Lochan VII | Corn-crack Dreams

Corn-crack Dreams was written by Alex Paxton, performed by Dominykas Snarskis, and commissioned by the North Uist Distillery.

Corn-crack Dreams was inspired not only by the story of North Uist Distillery but the environment in which Kate and Jonny exist and how that has shaped their work and lives. Following chats and sharing photos and videos, the piece was created organically by Alex and Domas (Dominykas) over a few Zoom sessions where they jammed and improvised. The resulting piece is a mixture of written parts and improvisation incorporating drum kit, voice, electronics and Alex on trombone reflecting a previous review from the RPLO of music that is “Eccentric & inventive with more than a touch of anarchy.”

Nevis Ensemble’s Lochan Sketches are a series of 10 commissions for composers to write short solo works for specific members of the orchestra. Each composer is paired with individuals from across Scotland to take inspiration from the country’s coasts and waters.

Each work received its broadcast premiere on BBC Radio Scotland’s Classics Unwrapped programme. The series is part of Nevis contributions to the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.


Alex Paxton

Alex Paxton is a composer and improvising-trombone soloist based in the UK. He was recently named as one of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2020 composers, is a London Symphony Orchestra Panufnik composer, and was awarded the prestigious Dankworth Jazz Composition Prize by WCOM. He has written music for ensembles including: EnsembleModern, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble x.y, RSNO, BSO, ListenPoney, HyperDuo, NYJO and Psappha.

Dominykas Snarskis

Dominykas Snarskis from Lithuania,is a drummer and percussionist currently studying on the Jazz course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where is part of  the RCS partnership with Gleneages, he is a member of the Gleneagles Ensemble. He has been part of Nevis Ensemble since its first tour in 2018, marking his first foray into an orchestral group. He has played with the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra, at the Vilnius Jazz Festival and in various groups and bands fusing jazz with other musical styles.

North Uist Distillery

North Uist Distillery is run by Gaelic-speaking island native Kate and husband Jonny, whose family have a long history in the fishing community of Uist. They set up the distillery in 2018 with Downpour Gin as their signature drink, and they are in the process of working towards a purpose-built distillery. Nevis Ensemble created the link with the distillery last year as part of our tour of the Hebrides.

On a very wind-blown afternoon, the orchestra took the walk down from the main road down to the white-sandy beach on the Isle of Berneray. Waiting for the musicians was a hardy audience of locals, tourists, walkers and dogs, and most importantly a van with Kate and Jonny distributed free gin and tonics to the orchestra and audience. The most perfect concert!