Today I saw Scott Hutchison perform at New Media Scotland, as part of the Festival Detours section of the Edinburgh Art Festival. I suppose that makes it my last true Fringe show of the year, though I’m not glum, because it was a really great performance.
Hutchison’s gig today was not a conventional show in any real sense. It only included him and Grant Hutchison, his bandmate from Frightened Rabbit, on drums for certain parts. This performance was the last in a series called Festival Detours; an initiative during which non-visual artists respond to the primarily visual art installations on display throughout the Art Festival.
Hutchison chose to produce a musical response to a piece by Edinburgh art partnership In The Fields called A Diagram of Floating Stones. It’s primarily about the pollution of oceanic areas, and focuses on the Shetland Islands. I’d be lying through my teeth if I told you I had any real conclusions to draw from the work, but I do feel like there is a similarity between the work of Frightened Rabbit and In The Fields; both often home in on specific locations and bookmark geographical ephemera in their work.
Hutchison’s actual performance was brilliant. Whilst the core of the production was him and his electric guitar, an array of loops and pedals, complete with a couple of stereos and dictaphones playing found sound, allowed him to build up this aural construction, and internal respond to it. Starting with the characteristic chaos of such musical compositions, Hutchison built up an array of sounds, and then proceeded to play with them; using a loop of his guitar playing as a rhythm placemarker, reacting to the recordings of found sound, adding in new elements as the song continued. The sparse lyrics added in at the climax of the song were indistinct amongst so much noise (there was no mike) but sounded soulful enough.
The whole performance was filmed, and that should be put online quite soon – I’ll keep an eye out and make it Song of the Day or something.
I’m pretty pleased I was one of the twenty or so audience members who managed to score a ticket for this event – it was an excellent close to the Fringe, and one of the live highlights of my blogging year. Plus, being in art galleries makes me feel like one of the cool kids.