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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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Radiophrenia and Mobile Radio

Mobile Radio residency – Glasgow Calling Scale
In collaboration with Radiophrenia and the Goethe Institut Glasgow ‘Mobile Radiophrenia’ is a cultural exchange and radio residency that will result in five new live broadcast works. The artist duo Mobile Radio (Sarah Washington & Knut Aufermann) from Ürzig in Germany have been invited over to work with five Glasgow based artists or artist duos on an intensive daily collaboration that culminates in a live radio performance at 5pm each day. The performances have been devised within the following framework:

Mobile Radio residency – Glasgow Calling Scale live with Nichola Scrutton – 17 February 2022  5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

‘Glasgow Calling Scale: a verbal response series in five parts’
There are five grades starting with the most musical:

Mon 14th Feb – No verbal response
Eothen Stearn, Lady Neptune, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington.

Tues 15th Feb – Incomprehensible sounds
Elina Bry, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington.

Weds 16th Feb – Inappropriate words
Cindy Islam, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington.

Thurs 17th Feb – Confused
Nichola Scrutton, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington.

Fri 18th Feb – Oriented
Rebecca Wilcox, Hannah Ellul, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington.

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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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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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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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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

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Rough Breathing | Alex South

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.

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Sonic Bothy Inclusive New Music

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

 

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Static Flux | Zoë Strachan

Zoë and Nichola

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.

Radiophrenia 2017
Static Flux
 
focuses 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.

 

 

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Sonic Bothy Updates 2017

Sonic Bothy Review

Sonic Bothy Glass-instruments
Photo courtesy of Sonic Bothy.

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 recording 1

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.

Sonic Bothy Ensemble, Sound Festival

Performances include: Recital Rooms, City Halls, Glasgow, Mono, Glasgow, CCA, Glasgow, UNLIMITED, Tramway, Glasgow, ISME conference, RCS, Glasgow, SOUND Festival, Aberdeen, Atelier Public #2, GoMA, Glasgow, Counterflows Festival, The Glad Café, Glasgow

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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Sura Medura Moving Out

Moving Out Sura Medura 2016

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.

Listening Post Sabda Saha Pintura

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.

 

 

Sudu - Tuk Tuk Tour Driver

Tuk Tuk TourDuring 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.

Samson and Nichola Moving Out 1Samson and Nichola Moving Out 2

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.