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

Life would have no meaning without us listening | BBC Radio 4 December 2015 – January 2016

THE LISTENERS
BBC Radio 4, Tuesday evening , 22 Dec 2015 – 5 Jan 2016 at 21.02
(repeated Wednesdays at 15.30)

Presenter Chris Watson
Producer Sarah Blunt

“Life would have no meaning without us listening”

In this three-part series, we meet individuals whose professional lives and/or personal lives are focused listening and interpreting the sounds they hear. The first programme focuses on human speech; words, dialect and language. In the second programme we meet individuals who listen to the sounds of places and spaces as we explore the world of echolocation and reverberation, and in the third programme we meet three individuals for whom listening is much more than an aural experience; but something much deeper motivating their work and their lives.

Forest Fables | 3-6 November 2015

A series of sound rich stories commissioned by the Guardian to reinvent the forest fable. Each piece is set in a particular British Woodland and was recorded on location with award winning sound recordist Chris Watson and Pascal Wyse. The series is sponsored by The Woodland Trust and features new stories from Ali Smith, Alan Garner, Evie Wyld and Alec Finlay.

Produced by Alannah Chance with original recordings and sound design by Chris Watson and Pascal Wyse

1. Written by Ali Smith
In the first of a series of exclusive sound stories inspired by the UK’s woodlands, the award-winning writer weaves a spellbinding tale from an encounter between a boy and a strange green child

2. Written by Alan Garner
In the second of our series of exclusive sound stories celebrating Britain’s forests, Alan Garner reads his own tale of a newcomer who finds ‘ancient noise’ beneath the choked underlife of of Cheshire’s woodlands

3. Written by Alec Finlay
In the third of our series of exclusive sound stories celebrating Britain’s forests, the Scottish poet and artist Alec Finlay reads his tale of a mythical submerged woodland

4. Written by Evie Wyld
In our fourth exclusive sound story celebrating Britain’s forests, the Granta young British novelist Evie Wyld reads her unsettling tale of marital tension at the end of times

www.theguardian.com/books/series/forest-fables

Slow Television: Dawn Chorus | BBC4 4th May 2015

dawnchorus

You will be able to view shortly after broadcast here

Creative Award Winner | Resolution Magazine

Winners of the Creative Awards are Ed Harcourt, Robert Edwards, Chris Watson, Michael Narduzzo and ICP Studios, Belgium…
www.resolutionmag.com

A New Age of Surround Sound | Surrey University 16th October 2014

A new age of surround sound: spatial audio at the frontiers of contemporary art, technology and science

Professor Tony Myatt – Inaugural Lecture with special guest performer, Chris Watson
Prof Tony Myatt presents a lecture, illustrated with spatial audio demonstrations, about the concepts, art and practice of contemporary spatial audio. Tony will discuss loudspeaker technologies, recording, live performances and presentations, in the context of contemporary audio practice and will illustrate his unique methods of perceptually informed sound spatialisation, based on the creation of information-rich sound environments.

Following the lecture, Tony will be joined by one of the world’s leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena, Chris Watson, to present a post-lecture, live, multi-spatial surround sound performance.

The event will conclude with a drinks reception. Free but ticketed…

“To close your eyes was to lose yourself in a virtual environment of birds, church bells, foxes, distant road traffic and the ever present aural horizon of the sea.” (The Guardian)

In Conversation…

Discussing the ‘spirit of place’ and the art of listening with BBC natural history sound-recordist Chris Watson, and environmental writer and musician Rob St John. Recorded live from Port Eliot Festival 2014 for The Nest Collective Hour on Resonance 104.4 FM
Listen here

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.

Nimbus | September 2014

Free sonic paintbox app featuring Chris Watson’s sound recordings – available from September

Chris Watson has been working in collaboration with arts collective The Nimbus Group to create a new immersive sound painting app featuring Watson’s precise and stark sound recordings of the natural world.

Nimbus uses experimental approaches to transport users to places and experiences including: the inside of an animal carcass as it is being eaten, a Mozambique Nightjar singing on the banks of the Zambezi, and a family of elephants sleeping in grassland on the Massai Mara.

Nimbus will be available for free download from The Nimbus Group website from 10 September 2014.

You can read more here:
The Wire
FACT

President of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society

The Society is proud and honoured to welcome the acclaimed wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson as its President. Chris is well-known across the world for his recordings which have featured in many natural history programmes on radio and television including the BBC’s series ‘Frozen Planet’ with David Attenborough which won a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ (2012).
www.wildlife-sound.org

One Minute of Listening

Minute of Listening is an exciting and innovative project that has the potential to provide all primary-aged children with the opportunity to experience sixty seconds of creative listening each day of the school year. By downloading a simple application to their laptops, desktops or interactive whiteboards, teachers can bring a wealth of sonic resources into their classrooms.
www.minuteoflistening.org
For a full list of contributors:
www.minuteoflistening.org/pages/partners

The Acoustic City

acoustic city2

The Acoustic City, edited by Matthew Gandy and BJ Nilsen.

This book is now for sale in the TouchShop, where you can find more information and track listing on the CD, including a track recorded by Chris Watson…

The Acoustic City consists of a series of cutting-edge essays on sound and the city accompanied by a specially commissioned CD with field recordings, compositions, and music. The book will comprise five thematic sections: sound mappings including cartographic and conceptual approaches to the representation and interpretation of soundscapes; sound cultures including specific associations between place, music and sound; acoustic flânerie and the recording of urban sounds (including bats, birds and urban nature) as well as reflections on the “auditory self” with links to cultural history and literary theory; acoustic ecology including relationships between architecture, sound, and urban design; and the politics of sound extending to human well-being, noise abatement, and the changing characteristics of ambient sound. This innovative essay collection will be of interest to a wide range of disciplines including architecture, cultural studies, geography, musicology and urban sociology.

Geosonics| Interview with Soniccouture

Chris Watson is probably the world’s most famous field recordist. Without a doubt he has more recordings of animal sounds than we could listen to in a lifetime, However, we’re straying slightly off of animal recordings and into Watson’s collection of natural sounds – and how they ended up as one of the most unique and exciting sampled instruments: Geosonics by Soniccouture. Designing Sound chatted with Soniccouture’s James Thompson about the project.

The making of Geosonics by Soniccouture

Foundling Museum’s 2014 Fellowship

foundling

CORNELIA PARKER, LEMN SISSAY, CHRIS WATSON – ANNOUNCED AS 2014 FELLOWS FOR FOUNDLING MUSEUM’S 10th ANNIVERSARY YEAR

The Foundling Museum has announced the appointment of the 2014 Foundling Fellows, joining the Fellowship in the 10th anniversary year of the Foundling Museum in London and also coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the death of William Hogarth, whose donation of paintings to the Hospital laid the foundations of the collection of the Museum.

You can read the full press release here

www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk

David Attenborough: My Life In Sound

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In an exclusive interview for BBC Radio 4, David Attenborough talks to Chris Watson about his life in sound.
Monday 16 December
11.00-11.30am

You can now here this episode on iPlayer
BBC RADIO 4

One of Sir David’s first jobs in natural history filmmaking was as a wildlife sound recordist. Recorded in Qatar, Sir David is with Chris Watson (a current wildlife sound recordist), and is there to make a film about a group of birds he is passionate about, The Bird of Paradise. It is in Qatar where the world’s largest captive breeding population is and it is in this setting Chris takes Sir David back to the 1950s and his early recording escapades, right through to today where Sir David narrates a series of Tweet Of The Days on Radio 4 across the Christmas and New Year period.

Presenter/ Chris Watson, Producer/ Julian Hector for the BBC

The Sound of One Ant Walking | Radio Times December 2013

Inside the world of a wildlife audio expert

Chris Watson, who has worked on Attenborough’s Frozen Planet and Life in the Undergrowth, shares a remarkable insight into sound recording, some exclusive clips – and his feelings about music in wildlife shows.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award 2013

Chris Watson has been awarded a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award 2013 for Composers, along with Emily Hall and Bryn Harrison

The full list can be found here

Click here for more information

The Spectator | October 2013

Sometimes Radio 3 tries to be too clever by half

“…The most extraordinary sound of the week was actually something so common and heard almost every day even by those mired in the inner city. Chris Watson, the sound recordist who to great effect spends days and nights outdoors making wildlife programmes, took his recording equipment into Newcastle’s Central Station. One evening, at dusk, after all the commuters had gone home, he picked up a single melody, the song of a blackbird. As Watson explained, ‘The song rolled down on to the track and filled the southern entrance to the station,’ echoing through the vast Victorian amphitheatre. This is why we keep listening — odd moments of pure sound, instant connection.” [Kate Chisholm]