About Ali Hutton

Musician/Producer - Bagpipes, Whistles and Guitars

Battle Royale!!!

It’s here again! It’s that time of year where you stand toe to toe with your pals and battle against each other for the title of …..”the best at what you do, of the year”…..but only for that year of course. The next year you’re not the best, naturally. Funny old craic, eh?!? So, our division is the ‘Album of the year’. If you’d like to help myself and Ross vanquish everyone else’s great efforts, and when I say great, there are some beautiful pieces of work up in here, then you can vote for Symbiosis 2 here……….https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Scotstrad2018

I had other stuff to say…….but it should remain deep down in the depths…….for now! 😈



The time of year has come when popular vote decides who’s dain it better! What have you done better than the next person, band, project etc? Well, I’m not a fan of the idea of being placed in direct competition with those that you love and respect. The thought of your whole years work gearing towards receiving an award is something that makes me feel uneasy. It’s not part of the thought process, it’s not the reason why we do what we do. We love playing music, we love making music, creating, sharing, enjoying and being inclusive……not exclusive!! However, these ceremonies are part of the machine, part of the cogs that make the whole thing spin. It’s a promotional arrow in the quiver. Something that agents and promoters love. Looks good on the website and the posters. So, CATCH 22. Be passive. Allow them to happen. Get on with your existence in which many of us have been afforded the opportunity of being employed by something we love dearly! SYMBIOSIS 2 has been longlisted for album of the year……which I guess is good in that we put a lot of work into it, and folk like it.

A category which we would love to be nominated in, here begins the hypocritical bit, is the Belhaven innovation award. This provides a band, or project the opportunity to further develop their music. It’s a cash price of £25,000. Which would allow for a serious boost towards the production of more music, and further gig development. So……..we would be gracious if you would consider us for this category……and of course I have been brushing up on my Gaelic singing so……..you can vote for me in that category too. The outcome of this rant, I know, is kind of grey!! If you’d like to vote though, you can do so here……….https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/scotstradmusicawards2018

Feasgar math!!!

Arriving at Flow

So, after yesterday’s slightly ranty blog, I did as I said I would and tried a bit of painting. It’s probably been about 16/17 years since I last painted. So, I wasn’t holding out for anything spectacular. So, I went for it…….

I started to try and paint a still life, a vase with some Lily’s. A vase with some lily’s……aye, way to find yourself. Of course, it was a load of shite. I would post the evidence but it’s currently enjoying a short stint in the bin before gets a life sentence as in a dirty landfill!

I decided I should just do a quick sketch which I’d try and pull from my murky, defunct artistic brain, and started to sketch out a wee mountain range. That was always a go to thing I would draw. I love landscape, I love its emotion, its colour, it’s terrifying grandeur, and also how it inspires musical ideas……

That’s when the the Flow began. I was fully absorbed for a good 3/4 hours. It kind of found its own life on the page. Now, not that it’s any good. It’s technically fairly rough, my brush control and choice of Pallette aren’t as they might have been. However, it is a process that I think will help me achieve a way forward with life and music. Ultimately, I’m trying to harness a way to find Flow with my music again.

This may work……may not…….we’ll see.

Here’s it so far………

Peace oot creatures of this spinning baw!

Contemplation – The Art of Flow – What next?!?

I’m at a point where I’m wondering…..what next? I’ve had a year where I feel like I haven’t really achieved anything. I mean, things have happened, I’ve done some gigs, written a few tunes, released an album etc. But, this is everyday stuff now. As a musician, this part of what you do, your bricks and mortar. On some level these things propel you forward. You can also perceive it as going round in circles. I am lacking in a sense of achievement. A sense that I am learning, developing, moving forward linearly. It’s a funny sensation to describe. This want for …….well fuck knows. It’s not for want of reward, or award, or awards. The idea of achievement usually ends in the sense of reward. It’s just what that means that I’m deeply thinking on. Through the lack of work, collaboration, creative head butting (in a kind of electro pop soundtrack, pillows tied to the head, wearing superhero jammies, and dreaming of flying to the moon, kind of head butting), interaction with the new, the daunting, the unknown, I have reached a point of limbo. WHAT’S NEXT????

I’ve been listening to the Blindboy Podcast. Having watched many of the Rubber Bandits music videos, I expected the content to be none other than surreal and ridiculous. However, I was surprised by the depth and honesty in which he discusses Mental Health issues, creativity, culture, and how all these things interconnect. He discusses, over many podcasts, how he found his own creative path by finding a way to channel ‘Flow’. The art of ‘Flow’ is a concept recognised by the psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The theory is that when you achieve a state of ‘Flow’ you achieve an optimal state of motivation and therefore, happiness. The art of Flow is being immersed in your creative calling. To produce creative work sub consciously, without self, without ego. The ability to removed thought from the process, and to just do. To engage in only what lies in front of you.

So, at the minute, as you can probably tell, I’m reading up about this creative process. This is my first step towards something unknown. Sometimes you trip up and land on something that you weren’t aware of before, it gives you a sense of positivity, a feeling of confidence, an idea that this “thing” may guide you towards the “thing” that you’re looking for. Its a stepping stone, or a falling apple. By no means, the final revelation. That perhaps is hypothetical anyway, the final pin point, the grand conclusion.

Superman, Supergirl, Superbeing of sorts, someone I’m sure most of us dreamed of being when we were kids. I remember the dreams you would have at a very young age where you flew like the man of steel. You could feel the wind rush against your face as you sped through the clouds. The feeling that you could really fly. That you could control the SuperYou of your dreams, from the takeoff to the landing. The feeling that you could do anything, or be anyone. I think this kind of regression is important when you arrive at your older self. To look back and feel those feelings again. To be able to remind yourself of the feeling of being at one with the ‘there and then’. It’s an essential part, I think, of finding Flow. As we get older we are burdened with many things that don’t exist when we are younger and care free. Life becomes more cluttered, more complex, ladened with responsibilities and irresponsibilities. It becomes hard to find a space, to find breath in the chaos of everyday life. As I’ve been reading about Positive Psychology, and the art of flow, and strangely, whilst writing this blog post, my mind has taken me back to high school. In particular, to my higher art classes. The cathartic experience of writing this blog has transported me back to the ‘me’ that used to love drawing and painting. Art was, at one time, another passion of mine. If I hadn’t jumped down this rabbit hole, the next one along would have been filled with brushes and paints, and probably an even smaller bank balance. However, I do remember, very clearly, when painting or drawing that I used to channel Flow. It wasn’t a state of mind that I would try to achieve. As soon as I began, it would be an automatic state of mind. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re transported back into the brain of your younger self. To feel, and smell what you experienced all those years ago. Anyway, the conclusion, I think, to one of my longest rambles, is that you should try and look back at what captivated you in a time when you had very few distractions. When Flow was a part of your everyday life. Whether it be playing the trumpet, painting a vase of flowers, running through the woods, or playing with toy cars. I intend on getting back into painting and spending more time outdoors, in the hills and the woods. With the the hope that this will lead me to find Flow and inspiration in my music. So do something that used to ignite your passion, something that will find you completely immersed in its experience. It will be good for your mind and soul. And perhaps, inspire you to leave the path that you’ve been wearing thin.

This is possibly a load of nonsense…… evidence of my lack of attention paid in higher English……….the ramblings of a lost soul…….or a sense of new found hope and inspiration ???????????!!!!!!!!


Bothy Culture!

Social media feed seems to be stuck on loop. Tapping me on the head reminding that I missed a night of joy, community, paying respect, and a hoor of a mighty bus ride home! Another great tribute to a man who could see into the future by looking into the past!

Day 1 – The Drawing of Three

You wake up and feel like it’s Beer O’clock, and you could go a meal that doesn’t involve a bowl and spoon! You know it’s going to be a LONG day ahead of you. You’ve got lots of stuff to catch up on, emails, stuff to learn, things to organise but inevitably you’ll do a circuit of Netflix, look at pish online, walk to the kitchen, look out the window, cower at the unfamiliarity and RPT, and RPT, and RPT. This will only be interrupted by the urge to nap. Which at all costs you battle, if only to avoid the nightmarish theatre that is playing the Hollywood version of ‘this is your life’ in your brain, 24/7. You’re surroundings are strange, you’re used to funny voices, things being back to front and upside down. The ups and downs of ‘the gig’ and you’re day revolving around performing grind to an immediate halt, leaving you feeling like someone’s pulled the plug on your life support. Like all of a sudden you’ve crossed back to the other side. Routine being the thing that holds that world, and your sanity in place. Glueing it together and scooping it up when it starts to dribble down the back of your neck. But you’re home, and things slowly morph back to what you know, and your senses gradually adjust back to the things that comfort you in this world! I will still hate fish, bananas and flip flops, in this world and the other! Peace, love and and a lack of understanding! Ali

TUNE COMMISIONS – for a loved one, or even someone you don’t like.

Hey. Just so you know, i’m available to write tune commissions for you. These can be for yourself, for a loved one, for any occasion, birthdays, weddings, funerals etc. If commissioned, a tune will be written, typeset, sent to you as a PDF so you can print it out and frame, and also a recording so that you can hear the piece. (Not recorded in the studio, but of good quality). You never know, your tune might make it onto an album or two, they have done in the past. Get in touch at alihutton@hotmail.com. Here’s an example of what’s on offer…………

I Lycra way you move!!

Myself, Ross and Graeme MacDonald recently visited the strange, and fascinating, St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Completed in 1966, this housed Priests in training. Due to the unique structure the Seminary had many structural and maintenance problems. Also, the declining number of student priests led to its demise. It has been abandoned since the 1980’s. It’s unique architectural design has listed at Category A, the highest level of protected building. Anyway, enough of that. It’s a truly fascinating place to visit. If you get the chance, go in search of this weird place. Here’s a video that Graeme put together of our adventure. Check out his work here….http://graememacdonald.photo

You can find the music here…..https://rossandali.bandcamp.com

Cheers! 😈