Chris Watson is one of the world’s greatest nature sound recordists. From the North Pole and South Pole to the forests of Congo and deserts, he has done some of the most unique and challenging projects in capturing the sounds of wildlife and natural phenomena — from the song of bearded seals under the Norwegian fjords to the groaning of ice in an Icelandic glacier. The British artist talks to Grin about why the act of listening is so vital to keep our world green, and to keep us joyful and sane…
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BiographyChris Watson is one of the world's leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, and for Touch he edits his field recordings into a filmic narrative. For example. the unearthly groaning of ice in an Icelandic glacier is a classic example of, in Watson's words, putting a microphone where you can't put your ears. He was born in Sheffield where he attended Rowlinson School and Stannington College (now part of Sheffield College). In 1971 he was a founding member of the influential Sheffield-based experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire. His sound recording career began in 1981 when he joined Tyne Tees Television. Since then he has developed a particular and passionate interest in recording the wildlife sounds of animals, habitats and atmospheres from around the world. As a freelance recordist for film, tv & radio, Chris Watson specialises in natural history and documentary location sound together with track assembly and sound design in post production.
Here you can access images of Chris Watson. Click on images for high resolution version & please always credit author when used.
A Life in Sound
Here you can find a very helpful selection of radio progammes and soundscapes for BBC Radio 4 featuring sound recordist Chris Watson.
Bandcamp (available digital):
Various releases and other archives are available on Chris's bandcamp site
Releases (available in TouchShop):
El Tren Fantasma – The Signal Man’s Mix
12" Vinyl - 2 tracks
1. El Divisadero - The Telegraph 7:56
2. Veracruz - The Tunnel 7:54
Cut by Jason @ Transition
Artwork & Design by Jon Wozencroft
7" vinyl - 2 tracks
Locked grooves on both sides...
The voices and rhythms of the Humboldt current around the Galapagos Islands recorded April 2006 using a pair of Dolphin Ear Pro Hydrophones onto a NAGRA ARES-Pll digital audio recorder.
CD - 3 Tracks - 54:02
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.
1. Ol-Olool-O -18' 00"
A fourteen hour drama in Kenya's Masai Mara from 0500h - 1900h on Thursday 17th Oct. 2002
2. The Lapaich -18' 00"
The music of a Scottish highland glen through autumn and into winter during the four months of September to December
3. Vatnajkull -18' 00"
The 10,000 year climatic journey of ice formed deep within this Icelandic glacier and it's lingering flow into the Norwegian Sea.
Outside the Circle of Fire
CD - 22 Tracks
The purr of a leopard close up against a baobab tree, waiting. Whales surfacing, breathing in cold air. Coll starling imitate the noise of farm machinery from the hollow ring of a ruined bothy. The rattle of wood over a black stream... Chris Watson's second CD is a dramatic contrast to the spacious atmospheres of "Stepping into the Dark" (Touch TO:27, 1996). Featuring 22 close-up recordings of animals, birds and insect life, "Outside the Circle of Fire" enlarges our awareness of the sound universe, intimate with voices from the past. There is an intensity here that television pictures cannot conjure.
Wildeye Field Recording Trips & CoursesChris leads several trips a year in different parts of the world... these trips get fully booked very quickly, so we advise you to sign up to the Wildeye newsletter on their website
Publishing & LicensingChris Watson is a member of PRS and is published by Touch Music