Releases

Chris Watson Albums Back in Stock | ‘El Tren Fantasma’ & ‘Weather Report’

We are pleased to announce that two major recorded albums, ‘El Tren Fantasma‘ & ‘Weather Report‘ by Chris Watson have been republished;

‘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.

This compact disc is now available to order from TouchShop

‘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.

This compact disc is now available to order from TouchShop

Scelsi EP | Limited Edition Vinyl Release

300 Copies on Vinyl. Also available as WAV, FLAC and MP3
Distributed by Kudos. Released 8 March 2016.

Order here

Track Listing:

Side A
Giacinto Scelsi Duo for Violin and Cello
1. Part 1
2. Part 2

Performed by Aisha Orazbayeva and Lucy Railton
Recorded by Peiman Khosravi
Mixed by Peiman Khosravi and AIsha Orazbayeva

Side AA
1. Invertebrate Harmonics – Chris Watson
2. Honshirabe – 本調

Performed by Joe Browning
Recorded by Chris Watson at Urchin Studios London

Chris Watson Releases on Bandcamp

We have now made available selected editions of Chris’s Touch catalogue on Bandcamp, complete with pdfs of the booklets and CD artwork:

Stepping into the Dark (1997)

Compact Disc edition no longer available

“In recent years I have noticed that some of the locations I visited as a sound recordist displayed remarkable and particular characteristics. These may be sparkling acoustics, a special timbre, sometimes rhythmic, percussive or transient animal sounds. Without a doubt, playing a recording made at one of these sites can recreate a detailed memory of the original event. Also, as others have described, there is an intangible sense of being in a special place — somewhere that has a spirit — a place that has an ‘atmosphere’. These recordings avoid background noise, human disturbance and editing. They are made using sensitive microphones camouflaged and fixed in position usually well in advance of any recording or animal behaviour. The mics. are then cabled back on very long leads to a hide or concealed recording point, the aim being to capture the actual sound within each particular location without external influence. Sites are discovered by researching local natural or social history, by interpreting features on a map or through anecdote and conversation with people about their feelings for or against particular places. The author and researcher Tom Lethbridge identified the sources of several spirits within the topography of the area. I suspect that this also includes flora and fauna, local time of day, the weather and the season. The following recordings are the atmospheres of special places.” [Chris Watson]

Outside the Circle of Fire (1998)

Compact Disc edition no longer available

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.

Weather Report (2003)

Compact Disc edition still available

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.

El Tren Fantasma (2011)

Compact Disc edition no longer available
Vinyl edition – “The Signalman’s Mix” still available

“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.

Further information: chriswatsonreleases.bandcamp.com

Ash 11.2 | Ánde Somby “Yoiking With The Winged Ones”

ASH112

Vinyl LP + Download + bonus track, “Čuoika”. All downloads are 24 bit recordings by Chris Watson.

Design by Philip Marshall
Photography by A K Dolven
Cut by Jason at Transition

Track listing:

A1. Gufihttar (underworld fairie)
A2. Gadni (spirit of the mountain)
A3. Neahkkameahttun (from the other side)
B. Wolf

Yoiking is the ancient chanting practise of the Sámi People – the indigenous peoples on the top of Europe. Yoiking originates from time immemorial – legend tells that it was the faires and elves of the arctic lands that gave yoiks to the Sámi People. Yoiking was an important element of the religious rituals in pre-christian times and has survived both christianity, imperialism and the fact that Sámi areas were confiscated by the states of the north; Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia.

Ánde Somby is deeply rooted into the yoik tradition. He comes from the eastern part of the north Sámi areas and in the tundra tradition of the reindeer herders and from the valley tradition of arctic farmers. His yoiking is both quite technical as well as melodic – Somby is at the same time an innovative yoiker. All the three pieces on side A are his compositions. His signature as a yoiker is an expressive style performed on the borders of the human voice.

The title of the work refers to the fact that the migratory birds that have made it to the arctic for their breeding season are an important part of the record. With the assistance of a local crow they break the arctic silence by singing and calling. The title also makes a more subtle reference to the sound flying from the echoing mountains.

The project itself has three inspirations; the yoiks were given to the humans from the fairies and elves. This gives an emphasis on that yoiks are of the earth. The second inspiration is that there is a war against fairies and elves going on; in Norway that war was waged by the national poet Henrik Wergeland in the song Nisser og Dverge and has continued with stripping the earth of its soul and giving free license to aggressive exploitation. The emphasis is asking the fairies and elves if they still are doing good. The third inspiration is the European myth about Narcissus and Echo; Echo does not find her love as Narcissus rejects her, but she is given an eternal voice. Yoik and Echo meet in this work as echo yoiks along together with the underground energies.

The recordings are made by Chris Watson, the world famous sound artist and leading field recorder. The recordings took place in Kvalnes, Lofoten mid June in 2014 in a moment while the arctic winds had a little rest. Chris Watson has also done the post production. A K Dolven took the photos for the project and has been instrumental in developing the concept. Thanks also to Tony Myatt.

Buy Ánde Somby “Yoiking With The Winged Ones” in the TouchShop

TO:27D | Stepping into the Dark – Available as Download

TO27 - Stepping Into The Dark - Chris Watson

Stepping into the Dark [TO:27D] is now available as high quality audio download.

Originally released on compact disc in 1996, Chris’s first album for Touch, the tracks are the atmospheres of “special places”, recorded with the use of camouflaged microphones.

12 Tracks – 59:43 – Download
PDF Booklet + text file inc. liner notes and images

The tracks are the atmospheres of “special places”, recorded with the use of camouflaged microphones.

“In recent years I have noticed that some of the locations I visited as a sound recordist displayed remarkable and particular characteristics. These may be sparkling acoustics, a special timbre, sometimes rhythmic, percussive or transient animal sounds. Without a doubt, playing a recording made at one of these sites can recreate a detailed memory of the original event. Also, as others have described, there is an intangible sense of being in a special place — somewhere that has a spirit — a place that has an ‘atmosphere’. These recordings avoid background noise, human disturbance and editing. They are made using sensitive microphones camouflaged and fixed in position usually well in advance of any recording or animal behaviour. The mics. are then cabled back on very long leads to a hide or concealed recording point, the aim being to capture the actual sound within each particular location without external influence. Sites are discovered by researching local natural or social history, by interpreting features on a map or through anecdote and conversation with people about their feelings for or against particular places. The author and researcher Tom Lethbridge identified the sources of several spirits within the topography of the area. I suspect that this also includes flora and fauna, local time of day, the weather and the season. The following recordings are the atmospheres of special places.” (Chris Watson)

Tracklist and notes:

1. Low Pressure

0810h 6th October 1994

Wind wherever the sound recordist operates is an obvious nuisance. Just as it is with turbulent seas and fast-running water, it is relatively simple to make a recording that captures the generalised bashing and cashing of the elements, but this results in white noise that describes nothing of the detailed ebb and flow as witnessed. The remarkable thing here, in Glen Cannich, was that i could walk through the foci of these wind sounds within a few paces, as if being part of some great instrument. The blast here was so strong that it took some time to fix the microphones securely – I felt surrounded by the full force of the elements being channelled through this site, and wanted the recording to reflect the bent-double posture and sheer physicality I was experiencing. I cabled back 50 or 60m to a sheltered position and managed to run the tape for almost ten minutes before the microphones were blown over.

2. Embleton Rookery

0600h 7th May 1983

The churchyard looks out to the sea and across to the castle at Dunstanburgh Head, the vertigo cliff face forming a curve to create what was once a remote deep water harbour, used by Tudor monarchs. Maybe shipwrecked sailors have returned, reincarnated as the rooks that have chosen upon the old stone church in Embleton, whose name itself gives off a particular hum. Is it that the rooks are only rooks, and they sound dark to us because the Black Birdhas so many associations with malevolence and ill-omen? Lethbridge might have said that the birds come here, largely due to this always pagan site having obvious associations with the strong atmosphere of its ley lime and ritual past. Today, cars file past on their way to a family picnic on the promontory.

Go there at dawn, or last thing at night, out of traffic hours, and another sound takes over. The acoustic of the place spins the parliament of the rooks through the cold air, its stillness, and into the timeless chaos, as always, driven on by the ringing of the bells.

3. The Crossroads

0620h 27th March 1994

This morning the conditions were just right. This crossroads at Smalesmouth in the Kielder Forest, I am told, connects two of the ‘old straight tracks’ upon which Scottish drovers would herd their livestock south across the open hill. Today, the forest clearing is home to a host of bird, both resident and migrant. Here, however, end of March, the birdsong comes from local voices at the peak of their activity. So at our usual site on the junction of the forest tracks, recording began just after the light came up. The cold, dry air was full of detail, this isolated spot quickly reanimated by the ringing song and calls of chaffinch, robin, wren, songthrush, siskin and crossbill…

4. River Mara At Dawn

0615h 16th September 1994

A looping curve up river is edged with lush riverene forest. The location is spectacular, but its splendour has to co-exist with an oft-repeated stress on being vigilant; one does not wander alone on foot about the Maasai Mara.

Having set the mics, I cabled back some distance to the Land Rover and started to record. Eventually, building with the heat, were the convergent sounds of swirling water, black kites, wind through the surrounding vegetation and a blanket covering if flies.

5. River Mara At Night

2130h 16th September 1994

The same evening, Francis asked one of the other Maasai guards to take me back up river. Nightfall brings more danger. The hippos, who spend the day in the river, come out and graze on the vegetation, and can be very threatening animals… more people are killed by hippos than they are by lions.

The ‘atmosphere’ had changed. Listening for the wooden chimes of tree frogs, we were met by heavy rhythm, a wall of nocturnal sound. Moths and night flying beetles are being hunted – you can hear the deep octaval roar as they come close to the microphone. The metallic sounds, I suspect, are the acoustic calls of bats.

6. A Passing View

2350h 3rd April 1992

Today, Fai – a local fisherman, took us into the huge mangrove forests at Los Olovitos by canoe. We had spoken about some of the special places in the mangroves and in the early afternoon we stopped at a resting place bordering the lake. It was hot, humid and very quiet. I cabled some mics out into the water’s edge with the idea of returning before dawn the following day. Curiosity forced my return that night when I heard and recorded these mechanical sounds of fishing bats in the darkness. Afterwards, in torchlight, I could watch these beautiful, long-legged russet coloured animals trawling for small fish feeding on the surface of the water.

7. Bosque Seco

0540h 6th April 1995

I left the camp at 0500h this morning and followed the winding path east towards my marker. Within the forest it was still very dark and quiet, with rising warm dry air. Just as the light was breaking through the canopy, I found my site at a fork in the path. I rigged up the tape recorder. The temperature began to climb like a jet off a runway. The acoustics changed, the orchestra awoke and the forest found its rhythm.

8. Sunsets

2230h 16th May 1994

During the late afternoon I cabled the equipment out into the marsh from a track. At 2000h I went back to listen out for the evening chorus of snipe. On the ground, they are cryptic birds and will choose their spot, usually reedy and damp, close to their very well camouflaged nestling places in tussocks and long grass.

The evening was quiet until the point at which the light dramatically changes and colour vision vanishes. At this hour, the snipe will perform. In an amazing ritual and localised aerial display, they dive vertically like guided missiles towards the water, the sound of their tail feathers buzzing through the air.

9. The Blue Men Of The Minch

1400h 30th July 1994

I was fortunate enough to borrow a hydrophone from the research station at Cromarty. Five metres beneath the surface of the Moray Firth and directly over a particular deep water channel, common seals roar during their diving displays. Within a 1km radius of the hydrophone, bottle-nosed dolphins navigate and hunt using echo locating clicks. Occasionally they communicate with their unique signature whistles.

10. High Pressure

0550h 25th February 1994

On the hilltop, there was no shelter this morning from the intense biting cold – or a feeling of growing anticipation. The hard dry air gripped the trees and margins of the pool – now frozen, with only one small area of water by the mics.

Daybreak revealed a small constricted community of coot, mallard, widen and teal.

11. Gahlitzerstrom

1740h 5th October 1993

Observing from a hide over the previous two days, the cranes have followed a similar path towards their roost out on the waters of Udarser Wiek. In particular, they seem to favour a narrow channel to navigate east to west – flying in low over the end of a thin spit of brown reedy marshland where earlier this afternoon I concealed the mics.

In Greek mythology, Hermes is said to have envisioned the Greek alphabet by watching the beating wings of cranes as they passed by his line of sight. Their calls and signs remain across the centuries…

12. The Forest Path

0625h 7th October 1994

It was raining hard – there was cover under the edge of a large dark section of mature plantation. Gradually, out from the background, came the crook of distant stags. A rich, velvet acoustic rolling down through the trees and suspended in a low clinging mist.

Many of the tracks will be used for the forthcoming iOS app, Nimbus, was launched on September 10th 2014 in Brighton.

Geocities on Soniccouture in association with Touch

CREATE A SENSE OF PLACE

Geosonics is a colloboration between legendary field recordist Chris Watson and Soniccouture.

Hundreds of hours of recordings, from some of the worlds most extreme and inhopsitable enviroments, combine to form a library of rare sonic artefacts that cannot be found anywhere else.

Using this unique collection as a starting point, we created a wealth of sound design material – waves and textures which, when layered and combined with Watson’s original recordings, create the most fluid, organic soundscapes ever heard.

The product page where you can buy the instrument
NB: Here is the intro discount code : YA6ARGHW

This needs to be entered into the discount code field at checkout, and the product will be reduced to £99 / €110 / $120. This offer will end 24th August 2013
FULL PRICE £119 / €129 / $120

Chris Watson – “Sunrise in the Sukau Rainforest” | framework September 2012

framework

framework:seasonal issue #3, autumn 2012
Chris Watson: Sunrise in the Sukau Rainforest
2.5 hour high resolution audio dvdr

The framework:seaonal series of fund-raising audio releases continues with a very special issue #3 – the great chris watson, who, we’re sure, needs no introduction amongst framework listeners, has donated a single-take, 2.5 hour field recording from the rainforests of borneo, recorded and published at its full length at higher-than-cd audio quality. this stunning recording has never before been released, and has been donated by the artist in support of framework radio. it is available only through framework, in exchange for your donation of €20 of more on the framework website.

Each dvdr is slow burnt onto the highest quality taiyo yuden archival discs, and is hand-stamped with the custom-made image of a borneo-native mushroom, in keeping with the previous issues of the seasonal series. each is housed in an offset and folio printed sleeve from a local printing press, on paper from a local papermill, both here in the southeast estonian town of räpina. the insert as well is printed on additive-free paper from the räpina mill. these audio dvdr’s will play in any standard dvd player, or on any computer.

The details:

Recorded during October 2011 by the river Kinabatangen, Sabah, Borneo from 0430h using Sennheiser MKH 8040/30 middle and side array to a Nagra ARES Pll recorder at 48Khz 16 Bits .wav

“The Sukau rainforest is a relatively narrow strip of primary forest either side of the banks of the river Kinabatangen in Sabah, Borneo. Access to the forest floor is very difficult as there are no trails, however at the back of the lodge where I was staying there was a narrow old and decaying boardwalk that led, snake like, through the dense undergrowth and out into what felt like another world. Each morning for over a week I left my lodge around 0400h and set off carefully along a zig zag pattern of soft and splintered planks into the velvet darkness. Either side of the red glow from my head torch fireflies and other unknown bioluminescent insects blinked and flashed their alien languages whilst dead ahead the small piercing red reflecting eyes of hunting bats streaked, missile like, directly towards me. On several mornings my GPS guided me to a favourite looping curve at the furthermost point of the 2Km trail where I could stop and fix my mikes in a tree whilst trying to bat off the myriad host of mosquitos that quickly find anything warm blooded that is stationary. I rigged and set away the recording before quietly moving off, my ears straining to hear the distant songs of gibbons, the shrieks of macaques and the low whistle of a pitta. Sunrise, such as it is 30m below the canopy, is also accompanied by the slow drip of condensation percolating down through the grey green gloom from a canopy 30m above as the forest is slowly revealed.” (Chris Watson)

Sunrise in the Sukau rainforest is published by Touch Music

To order your copy go to the framework website and donate €20 or more via the donations bar on the right, or click the ‘donate’ button below and do the same. we’ll be in touch to confirm the best shipping address. copies of previous issues of framework:seasonal are also still available – donate €20 or more per issue and let us know which ones you’d like!

TO:42V | El Tren Fantasma – The Signal Man’s Mix

TO42V - El Tren Fantasma (The Signal Mans Mix) - Chris Watson

12″ Vinyl + 320 kbps MP3 files of the two vinyl tracks

Cut by Jason @ Transition
Artwork & Design by Jon Wozencroft

Track listing:

Side A
1. El Divisadero – The Telegraph 7:56

Side B
2. Veracruz – The Tunnel 7:54

Tone 43 | Chris Watson & Marcus Davidson – Cross-Pollination

TONE43 - Cross-Pollination - Chris Watson  Marcus Davidson

CD in digipak – 2 tracks – 48:20

Art Direction: Jon Wozencroft
Cover image: Yusuke Murakami

Track listing:

1. Midnight at the Oasis 28:03
2. The Bee Symphony 20:00

Notes:

Midnight at the Oasis: – The piece is a 28 minute time compression from sunset to sunrise in South Africa’s Kalahari desert and features the dense and harmonic mosaic of delicate animal rhythms recorded in this remote habitat. “Midnight at the Oasis” was first performed at the Marquee in Parliament Street, York, on 13th September 2007 as part of Sight Sonic.

“The Kalahari desert is a vast and open space where most of the wildlife is nocturnal. After sunset the dunes, grasses and thorn bushes are patrolled by an emerging alien empire – the insects.

Midnight at the Oasis’ presents an unseen soundscape from this beautiful and hostile environment.

The Bee Symphony: A project conceived by Chris Watson originally for “Pestival” in 2009 to explore the vocal harmonies between humans and honey bees in a unique choral collaboration around and within the hives of an English country garden. Recorded live at The Rymer Auditorium, Music Research Centre, University of York, England on December 17th 2010 by Tony Myatt, using a Soundfield SPS200 microphone recorded onto an Edirol R4 (surround version), and 2 x Neumann U87 microphones via Grace Microphone Preamplifiers, recorded onto an Edirol R44 (stereo version). Composed and arranged by Marcus Davidson using recordings made by Chris Watson & Mike Harding, and diffused through a 4.1 Genelec system by Chris Watson. The Bee Choir: Dylan de Buitlear, Lisa Coates, Steph Connor, Lewis Marlowe and Shendie McMath. With thanks to Peter Boardman (the event producer), Tom Emmett, Celia Frisby & Bridget Nicholls, who originally commissioned The Bee Symphony.

Marcus Davidson writes: “The first thing that struck me about the bees was how tuneful they were. During the day, their pitch was always based around A an octave below 440, the note we tune orchestras to. I found that the bees formed chords around the A, which varied depending on their mood. I spent time notating these bee chords, or note clusters, and as the bees sing easily in the human vocal range, I then scored the actual bee music for choir.

The sound of humans singing bees was strangely engaging. I thought it was reminiscent of Aboriginal music, perhaps showing how in tune with nature the native civilisations are. In fact, all the chords and ‘tunes’ in The Bee Symphony are taken from actual notes sung by the bees in the field recordings. The score was written so the choir sings exactly with different aspects of the bee song in real time, so hopefully we indeed have humans singing in harmony with bees!”

TO:42 | El Tren Fantasma

TO42 - El Tren Fantasma - Chris Watson

CD – 10 tracks – 65 minutes

Artwork: Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Denis Blackham

Track listing:

01: La Anunciante
02: Los Mochis
03: Sierra Tarahumara
04: El Divisadero
05: Crucero La Joya
06: Chihuahua
07: Aguascalientes
08: Mexico D.F.
09: El Tajin; El dia y La noche
10: Veracruz

“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.

S.I.A.E. 76111802708 | Chris Watson – “Cima Verde”

A new CD is being released in Italy to coincide with the Sound Threshold project, curated by Daniela Cascella and Lucia Farinati in Trentino as a parallel event to Manifesta 7, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art. [A press release about this event can be downloaded here]

Format: CD + Digipak
Catalogue Number: S.I.A.E. 76111802708
Label: Fondazione Edmund Mach and LoL Productions

Strictly limited edition now sold out and deleted

Following a period of residence at Monte Bondone and Paneveggio Park, Chris Watson has been invited to explore the acoustic phenomena of Trentino and capture the atmospheres and sounds of the alpine environment. A series of sound recordings made in situ, resulting in the CD Cima Verde, present the soundscapes uncovered by Watson, which capture the change in seasons from winter to spring, the different degrees of altitude, the reawakening of sounds on the cusp between night and day and the alternating and mixing of audio signals that characterise different natural habitats. Cima Verde, co-produced by Fondazione Edmund Mach and LoL Productions, will be launched on Wednesday 16 July 2008 at CEALP, and is the first project commissioned to Watson by an Italian organisation. Cima Verde is also the title of the surround sound installation, created from the recordings gathered during Watson’s residency at CEALP for Sound Threshold, which will be presented at MANIFESTA 7 from 19 July to 2 November. The installation will be part of Auditory Epode, curated by Adam Budak with Tobi Maier (Manifattura Tabacchi, piazza della Manifattura 1, Rovereto, every day from 10 am to 7 pm, Fridays till 9 pm www.manifesta7.it).

[NB – this is not a Touch release, and we took no part in the design or production of this CD. The recordings were commissioned for Manifesta 7 and edited by Chris during the festival.]

Chris Watson writes:

“Dosso D’Abramo, Cornetto and Cima Verde. Above the three peaks of Monte Bondone there is air in motion; ice crystals, water vapour and changing pressure mix and merge into an annual dance across a deep blue sky.

This is sound into light.

Down alpine slopes, across high pastures and into the forests a frozen mountain of sound thaws out from a mono bloc and into an ordered seven stage descent through 3000m of unique acoustic habitats. Shapes and music, rhythm and sound, a series of ritual performances for animal ears.”

Track Listing:

1: Air in Motion At 3000m and -25C, a gathering of elements in a place where we cannot tread.
2: Cima Verde Deep jumbled chords snatched from the summit by passing ravens.
3: Bucaneve A snow field melting out into a high pasture sound stage for a blackgrouse performance.
4: Aguane Passing voices… [thanks to Pascal Wyse for contributing ‘Water voices from Paneveggio’]
5: Scanuppia At 0400h this morning Renato, Silvia and I walked quietly into this high forest, it was very dark within. By dim torch light Renato skilfully picked our route across the steep slopes to avoid noisy steps on the remaining patches of ice and snow. 0500h and pale greyness through the canopy of spruce trees by the time we pressed up against the trunks to conceal ourselves and await the capercallie leks. Five spirits of the forest dancing in small clearings all around.
6: Le Crone Daniela, Lucia and I listen and wait. It’s 0430h and way off, through the birches and limes, tawny owls signal a change and over the next ninety minutes we hear the darkness change into light. Unseen songs spilling out of the woodland, a chorus of resident birds now in harmony with African migrants.
7: Valle dei Venti Michele met Pascal and I in Vezzano and then drove us through the darkness down remote tracks alongside orchards and vineyards to places where from his memory and experience we might find that one very particular sound. Times of stopping and listening. Finally in the small hours and with a background of rural activity the clear silver song of a nightingale recently arrived from it’s long flight and hidden in deep cover. A nocturnal solo soon enveloped within the ambient dawn chorus.
[Chris Watson 16th May 2008]

TS02 | Chris Watson – “Pacificus Oceanus”

TS02

Touch Sevens 02
7″ vinyl only

Cut by Jason at Transition 7th August 2007

Track list:

A. 3m
B. 10m

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

Locked grooves…

Tone 27 | Chris Watson & BJNilsen – Storm

TONE27 - Storm - Chris Watson  BJNilsen

CD – 3 Tracks – 50:09

Chris Watson writes:

“During December 2000 several significant storm fronts developed across the North Sea and Scandinavia.

Benny remarked to me that he had recorded some of these on the Baltic coast and proposed a collaborative cd project based around our mutual interests in the rhythms and music created when the elements combine over land and out to sea.

We spent the next few years gathering recordings on our respective coastlines and islands during the very active weather windows during the autumnal equinox and winter solstice. This was focused around our following one particular cyclonic system, which veers over Snipe Point on Lindisfarne to the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth, and finally descends upon Öland and Gotland where Benny listened in with a favourite pair of Sennheiser omnidirectional microphones.”

Chris Watson
Newcastle upon Tyne August 2006

Tracklisting:

1. Chris Watson – No Man’s Land 15:51

Late October on the strands of Budle Bay where dense layers of transient alien voices are swamped by a full moon tide creeping across the island’s silver causeway.

Now lapping out of the gathering gloom an immersive sea wash is filling then draining away carrying slow currents from here to another place.

There are no reference points in this darkness.

Glimmer dawn in the gaping mouth of a sea cave below Tarbet Gulley where the siren songs of Cromarty, Forth & Tyne ebb and flow with the swell.

Draw in close but hear now a fresh voice from beyond the horizon.

Recorded during the months of October & November from 2000 to 2005 on the North East coast of England and Scotland. Microphones; Sennheiser 2 x MKH 110’s binaural pair, MKH 60/30 M&S rig, DPA 2 x 4060’s spaced omnis. Recorders; Nagra lV-S, Nagra Pll and Sound Devices 744T. Edited and Mixed in Boston July 2006

2. BJNilsen & Chris Watson – SIGWX 18:50

Viking, Forties; Cyclonic North East gale 8 backing North later 3 to 4.Thundery rain, moderate to good.

Mixed in Boston and Stockholm June & July 2006

3. BJNilsen – Austrvegr 15:28

A black ruthless sea. Heavy winds making it impossible to stand up straight, icy rain hitting your face like needles.

Recorded on the southeast coast of islands Gotland and Öland, Sweden, using a pair of Sennheiser 110 binaural mics straight to a Tascam DA P1 DAT during December 2003 and July 2004. Locations used included cottages, sheds, barns, fields and the coast. Edited and Mixed in Stockholm 2006

TO:47 | Weather Report

TO47 - Weather Report - Chris Watson

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.

This is 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.

Track list and notes:

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.

Chris has released two previous solo albums for Touch, Outside the Circle of Fire [1998] and Stepping into the Dark [1996], as well as contributions for samplers and compilations for Ash International. His work was also used as source material for the compilation Star Switch On [2002], with contributions from AER, Biosphere, Fennesz, Hazard, Philip Jeck & Mika Vainio, as well as two tracks from Chris himself.

Chris is possibly best known for his sound recordings for BBC TV, particularly the “Life of…” series written and hosted by Sir David Attenborough. But his preferred media are cds and the radio. He has presented several programmes; “A Small Slice of Tranquillity”, “NightTime is the Right Time”, “Sound Advice” and “Tyneside Dawn”, all broadcast on BBC Radio 4. His work has been described as “the freakiest all natural techno disc ever” by City Newspaper [USA].

Chris was previously a member of the popular beat trio Cabaret Voltaire.

As Sasha Frere-Jones wrote in Time Out, New York, in 1999: “Listen to your world. It may be more interesting than all the things you buy to escape from it.”

TO:37 | Outside the Circle of Fire

TO37 - Outside The Circle Of Fire - Chris Watson

CD – 22 Tracks

The purr of a cheetah 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.

Akin, IRDIAL:

“An exhilarating journey into nature’s most private sonic ceremonies. Dreamily voyeuristic. Mysterious, perplexing, shocking and beautiful all at once. The Jaguar will destroy you.

Tracklist:

1. WAITING

Close up against a baobab tree, a cheetah, waiting… resting by Beobab tree. Pamuzinda, Zimbabwe, June 1994. Sennheiser mkh 416 to Nagra 4s

2. BREATHING IN COLD AIR

Breathing in cold air, Southern Right Whale

3. HORSE OF THE WOODS

Capull coille, ‘horse of the Caledonian woods’

4. SONG

Red rumped tinkerbird song

5. AT DUSK

The Maasai say hippos spend the day on the river bed telling jokes. At dusk they surface, laughing. Hippopotami emerging from the River Mara at dusk Itong Plains, Kenya. Sept. 1994. Sennheiser mkh 0/30* via SQN4s to TCD-D3.

6. WINTER FLAGS

Winter Flags on a spring tide. 20 000 knot find a roost

7. MACHINE NOISE

In the hollow ring of a ruined bothy, a starling mimics the noise of farm machinery

8. CANOPY

Dry topical contact calls follow spider monkeys through the canopy

9. SONG

Lemon rumped tinkerbird song

10. ACROSS THE IRIS BEDS

An evening chorus of corncrakes across the iris beds

11.THREAT

A lioness threatens

12. CRACKING VISCERA

Vultures taste the dry, crackling viscera inside the rib cage of a zebra carcass. Nine birds feeding on a zebra carcass. Itong Plains, Kenya. Sept. 1994. Sony ECM 77’s x 2**, 250m cable via SNQ4s to Sony TCD-D3.

13. DEEP ROAR

The deep roar of a red deer stag

14. UNKNOWN FOREST

Unknown forest duet, singing hidden in tree canopy. Dry tropical rain forest, Nancite, Costa Rica. Feb. 1995. Telinga mic and reflector to Nagra SNN.

15. OUT OF OUR SIGHT

Out of our sight, motionless anticipation, along the dry sandy banks of the Zambesi a mozambique nightjar is sucking in all the remaining light, singing amongst sandy scrub on the banks of the river Zambezi, Zimbabwe.Oct. 1996. Sennheiser mkh 30/60* via SQN4s to PDR1000.

16. LEAF LITTER

Leaf litter insect detail. Rain forest, Cameroon. June 1997. Telinga ‘Science’ capsule at 50cm to PDR1000.

17. SOULS OF DEAD CHILDREN

The souls of dead children are said to pass into kittiwakes

18. FOREST RIDE

Wood pigeon wings across a forest ride

19. SLEEPING IN WARM AIR

Elephants, sleeping in warm air, family group asleep in rough grassland. Maasai Mara, Kenya. Feb. 1996. Sennheiser mkh 30/60* via SQN4s to PDR1000.

20. RATTLE OF WOOD

Deathwatch beetles, the rattle of wood over a black stream

21. MOONLIT FOG

Tawny owls sing in moonlit fog

22. CONTACTS

Hyena contacts, contact whoops, Billashaka Luger, Maasai Mara, Kenya. Feb. 1996. Sennheiser mkh 30/60* via SQN4s to PDR1000.

TO:27 | Stepping into the Dark

TO27 - Stepping Into The Dark - Chris Watson

Chris’s first album for Touch. The tracks are the atmospheres of “special places”, recorded with the use of camouflaged microphones.

CD – 12 Tracks – 59:43
PDF Booklet + text file inc. liner notes and images

The tracks are the atmospheres of “special places”, recorded with the use of camouflaged microphones.

“In recent years I have noticed that some of the locations I visited as a sound recordist displayed remarkable and particular characteristics. These may be sparkling acoustics, a special timbre, sometimes rhythmic, percussive or transient animal sounds. Without a doubt, playing a recording made at one of these sites can recreate a detailed memory of the original event. Also, as others have described, there is an intangible sense of being in a special place — somewhere that has a spirit — a place that has an ‘atmosphere’. These recordings avoid background noise, human disturbance and editing. They are made using sensitive microphones camouflaged and fixed in position usually well in advance of any recording or animal behaviour. The mics. are then cabled back on very long leads to a hide or concealed recording point, the aim being to capture the actual sound within each particular location without external influence. Sites are discovered by researching local natural or social history, by interpreting features on a map or through anecdote and conversation with people about their feelings for or against particular places. The author and researcher Tom Lethbridge identified the sources of several spirits within the topography of the area. I suspect that this also includes flora and fauna, local time of day, the weather and the season. The following recordings are the atmospheres of special places.” (Chris Watson)

Tracklist and notes:

1. Low Pressure

0810h 6th October 1994

Wind wherever the sound recordist operates is an obvious nuisance. Just as it is with turbulent seas and fast-running water, it is relatively simple to make a recording that captures the generalised bashing and cashing of the elements, but this results in white noise that describes nothing of the detailed ebb and flow as witnessed. The remarkable thing here, in Glen Cannich, was that i could walk through the foci of these wind sounds within a few paces, as if being part of some great instrument. The blast here was so strong that it took some time to fix the microphones securely – I felt surrounded by the full force of the elements being channelled through this site, and wanted the recording to reflect the bent-double posture and sheer physicality I was experiencing. I cabled back 50 or 60m to a sheltered position and managed to run the tape for almost ten minutes before the microphones were blown over.

2. Embleton Rookery

0600h 7th May 1983

The churchyard looks out to the sea and across to the castle at Dunstanburgh Head, the vertigo cliff face forming a curve to create what was once a remote deep water harbour, used by Tudor monarchs. Maybe shipwrecked sailors have returned, reincarnated as the rooks that have chosen upon the old stone church in Embleton, whose name itself gives off a particular hum. Is it that the rooks are only rooks, and they sound dark to us because the Black Birdhas so many associations with malevolence and ill-omen? Lethbridge might have said that the birds come here, largely due to this always pagan site having obvious associations with the strong atmosphere of its ley lime and ritual past. Today, cars file past on their way to a family picnic on the promontory.

Go there at dawn, or last thing at night, out of traffic hours, and another sound takes over. The acoustic of the place spins the parliament of the rooks through the cold air, its stillness, and into the timeless chaos, as always, driven on by the ringing of the bells.

3. The Crossroads

0620h 27th March 1994

This morning the conditions were just right. This crossroads at Smalesmouth in the Kielder Forest, I am told, connects two of the ‘old straight tracks’ upon which Scottish drovers would herd their livestock south across the open hill. Today, the forest clearing is home to a host of bird, both resident and migrant. Here, however, end of March, the birdsong comes from local voices at the peak of their activity. So at our usual site on the junction of the forest tracks, recording began just after the light came up. The cold, dry air was full of detail, this isolated spot quickly reanimated by the ringing song and calls of chaffinch, robin, wren, songthrush, siskin and crossbill…

4. River Mara At Dawn

0615h 16th September 1994

A looping curve up river is edged with lush riverene forest. The location is spectacular, but its splendour has to co-exist with an oft-repeated stress on being vigilant; one does not wander alone on foot about the Maasai Mara.

Having set the mics, I cabled back some distance to the Land Rover and started to record. Eventually, building with the heat, were the convergent sounds of swirling water, black kites, wind through the surrounding vegetation and a blanket covering if flies.

5. River Mara At Night

2130h 16th September 1994

The same evening, Francis asked one of the other Maasai guards to take me back up river. Nightfall brings more danger. The hippos, who spend the day in the river, come out and graze on the vegetation, and can be very threatening animals… more people are killed by hippos than they are by lions.

The ‘atmosphere’ had changed. Listening for the wooden chimes of tree frogs, we were met by heavy rhythm, a wall of nocturnal sound. Moths and night flying beetles are being hunted – you can hear the deep octaval roar as they come close to the microphone. The metallic sounds, I suspect, are the acoustic calls of bats.

6. A Passing View

2350h 3rd April 1992

Today, Fai – a local fisherman, took us into the huge mangrove forests at Los Olovitos by canoe. We had spoken about some of the special places in the mangroves and in the early afternoon we stopped at a resting place bordering the lake. It was hot, humid and very quiet. I cabled some mics out into the water’s edge with the idea of returning before dawn the following day. Curiosity forced my return that night when I heard and recorded these mechanical sounds of fishing bats in the darkness. Afterwards, in torchlight, I could watch these beautiful, long-legged russet coloured animals trawling for small fish feeding on the surface of the water.

7. Bosque Seco

0540h 6th April 1995

I left the camp at 0500h this morning and followed the winding path east towards my marker. Within the forest it was still very dark and quiet, with rising warm dry air. Just as the light was breaking through the canopy, I found my site at a fork in the path. I rigged up the tape recorder. The temperature began to climb like a jet off a runway. The acoustics changed, the orchestra awoke and the forest found its rhythm.

8. Sunsets

2230h 16th May 1994

During the late afternoon I cabled the equipment out into the marsh from a track. At 2000h I went back to listen out for the evening chorus of snipe. On the ground, they are cryptic birds and will choose their spot, usually reedy and damp, close to their very well camouflaged nestling places in tussocks and long grass.

The evening was quiet until the point at which the light dramatically changes and colour vision vanishes. At this hour, the snipe will perform. In an amazing ritual and localised aerial display, they dive vertically like guided missiles towards the water, the sound of their tail feathers buzzing through the air.

9. The Blue Men Of The Minch

1400h 30th July 1994

I was fortunate enough to borrow a hydrophone from the research station at Cromarty. Five metres beneath the surface of the Moray Firth and directly over a particular deep water channel, common seals roar during their diving displays. Within a 1km radius of the hydrophone, bottle-nosed dolphins navigate and hunt using echo locating clicks. Occasionally they communicate with their unique signature whistles.

10. High Pressure

0550h 25th February 1994

On the hilltop, there was no shelter this morning from the intense biting cold – or a feeling of growing anticipation. The hard dry air gripped the trees and margins of the pool – now frozen, with only one small area of water by the mics.

Daybreak revealed a small constricted community of coot, mallard, widen and teal.

11. Gahlitzerstrom

1740h 5th October 1993

Observing from a hide over the previous two days, the cranes have followed a similar path towards their roost out on the waters of Udarser Wiek. In particular, they seem to favour a narrow channel to navigate east to west – flying in low over the end of a thin spit of brown reedy marshland where earlier this afternoon I concealed the mics.

In Greek mythology, Hermes is said to have envisioned the Greek alphabet by watching the beating wings of cranes as they passed by his line of sight. Their calls and signs remain across the centuries…

12. The Forest Path

0625h 7th October 1994

It was raining hard – there was cover under the edge of a large dark section of mature plantation. Gradually, out from the background, came the crook of distant stags. A rich, velvet acoustic rolling down through the trees and suspended in a low clinging mist.

Many of the tracks will be used for the forthcoming iOS app, Nimbus, was launched on September 10th 2014 in Brighton.