Dark Skies: Stillness by Renzo Spiteri

Fri 15 Oct

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An immersive live performance that takes audiences on a journey through the different textures of darkness and light, presented as part of a weekend of postponed Hebridean Dark Skies Festival live events.

‘Stillness is a solo performance of live sounds, electronics and field recordings, shaped on my experience of Shetland and its soundscapes, and shifting on the balance beam of light and darkness, of the heard and unheard.’  Renzo Spiteri

Renzo Spiteri is a Shetland-based composer, percussionist and sound and multi-media artist who uses the sonic environment around him as primary source material that not only sets the tone to his work but is also a powerful source of inspiration. For his first performance on Lewis, he presents a work that moves and floats between natural sounds, recorded from above and below the sea’s surface and his live playing, elements that are weaved into a very particular sonic tapestry.

Our October Hebridean Dark Skies Festival weekend also feature a live show by Kathryn Joseph on Saturday 16 October, with visuals created by London-based artist collective Lumen.

As part of this year’s Dark Skies programme, Renzo was also commissioned to create a new sound piece called Under Dark Blue Skies, which you can stream below. If possible we encourage you to listen to it in darkness for a fully immersive experience.

An Lanntair · Under Dark Blue Skies by Renzo Spiteri


‘Under Dark Blue Skies’ is an immersive and contemplative work inspired by periods of deep listening during certain times of the day. From the forewarnings of heavy rains to the still nights under clear skies, shades of dark blue often make me stop and listen to sonic events around me.

‘For this latest composition I used a variety of sounds gleaned during this particular time of the year, from the most present to the minutest. Different atmospheric conditions, and the randomness of a plurality of sound events that reach my ears every time I am listening and recording, have inspired me to shape this composition. From lochs with creaking icy surfaces to windy nights, whooper swans and clacking pebbles, I sought to create a tapestry of sounds within which I interweaved sparsely employed delicate percussion instruments, vibraphone and electronics. 

‘I invite listeners to make themselves comfortable and, for twenty minutes, immerse themselves in this short journey under dark blue skies.

 ‘A special thank you to An Lanntair and Hebridean Dark Skies Festival for commissioning this new work.’

Renzo Spiteri
15th February 2021

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival will run from Friday 5 February to Thursday 18 February, and is led by An Lanntair in partnership with Calanais Visitor Centre, Stornoway Astronomical Society, Gallan Head Community Trust, and Lews Castle College UHI.

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Outer Hebrides LEADER 2014-2020 programme. We also want to say a huge thank you to Caledonian MacBrayne for supporting this year’s festival.