Sholto Dobie

Sholto Dobie was born in Edinburgh and lives in Vilnius. He uses loose structures and an array of sound-sources including home-made organs and hurdy gurdy. His performances are personal and intuitive, often coming across as delicate, evocative, and absurd.

He has recorded and performed with artists and musicians including Rie Nakajima, Judith Hamann, Lia Mazzari, Shakeeb Abu Hamdan, Mark Harwood, Marja Ahti & Niko Mahti Ahti, Antonina Nowacka, Malvern Brume, Lucia Nimcova and in the group Lo Escucho Lo Pinto.

He has released solo and collaborative music with labels such as Mappa, All Night Flight, Kashual Plastik, Infant Tree, Takuroku, Penultimate Press and Thanet Tape Centre and has toured widely, presenting performances at Cafe Oto (London), Fylkingen (Stockholm), KM28 (Berlin), Himera Festival (Turku), Kraak Festival (Antwerp), Organ Sound Art Festival (Copenhagen), Les Atelier Claus (Brussels), C3 (Milan), Jauna Muzika Festival (Vilnius), Braille Satellite (Lithuania), Counterflows Festival (Glasgow) and Glasgow International.

https://www.instagram.com/sholtodobie/

Featured releases

Very special release from filmmaker Lucia Nimcová and sound artist Sholto Dobie. Highly reccomended.  --- "I first discovered khroniky – Ukranian folk songs – in the Highlands of Scotland. I was watching a screening of Bajka, a mesmerising documentary made by the filmmaker Lucia Nimcová and sound artist Sholto Dobie. I knew nothing about these ballads beforehand, but I was fascinated by these odd, beautiful songs, especially the easy way in which they mixed misery and levity, where gentle melodies blend with tales of dark violence. The folk songs describe hardship, murder, torture, death in gulags, heavy drinking, outsmarting men, love affairs. But they’re often very funny too – many of the songs make fun of marriage, and there’s an amazing subcategory of khroniky songs called potka (vagina) songs.The khroniky have never been properly documented because they were considered too crude, or contained lyrics that were problematic, politically. When Ukrainian folk songs have been archived in the past, it’s normally a sanitised, more polite version of the ones that Lucia remembers from her childhood. Lucia grew up on the other side of the Ukrainian border in Slovakia. She is part of the Rusyn (Ruthenian) minority ethnic group found in the borderlands of Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and Poland. Rusyn is a centuries-old Slavic language, looked down upon as a poor, uneducated dialect by the neighbouring Ukraine and Slovakia. It was forbidden to talk about Rusyn culture at Nimcova’s primary school, but the khroniky stayed in her memories.“I remember weddings when I was young,” says Lucia, who now lives in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. “At the end of the night, when everyone was drunk and the young couple would go around their guests, people would sing in Rusyn. There was singing and dancing, and songs about being in prison or falling in love. I picked up the lyrics and sometimes my mum would make my sister and I sing them for people we met on the train. I was about five or six but the lyrics still come back when I sing to my kids.”Determined that these rich, nuanced, unique songs shouldn’t be forgotten, she decided to record them. Over two years, Lucia, joined by experimental musician Sholto Dobie, visited Rusyn villages high in the Carpathian mountains to rediscover the songs and make the documentary. It was at the beginning of war breaking out in Ukraine in 2014.“The Rusyn community is a very closed one,” explains Lucia. “Sometimes we’d have to wait several days to hear someone sing; we had to earn their trust before they shared something very personal to them. We’d stay up ‘til 5am at a wedding, then go straight to a morning baptism, or collect haystacks with the villagers, hoping they’d sing while they were working.”DILO is named after an important independent Ukrainian daily newspaper that was shut down when the Red Army entered Lviv in 1939. The four long tracks on DILO blur field recordings with song; an unpolished, privileged glimpse into a private world. We hear dogs barking and insects buzzing in the summer heat, then a blast of hurdy gurdy or violin will drift in, or a plaintive song soars softly over the rural background noise, with casually harrowing lyrics about a cuckoo, “lifeless in a world of misery”, as translated in the album’s booklet.For both Lucia and Sholto, it was important not to tamper too much with what they heard. “When you think about ethnography,” Lucia explains, “you have to have a lot of time, love and respect to document it with sensitivity.”“The songs all have their own atmosphere and intimacy from the spaces they were recorded in and it was important to maintain these particularities and move with them,” adds Sholto, who now lives in Vilnius, Lithuania. “They guide and sometimes interrupt a journey between interiors – domestic spaces; in kitchens, by the fire – and exteriors; marketplaces, cow sheds. We used contact microphones to record metal bridges and fences, and we spent one afternoon recording a wool processing machine, the details of the rattling and tuning wheels are the ground layer for the third track.”Lucia took rough notes and diary entries during the recording process, which are now shared in the booklet alongside a selection of lyrics, loosely translated, but revealing the depth and astonishing beauty that sometimes lies in the language of these folk songs.The feel of the album is intimate, flipping between laughter, where a woman sings about selling her pussy to buy a cow in one track, then shifts to a raw, painful truth; an adult son asks his mother why his dad won’t be back for dinner, as he’s gone to war.Since Lucia and Sholto began working together in 2014, they have shared the audio recordings on radio and film and shown photos in gallery spaces, making sure these special, smutty, poignant songs don’t get lost. This new record and booklet joins that same continuum, another glorious fruit from the same rare tree. " ---- Concept, photography, notes, and research by Lucia Nimcováwww.luco.skRecorded and mixed by Sholto Dobiesoundcloud.com/sholtodobieDesign by Ondrej Jóbwww.setuptype.comMastered by Tomáš Vtípil / dinn (dinn is not noise)www.vtipil.czWords by Claire Sawersclairesawers.comPhotography by Lukáš Rohárikbit.ly/2QT4r49Released by mappa as MAP025 in 2021This project has been supported using public funds provided by Slovak Arts Council.    

DILO – Lucia Nimcová & Sholto Dobie

Following the cancellation of their Central European tour as a duo in June 2020, Shakeeb Abu Hamdan and Sholto Dobie, together and apart, unveil a remote sonic partition between their respective abodes in Lebanon and Lithuania. Letting a melange of new and archival material wind around each other, swell back and forth and coalesce into a nebulous mass, they tease the temporality of real time improvisation, opting instead for a near mythical, ghost-like exchange.  The two have never played together in real life, and while each sonic element can sing on its own, nothing falls out of the frame or feels like a loose fractal. Sholto's self-built organ breathes deep sighs and hisses, meeting Shakeeb's undulating electronics and ricocheting rhythmics in a series of harmonic, tumbling gestures. Like Limpe Fuchs' work with Anima, there is space given for elements to clatter and scatter, but also bring towards circling motifs. Organ dirges & patterned drums emerge out of the misty plains, raising themselves skywards. Sholto and Shakeeb's own locality might or might not have contributed to their ventures, but we can't help but feel an imprint embossed in its genetic make-up. Listen closely and one can hear the spectres of regional folk musics, ceremonies, lonely streets, day-to-day banality... Together they let their complex inner & outer worlds meet and dance in a sonic apparition. -- Shakeeb Abu Hamdan: drums, amplified drums and electronics Sholto Dobie: self-built organ -- Drum parts on tracks one and three: from a live recording by Graham Dunning at The Old Hairdresser’s, Glasgow 2019. Tracks two, four and five: recorded by Shakeeb Abu Hamdan at Ashkal Alwan, Beirut 2018 - 2019.Organ parts on tracks one, three and five: recorded by Simas Okas and Vytautas Franukevičius in Vilnius 2020. Track two: recorded in Empty Brain Resort, Vilnius 2020. Track four: recorded in the studio of Arturas Bumšteinas and Gailė Griciūtė, SODAS 2123, Vilnius 2020. Assembled and mixed by Shakeeb Abu Hamdan in Beirut and Gharifeh, July - August 2020Mastered by John Hannon at NO Cover design by Oliver Barrett

It's Worse – Shakeeb Abu Hamdan & Sholto Dobie

  "The Blue Horse is a beautiful strange journey through a landscape where little is familiar but all are welcome. Made from predominantly acoustic sources, The Blue Horse gracefully hisses, puffs, wheezes, whirls, and clunks it’s way through a series of distinct musical and non musical environments. Sounding both at times like a dark and stormy night… and “an elephant trying to get laid”, the ambiguous style of The Blue Horse conceals the artists’ unsettling, fantastical and quietly humorous sensibility. Whilst The Blue Horse lacks any obvious precursors, it’s elemental and environmental leanings potentially tread a path initially mapped out by Moniek Darge and Godfried-Willem Raes in the works coming out of the Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium in the mid 80’s. The Blue Horse is the debut recording from Sholto Dobie and Mark Harwood and features a guest appearance from cellist Judith Hamann.  Sholto Dobie is an artist and performer born in Edinburgh and living in London. His solo output is marked by live performances that are characteristically delicate, evocative and absurd. He uses his own instruments, crudely assembled from materials such as reeds, whistles, bin bags, fans and air compressors, alongside loose performative structures, to respond to places and situations. He plays in Al Fresco (with Lia Mazzari & Tom White) and regularly collaborates with Ben Pritchard. He has also worked with Ashley Paul. He continues to run the event series Muckle Mouth which he founded in 2014. Mark Harwood is a musician and performer born in Ferntree Gully and living in London. His output veers towards uncanny audio both delicate and unsettling whilst his performances rely on teasing out and playing with the mood embedded within any given environment and audience situation. He has collaborated with Graham Lambkin, Aine O’Dwyer, Timo Van Luijk and MP Hopkins and runs the Penultimate Press label which brings forth this very release." --- “People say he looks blue under the moon”, is what Mhairi told me when I asked her about it. I was walking along the roadside with my partner in the Cabrach, one of the most remote areas in northern Scotland. At a bend in the road, something directed my attention towards the hill and when I looked up I could make out a silvery-blue creature, moving slowly and gracefully, obscured by the trees. It wasn’t clear at first, but I soon clocked that it was a horse and I took a picture of it. Earlier in the day I came across a fairy ring of field blewits, mushrooms otherwise known as blue-legs, so I knew something was up. By the time it was dark (around 4pm in November) we were the only customers in the Grouse Inn, a long-standing middle-of-nowhere tea room and whisky bar, beautifully cared for by Wilma McBain and her daughter Mhairi. Noticing the leather harnesses on display I asked Mhairi about the horse we’d seen earlier in the woods. I was somewhat enchanted just talking about it, and she wasn’t surprised. Later in the evening, we ended up behind the bar in the refrigeration room (where Mhairi paints), she showed us her painting of the blue horse. I didn’t sleep much that night.” – Sholto Dobie, 2019 ---

Mark Harwood & Sholto Dobie – The Blue Horse

Past events