Searching, Erskine //
Searching, Erskine is an ongoing project comprised of conversation, field recordings, poetry, text, and sound collage which respond to the uninhabited tidal island of Vallay, North Uist. A full album with accompanying artworks is forthcoming via Blackford Hill Audio, and ‘The Old Dictaphone’ is available on their Bandcamp compilation ‘Test Transmissions’.
This is a project about ruins, land, memory, and the intersections in between. In 1905, antiquarian, industrialist, and pioneering archaeologist Erskine Beveridge built a Georgian mansion on Vallay in order to excavate prehistoric duns and finish his book North Uist. The mansion gradually fell into disrepair after Erskine’s son, George Beveridge, drowned in 1944 while crossing the tidal strand; leaving no heir nor work for the small population of crofters, groundsmen, and housekeepers who departed the island shortly after.
Arun’s grandmother (gaga), Katie MacNaughton, was one of the last islanders to leave, and these song tapestries locate his family story in a palimpsest of cultural, natural, and historical layers that comprise the now uninhabited island. The channelling of voices, original music, oral histories, spectral sounds, and field recordings from the island allow for soundscapes that transcend spatio-temporal limitations, and offers a way into thinking about the terrain and mythogeography of Vallay.
And Arun Sood’s “The Old Dictaphone” - the gem of the batch....A combination of spoken word, field recording and gentle music, the piece is the aural reflection of Sood’s article in Oscillations, bursting with the nostalgia of old photographs and prose memories. We really want an album.