Having established himself as one of Aotearoa's leading drummers performing with the likes of dDub, Corrella and in New Zealand's premier percussion ensemble Strike! Percussion, Tom Scrase is forging a new path in composition under the moniker Aotūroa.
Creating sound design for dance, film and installation, this creative outlet sees elements of ambient, textural soundscapes blended with complex and hypnotic rhythms and field recordings. Dense and challenging, these sounds are manipulated while retaining the primal sense of connection that permeates Aotūroa's music.
"The way in which the descriptive sound pallet is used to simultaneously support on screen action, add to the narrative and add to the aesthetic of the film presents a level of innovation, collaboration and professionalism rarely seen in the industry. The fidelity of the audio track is exceptional, and the numerous audio effects used are wielded with precision." - John Coulter
Complimented and grounded with Taonga Pūoro, most of which crafted by the artist, Aotūroa is forging a new sound unique to New Zealand as illustrated in the 2020 release of the debut self-titled album which has been faithfully pressed to vinyl at Holiday Records, Auckland, Aotearoa.
Comprising works spanning 18 years including recently written commissions for the 2018 Commonwealth Games Arts Festival, the album rewards an invested listener with a journey through the sacred. Lyrical content reveals intimacy and vulnerability surrounding fatherhood and finding our place in the world. Exploring rhythms from Central Africa and tipping the hat to other New Zealand artists, Fat Freddy's Drop and Electric Wire Hustle, the album gives a tantalising glimpse of the music to come.
The Rebel Pink EP, released in 2019, is representative of 45minutes worth of material written for the contemporary dance show of the same name, produced by Footnote Dance Aotearoa and curated by Malia Johnston. The EP is diverse, with a dark, brooding opening track, instrumental hip hop, ambient textures and a disintegrating loop to close the album.
"Particularly worth mentioning is the original composition and performance throughout the three works by Tom Scrase. In addition to facilitating seamless transitions between works, the works are framed and contextualised within his rhythms, and the play between his live drumming performance and the performers adds to the energy and playfulness of the evening. We witness Scrase building a sound score in The Silent Partner as he records chimes, rolling whistles, and voice distortion, layering and looping them to create an emotive and evocative sound score." - Chloe Klein, Theatre Review