scotland Quality Arts Production Award for the development of vocal performance work Songs for a Stranger.
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’. The work was originally created for, and supported by, Arches Live Festival.
The Dwelling Series is a triptych of vocal works. Multiple concepts arising from the notion of the title Dwelling gave rise to an interactive process of improvising and recording with MAXMSP, through which I sought to explore a sense of ‘inhabiting’ the work. As inspiration for generating improvised material under this complex umbrella concept of ‘dwelling’ I used three general metaphors to articulate events or states: dust (essence), cycle (flow/journey) and echo (memory).
The compositional process
The compositional process consisted of creating successive vocal improvisations, which were merged together, fully intact, after each improvisation was captured. Manipulation of the captured improvisations was strictly limited to the editing of gestures and textures in time and space to enhance or magnify relationships/conflicts that emerged by chance as each layer was added.
(i) Dwelling/In Dialogue: studio composition (17′).
(ii) Dwelling/Encounters: pre-composed sound and live performance, in which two live performers merged and improvised with a pre-composed soundtrack projected through multiple loud speakers. Swiss vocalist Céline Hänni and I undertook a short intensive residency to explore extended technique vocal improvisation that culminated in the final performance. (12’30)
(iii) Dwelling/In Reflection: live interactive solo performance (18′)