THE video to Restless, the forthcoming single by Jonnie Common, features the Glasgow-based, Highland-Perthshire-forged, awkward popster going about his day with three other identically dressed people in close proximity. A little too close. Whether having his morning brew, shaving away the previous day’s bristles or attempting a strike down the bowling alley, there they are, putting the kibosh on any potential sense of peace with their agitation and fuss.

A spare, brass-backed “bob on a wave of self-employed uncertainty”, it’s a tribute to the daily anxiety of student loan statements and the trials of working for yourself, where the “self-assessment is endless”.

A taster of his forthcoming album, Restless is backed with a remix by double SAY Award nominee C Duncan, and is out on Song, By Toad on October 6. If it’s an anthem for the overworked and distracted, for those millenials attempting to do some of the things their parents did, such as have a family and a modicum of that elusive “work-balance” against a backdrop of precarious employment and a world gone crazy, Common (which apparently is his genuine name) should know. This isn’t a musician who likes to make things easy for himself.

Making his debut in 2011 with Deskjob, an album of extensive productions of 10 other Scottish acts, he then released Master Of None, his first original song collection, later that year. It was soon followed by an interactive remix album, second artist album Trapped In Amber, an acclaimed collaboration with Conquering Animal Sound’s James Scott as CARBS, and last year’s Kitchen Sync, an instrumental album made entirely using the sound of kitchen gadgets and appliances. In addition, Common has a long-standing working relationship with illustrator and animator David Galletly.

Phew. He’s restless, indeed. As he sings to the trilling electro of 2013 track Figurehead: “There’s not enough time/I hope they understand/I’m only making one trip and/I’ve only got one pair of hands.”

The day after the release of Restless, Common is set to be seen on TV as part of BBC Two’s Performance Live series of theatre shows. Written by poet and playwright Ross Sutherland, Missing Episode uses a 20-year-old episode of EastEnders to recall the night Sutherland was in a car crash.

“The episode is from the actual night he was in the crash and he draws parallels between what is happening in the episode and what would have been happening to him back then at those very moments,” says Common, talking to The National before another shift of late-night rehearsals in the London house where the piece is set.

“It’s really impressive,” he continues. “Not least of all because it’s a single-take 30-minute monologue direct to camera, as he walks through the house. I’m in the house too, hiding in a cupboard, scoring it. He knows I’m there. The idea is that he’s commissioned me to score him emotionally, to help him remember something as he knows there is something he’s forgotten about the night.”

With rhythms generated by the speech and movement of the EastEnders cast, the instrumental soundtrack is in the same vein as Kitchen Sync, as will another project due for fruition with a free performance on November 25 outside Dundee’s McManus Gallery. Alongside visual artist Duncan Marquiss, Common was commissioned to produce work based on the museum’s collection in celebration of its 150th anniversary.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of that,” he says. “A condition of the commission is that I can’t touch anything. They’ve got things like an Innuit fiddle, but I think if I were to try to string it or play it that it might easily just crumble, so I applied to touch a bell by an important Dundee silversmith, which I thought would be safely robust. Once I’ve got a tone, I can then work a melody from that.

“Because I’m not allowed to touch the huge majority of things – they have about 150,000 pieces and I’m getting to ring one bell – I’m focusing on other aspects. Sion Parkinson, the curator of the project, described the building itself as part of the project. So in a couple of weeks’ time I’m going in to map the building in sound.

“It’ll be like a sine wave of sound, with all frequencies running through the hearing range. You record what it sounds like in the room and subtract the original recording, so you have the sounds of the room itself. And they have secure entry card things that produce quite a nice beep.”

The new album which Restless trails is already written, Common says. There’s just been no time to record it. Likewise, a second CARBS album was recorded back in April, but Common and Scott have not had a sufficient gap in their calendars to release it.

“There’s been so much going on behind closed doors this year, and I suppose next year it will be a case of a huge splurge of public activity, and hopefully I’ll have some time to see my 17-month-old son too,” he says.