You can listen to Chris’s hour-long podcast on ABC here:
Jez riley French
and special guests
a quiet position / northern sound, in association with Wildeye, are pleased to announce our 2018 trip, a Scottish gathering of listeners in an area of stunning habitats from Munros (mountains over 3000 feet) to Loch’s, rivers and glens.
The trip promises to be not only a rich source of inspiration, listening and recording possibilities but a chance to discuss and share knowledge around the subjects of located sound, acoustic ecology and contemporary sound practice in its varied forms.
cost: £795 per person
which includes 6 nights full board accommodation in Glenshee, on the edge of the Cairngorms
Monday 4th June to Sunday 10th June, 2018
to secure your place please fill out the booking form at the bottom of this page or email Jez here
9th September 2017 – 28th January 2018
Twilight was filmed by Collins over 2 years close to Baltimore in West Cork, with field recordings by world renowned sound artist Chris Watson. The film has twilight as its central subject and is an attempt to capture the colour and quality of light that is in flux, the fleeting and transient sensations, the sense of the world turning. At its heart is the notion of a film where the viewer is given time to contemplate the texture of the world and their own place in it.
“The sound near where we filmed has few intrusions from the modern world. We could hear the gulls in the distance – though they seemed too far away to be heard. After the sun goes down, here on the southern edge of Ireland, in mid summer, all sounds still and silent – not so much as if the world is holding its breath but as if it is breathing peacefully”.
SATURDAY 21ST OCTOBER 2017
THE 2017 WIRED OPEN DAY FESTIVAL & The ‘agri(culture)’ Project
WEDNESDAY 25th OCTOBER – SUNDAY 29th OCTOBER, 2017
WILD LAB : KOSCIUSZKO – ENVIRONMENTAL SOUND RECORDING MASTERCLASS WITH CHRIS WATSON (UK)
The Wired Lab is hugely proud to be presenting the first Australian Wilderness based workshop with Chris Watson (UK), a seminal field recordist and sound artist.
This four-day intensive field recording masterclass explores audio documentation in a range of natural habitats via various recording techniques and technologies, through to the application of these sounds in fields spanning the arts, film/screen, environmental sciences, gaming, VR, music and sound design.
Co-facilitating the workshop will be David Burraston. David is a recent Watson collaborator, 2017 Create NSW Fellow and founding member of The Wired Lab.
Joining Watson and Burraston will be zoologist and acoustic monitoring guru Chris Watson (AU) who was part of the team that recently re-discovered the Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis), a bird endemic to Australia that was thought to be extinct.
Sounds of the City – Seminar with Jana Winderen & Chris Watson | The Munch Museum | 22nd September 2017
Oslo has a diverse soundscape – what’s your favourite sound in the city? What can we learn about our cities by listening? Get to know Jana Winderen and Chris Watson’s artistic practices through the seminar Sounds of the City.
Chris Watson will be presenting the sound installation “Inside the Circle of Fire: A Sheffield Sound Map”, and Jana Winderen will be giving an introduction to her work with examples from her recordings of fish, seals, crustaceans and insects under water, and ultrasound recordings of bats and rats. The seminar will culminate in a conversation between Winderen and Watson, opening the discussion up to the audience.
The seminar will be held in English. It is free to attend, and everyone will receive a complimentary copy of the publication “Jana Winderen, Rats – Secret Soundscapes of the City”. Entry to the Munch Museum from kl. 13.30.
“Sounds of the City” is held in connection with Jana Winderen’s most recent project “Rats – Secret Soundscapes of the City”, a sound installation under the bridge in Trelastgata 1 in Bjørvika. Winderen’s project is part of a collaboration between the Munch Museum and nyMusikk.
The 2017 Longplayer Conversation, between Chris Watson and Sir David Attenborough, will take place from 7pm on Monday 27th November at the Knowledge Centre, British Library, London NW1.
AN ADVENTUROUS ARTS EVENT FOR EXPLORERS OF ALL AGES
The Tale unfolds across the stunning landscape of Torbay, South Devon this September.
A unique kind of arts trail, The Tale guides you on a journey of discovery around the coast of Torbay – from the streets of Torquay, through hidden coves & historic harbours of Brixham, to the quarry of Berry Head Nature Reserve.
Along the way you’ll encounter performances & installations from internationally acclaimed artists, created especially for Torbay.
‘Pull back the curtain on an art deco cinema, closed to the public for 25 years (Britt Hatzius). Immerse yourself in a 360-degree sound installation deep in a quarry, inspired by the sounds of the ocean (BBC sound artist Chris Watson). End your Tale at sunset, looking out upon a dance performance where the land meets the sea.’
Families welcome. Under 16s go free!
Recommended reading by Jacob Smith at NorthWestern University (Illinois) –
Jacob Smith also wrote “Eco-Sonic Media” (University of California Press, 2015):
The negative environmental effects of media culture are not often acknowledged: the fuel required to keep huge server farms in operation, landfills full of high tech junk, and the extraction of rare minerals for devices reliant on them are just some of the hidden costs of the contemporary mediascape. Eco-Sonic Media brings an ecological critique to the history of sound media technologies in order to amplify the environmental undertones in sound studies and turn up the audio in discussions of greening the media.
‘El Tren Fantasma’ [Touch # TO:42, 2011]
“Take the ghost train from Los Mochis to Veracruz and travel cross country, coast to coast, Pacific to Atlantic. Ride the rhythm of the rails on board the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (FNM) and the music of a journey that has now passed into history.”
El Tren Fantasma, (The Ghost Train), is Chris Watson’s 4th solo album for Touch, and his first since Weather Report in 2003, which was named as one of the albums you should hear before you die in The Guardian. A Radio programme was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 30 Oct, 2010, produced by Sarah Blunt, and described as “a thrilling acoustic journey across the heart of Mexico from Pacific to Atlantic coast using archive recordings to recreate a rail passenger service which no longer exists. It’s now more than a decade since FNM operated its last continuous passenger service across country. Chris Watson spent a month on board the train with some of the last passengers to travel this route. As sound recordist he was part of the film crew working on a programme in the BBC TV series Great Railways Journeys. Now, in this album, the journey of the ‘ghost train’ is recreated, evoking memories of a recent past, capturing the atmosphere, rhythms and sounds of human life, wildlife and the journey itself along the tracks of one of Mexico’s greatest engineering projects.
‘Weather Report’ [Touch # TO:47, 2003]
The weather has created and shaped all our habitats. Clearly it also has a profound and dynamic effect upon our lives and that of other animals. The three locations featured here all have moods and characters which are made tangible by the elements, and these periodic events are represented within by a form of time compression.
This was Chris’s first foray into composition using his location recordings of wildlife and habitats – previously he has been concerned with describing and revealing the special atmosphere of a place by site specific, untreated location recordings. For the first time here he constructs collages of sounds, which evolve from a series of recordings made at the specific locations over varying periods of time.
Art | Science | Listening | Collaboration
29 June – 2 July 2017
University of Hull
Sound + Environment 2017 is a four day conference bringing together artists and scientists to explore the ways that sound can deepen our understanding of environments. For example, recent developments in the field of ecoacoustics are proving fruitful in assessing ecosystem change. Sound is also increasingly used to monitor built structures and to inform urban design. We can use sound for scientific and artistic exploration, to inform and expand our knowledge of environments and our relationships to the world around us.
What can we learn from each other? Sound can inform a range of innovative interventions and solutions to problems. Through exploring scientific and artistic approaches together, we hope to engage with sound in order to create complementary ways of investigating, understanding, and taking action.
Sound + Environment 2017 aims to nurture meaningful collaborations which can generate new insights. The programme will feature paper sessions and panels; workshops; public performances; installations, and interventions.
Keynote speakers will include Chris Watson and Leah Barclay
The world premiere of an original, multi-channel sound installation from internationally acclaimed and BAFTA award-winning sound artist Chris Watson. Chris has deep ties to the North of England and has travelled the world collecting sounds. One of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, Chris’ work puts “a microphone where you can’t put your ears”.
A collaboration between Hull 2017 and the University of Hull, this three dimensional sound sculpture follows the ebbing tide, from the confluence of the rivers Trent and Ouse. An enthralling journey along the Humber estuary and out into rich melodies of the North Sea, experienced at the Gulbenkian Centre using sound, space and light as evocation.
This is a durational installation piece. This installation is approx. 30 mins in length but runs as a continuous loop. Audiences can experience a single cycle or stay longer if they wish.
In May 2018, Chris will run two sessions at CAMP, a new residential arts centre in the high Pyrenees. Almost a kilometre above sea level, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, glaciers, forests and waterfalls, CAMP is a new project by Fuse Art Space. The sessions are run from a renovated 19th century hotel in the mountain hamlet of Aulus les Bains, updated to house Pro Tools studios, editing suites, multi-channel listening environments, AV classrooms, cinema, arts library, rehearsal and performance spaces, gallery, dark room, fine art studios and accommodation.
The sessions will blend field work carried out day and night in the rich natural landscape with critical listening and discussion, spatial audio recording techniques such as spaced stereo microphones, surround sound arrays, ambisonic techniques using a Soundfield ST450 microphone, Schoeps double mid side arrays and Sennheiser middle and side systems, experimentation with contact microphones, hydrophones and parabolic reflectors, surround sound playback and multi-channel systems, and decoding techniques. Peak-season trips to spectacular high-altitude locations along the frontier chain between France and Spain will yield diverse opportunities for field recording and sonic exploration.
All sessions at CAMP are all-inclusive, with room and full board included. Places are extremely limited – see https://www.campfr.com/chriswatson for more details.
The Tale: A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY ACROSS TORBAY
A new type of arts event is coming to South Devon this September.
Chris will be presenting a brand new piece of work in Torbay, South Devon as part of The Tale. There will also be an opportunity to attend an artist’s talk and a sound artist masterclass with him.
The Tale will guide you on a journey of discovery around the coastal area of Torbay – from the streets of Torquay, through hidden coves and historic harbours, to the quarry of Berry Head Nature Reserve.
Along the way, you’ll encounter artworks and performances by artists of international acclaim, made especially for Torbay. Inspired by the ideas of writer Philip Hoare, whose boyhood experiences of Torbay shaped his future, The Tale offers the chance to experience the hidden stories, sounds and dreams of the bay like never before.
An adventurous arts event for explorers of all ages.
The Tale will take place over three long weekends in September: 8-10 Sept, 15-17 Sept, 22-24 Sept 2017.
Tickets: £15.00 – £22.50
Under 16s go free!
Booking and info: www.the-tale.co.uk
Image credit: Warren Orchard
The Tale is produced by Situations in association with organisations and groups across Torbay and is funded by Arts Council England through an Ambition for Excellence Award. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of the
Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Unlimited Impact, The Space, Ernest Cook Trust, Australia Council and Norwegian Arts Council.
BBC Radio 4, Tuesday 6 June at 11.02am, repeated Monday 12 June at 9pm
The first of a new series of Natural Histories includes an interview and recordings by Chris Watson. A murmuration of starlings is one of our great British wildlife spectacles and never ceases to inspire and amaze as Brett Westwood and Tony Whitehead discover in a reed bed on the Somerset Levels. The programme also includes sound recordings by Tony Whitehead. Producer Sarah Blunt
Sarah Walker with Chris Watson
Sarah’s guest this week is one of the world’s leading sound-recordists, Chris Watson. Chris started out as a musician, he was a founding member of the influential Sheffield-based experimental music group, Cabaret Voltaire, but he soon put the microphone to other uses enjoying a career recording sound for film, tv and radio. He has specialised in recording wildlife and natural phenomena, striving, in his words, to put the microphone where you can’t put your ears. He has contributed to a number of David Attenborough documentaries in the Life and Frozen Planet series and has released albums of his field recordings. As well as discussing his work and life, Chris will be sharing some of his favourite classical music by composers including Britten, Messiaen and Felix Mendelssohn.
This course will focus on all factors of working with environmental sound – recording, production, decoding and critical analysis. Taking place in the forests, mountains and high-altitude plains of the Haute Couserans, with field trips to some of the regions most spectacular locations, the course will cover:
Fieldcraft and microphone techniques
Spatial audio recording techniques such as spaced stereo microphones, surround sound arrays, Ambisonic techniques using a Soundfield microphone ST450, Schoeps double mid side arrays and Sennheiser middle and side systems
Experimentation with contact microphones, hydrophones and parabolic reflectors
Surround sound playback and multi-channel systems
Listening sessions and discussion of critical analysis
Technical operation and specifics of location recording equipment
The sessions will be accompanied by optional outdoors activities led by CAMP crew, including guided mountaineering, visits to local beauty points, and downtime to hang out, relax, enjoy the local food and wine, and learn informally from Chris, the CAMP crew, and your fellow students. Following the course, we will invite students to submit work for release on Language, our in-house field recording label.
2-5pm – donations and all faiths welcome
London Buddhist Centre
51 Roman Road
London E2 0HU
020 8981 1225
Chris Watson will give a talk on his work and perform “Okeanos”, an underwater journey from Antarctica to the Arctic, using 4 x Genelec 8050 speakers in immersive surround sound.
BBC Radio 4, Fri 14 April, 3.30pm
Another chance to hear this sound portrait in which Chris Watson captures the changing soundscape of an oak woodland in Northumberland as the seasons pass.
Producer Sarah Blunt
William Basinski & James Elaine
Keith Fullerton Whitman
Catherine Christer Hennix