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Sonic Bothy: Guest blog

Ahead of the launch of their debut album Fields on February 28th we’re delighted to bring you a guest blog written by members of the Sonic Bothy Ensemble. Keep a lookout for our competition to win a copy soon…

Sonic Bothy is an inclusive new music ensemble, based in Glasgow, that explores, composes and performs experimental and contemporary music.

We are a group made up of musicians with additional support needs and experienced musicians who practice in Glasgow’s new music scene. Formed in May 2012, our ensemble was the first inclusive new music ensemble to play and be programmed at many of Scotland’s new music festivals, such as; GIOfest, Sound Festival and Counterflows. In recent years, we have performed regularly in Mono, CCA, and City Halls, sharing our explorative sound and music with audiences.

Sonic Bothy @ Mono. March 2017 Photo: Brian Hartley

This month we are excited to be releasing our debut album, Fields. To celebrate we are holding a launch event in Mono on Thursday 28th February at 7.30pm. Fields was recorded towards the end of an 18 month Creative Scotland-funded project called Space + Listening + Democracy.

It was a great project that allowed us to look at the way we played together as an ensemble, and to really push and expand our musical range by taking in different musical influences and interests of everyone in the ensemble. So for example, some pieces on the album involved exploring warm drones and detailed vocal improv, while others had bursts of free jazz-style energy settling into more contemplative spacious improv. One piece, AGX was inspired by interests in dance music, improvisation and a desire to use glass instruments, which were commissioned by Edinburgh Glass artist Carrie Fertig. This actually turned out to be quite contemplative as a piece in some places! The first piece 3 Degrees Kelvin We Drift is more atmospheric.

Photo by Brian Hartley

We have an unusual instrumental line-up that has grown quite a lot in recent years! Along side traditional instruments such as piano, voice, percussion, clarinet or violin, we also incorporate found objects and materials. We have bricks; marbles; a hot dog tin; some metal and wooden bits from a trip to B and Q; some charity shop finds such as china bowls; some parcel tape. We don’t always use traditional instruments traditionally either, but find other ways to play – we try to uncover new sounds all the time.

We acquired a harmonium during a residency as part of GOMA’s Atelier Public 2 project – we put out a public call for instruments for the gallery project, and the harmonium was given to us as part of that. It’s needing a bit of TLC but very beloved by Sonic Bothy.

The album feels like a real achievement by everyone involved. It’s great to be in a group where it’s fine to have a disability and create this music.

The launch is ‘Pay as You Wish’ entry on the door and all are welcome to our relaxed event! We will have our CDs available for purchase and streaming & download services will be launched the same day.

Poster designed by Matthew Walkerdine

This blog post was written by members of the Sonic Bothy Ensemble.

Sonic Bothy is a registered charity. SCIO number: SC046050