In Seeping Through, Etchells collaborates with violinist Aisha Orazbayeva on a rolling improvisation that combines and moves between spoken text and music. Taking place over an intense, continuous four hour period, the performance allows the public to arrive, depart and return at any point. Shifting from looped phrases, to a set of spontaneous fragmentary improvisations – text and music are treated as fluid forces in the same space, fading in and out of each other, breathing together, cutting and cancelling each other, creating a dynamic and always unstable landscape.
Constructing the accumulating text collage of the work, Etchells’ draws on fragments from his notebooks as well as on excerpts from performance texts and works in progress, creating collisions, loops, and unexpected connections between different spoken materials. In Etchells’ solo work language is somewhere between its semantics and its ephemeral materiality as sound vibration, texture and rhythm. The technical virtuoso Orazbayeva meanwhile, plays the violin in a way that tests the instrument’s limits, deconstructing and at the same time uncovering new sound potentials as well as radically remixing and quoting from elements of classical repertoire. Seeping Through builds on the collaboration between Orazbayeva and Etchells commissioned for BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction in 2015, as well as on the line of Etchells’ solo performance for theatre spaces A Broadcast / Looping Pieces (2014), and his ongoing series of improvisations in gallery spaces under the collective title Work Files. The video Talking about A Broadcast shows Etchells’ approaches to text, exploring creative process, and the transformative power of performance itself.