Shadows and Reflections: the annual collection of postings in which our contributors and friends consider the events that’ve shaped the past twelve months. As we begin the new year, Chris Watson looks back on 2018
CHRIS WATSON, making audible the inaudible
Words by Meritxell Rosell
24.00 – 00.30
Sound recordist Chris Watson captures the changing soundscape from dawn to dusk in the Kalahari Desert in south western Africa. As the light fades, you can see very little but hear everything; from the close up sounds of insects to the far-carrying contact calls of spotted hyenas. Producer Sarah Blunt.
Made for 4 Extra. Wildlife recordist Chris Watson examines some of the ways technology has changed the radio we listen to, from early experiments in sound to the podcast explosion.
A Weekend of music and performance to mark the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 Armistice which ended the 1st World War
SATURDAY 10 & SUNDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2018 BOILER SHOP, NEWCASTLE
Sat 10th November – British Sea Power + Bas Jan
AM – Sun 11th November – Chris Watson + breakfast + Luke Turner (The Quietus) in conversation with Chris Watson + Richard Dawson.
PM – Sun 11th November – Shirley Collins
To mark the centenary of Armistice Day, Boiler Shop presents ‘100 Years’, a weekend of unique events curated by the venue’s Richard Clouston andDaveid Phillips with author and editor of The Quietus, Luke Turner.
Much loved UK institution British Sea Power will play on Saturday 10th November with support from London based experimental post punk trio Bas Jan, built around the remarkable and distinctive voice and songs of multi-instrumentalist Serafina Steer.
In the very early hours of Sunday 11th November, world-renowned sound recordist Chris Watson will present ‘A Nightingale on The Western Front’, a multichannel sound composition recorded in the battle sites of Flanders. This event will run from 5:00am to 7:30am on the Mezzanine for a limited audience of 80 people, followed by breakfast and a Q and A session with Chris andLuke Turner. Then a very special live show from Newcastle’s own Richard Dawson.
The weekend will conclude with a live show from the legendary English folk singer
Shirley Collins, who released her first album in 30 years, 2016’s brilliant ‘Lodestar’.
We hope 100 Years will be a poignant reflection on sacrifice and a dignified celebration of peace.
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival presents the premiere of Enceindre, a new commission and first collaboration between artist filmmaker Luke Fowler and acclaimed sound recordist Chris Watson. Enceindre is a study in film and sound of two 16th century fortified cities: Berwick in the North-East of England and Pamplona in the Navarre region of the North of Spain.
If fortifications are considered ‘the body of the place’, what does it means to live in a body that is outside of time and without purpose? Could these fortress towns be considered hetrotopias? Or are they, as the writer WG Sebald vividly describes, alien structures denuded from human history? Enceindre adopts an infra-sensitive approach to place, drawing on unheard acoustic perspectives and lucid camerawork to propose a new framework in which to consider these anachronistic landscapes.
The film’s world premiere at BFMAF 2018 will be immediately followed by a ‘dark cinema’ version of the film with an alternative soundtrack diffused live by Chris Watson.
Commission supported by LUMA Foundation, Outset Scotland and Berwick-upon-Tweed Town Council
For the workshop with legendary field recordist and former Cabaret Voltaire member Chris Watson at the 2018 Meakusma Festival, there are still a few places available.
Chris Watson needs no introduction. After leaving Cabaret Voltaire in 1981, he set out on a career as a field recordist specialized in natural history. His work is mostly released on the Touch label. He also works for television, radio and makes installations. He also does work for computer games.
Participants to the workshop will meet with and be taken on a sound walk and night recording session in the High Fens by Chris Watson and Mike Harding of the Touch label. Afterwards, an audio CD will be published using the recordings.
We are proud to have Watson and Harding over at the festival as their presence and the planned CD with audience participation is very much what the Meakusma Festival wishes to stand for.
Jez riley French
& guest artists
A unique gathering of listeners in this area of stunning Scottish landscapes and diverse recording opportunities. Geographically Glenshee offers Munros (mountains over 3000 feet), loch’s, rivers and glens. The trip promises to be a rich source of inspiration, listening and recording possibilities and a chance to discuss and share knowledge around the subjects of located sound, acoustic ecology and contemporary sound practice in its varied forms. Additionally for this trip each of the guest artists will offer their insights into the relationship between located sound and the image (still and moving). We’ll have talks, q&a sessions and a highly enjoyable 16mm found footage workshop.
cost: £795 per person (which includes 6 nights full board accommodation in Glenshee, on the edge of the Cairngorms)
for more information and to secure your place please visit the website:
Ephemera now presents Foris, an immersive installation created by acclaimed field recordist Chris Watson, Schoen and visual artist MFO – also involved in Ephemera from the start. Centered around the idea of preserving endangered ecosystems in the era of the anthropocene, a multichannel installation of field recordings of selected habitats from across the planet interconnects with the olfactory concept of a forest created by Geza Schoen. Like the initial phase of this unique project, Foris will connect to the next series of Ephemera perfume, to be launched in 2019.
BBC Radio 4 New series begins 10th July 2018 for 12 weeks
Broadcast Tuesdays 1102 and repeated on Mondays at 2102
PIKE – 10th July 2018. Brett Westwood journeys into dangerous waters to explore our relationship with the fearsome and predatory Pike. Wildlife sound recordings Chris Watson. Producer Sarah Blunt
NARWHAL – 14th August 2018. Brett Westwood explores our relationship with an Arctic Legend, the Narwhal. This Unicorn of the Sea is not only extraordinary in appearance, but tantalising difficult to study! Additional sound recordings Chris Watson. Producer Sarah Blunt
SHORT WORKS – As I Walked Out One Morning in May
BBC Radio 4 Fri 27th July 1545, rpt Sun 30 July 0030
Death meets the Lady in this short ghostly story written and narrated by Paul Evans which is inspired by a 19th Century ballad, local folklore and the sounds of a woodland. The singer is Elizabeth Counsell. Sound Recordings Chris Watson. Produced by Sarah Blunt.
THE COMPASS – Living with Nature
BBC World Service
The world as you’ve never heard it before. Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson presents a guide to the sounds of four very different global habitats; the Plains, Desert, Mountain and Forest and explores the relationship between these soundscapes in Kenya, Namibia, Norway and India, the wildlife and the local people. Producer Sarah Blunt
25th July – Plains
1st August – Desert
8th August – Mountain
15th Aug – Forest
17 carefully selected artists have been invited to perform on the new d&b Soundscape stage.
VOICES & BORDERS
The Multicultural Festival of Dance, Music, Images
With Chris Watson, Ariella Vidach, ZimmerFrei, Carlos Casas, Fondazione Nazionale della Danza
Opening nights, shows, free workshops and performances
The sounds of the planet’s oceans in an unpublished live and the rhythms of the city to run after in the Sempione park, the bodies of migrant women coming from the southern shores of the Mediterranean in a dancing ritual. Then documentaries on popular tales born in suburban bars and in ports of the seaside towns and artistic walks through Milano Chinatown Via Paolo Sarpi.
Voices & Borders is the multicultural festival of dance, music and images, promoted by Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli from 11 to 15 July in Viale Pasubio 5 in Milan.
Five days with five artists: Chris Watson (sound recording), Ariella Vidach and Fondazione Nazionale della Danza (dance), ZimmerFrei and Carlos Casas (video art); a key word for every artist – water, democracy, rebellion, city, diversity – able to tell to the public some of the most important topics addressed Stagione Ribelle, the program of initiatives of Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli that has animated the research center spaces by September 2017 to July 2018.
Shirley Collins, Richard Dawson, British Sea Power, Bas Jan and Chris Watson will all be appearing at an event in Newcastle this November to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. 100 Years takes place at the historic Boiler Shop venue on Armistice weekend.The centrepiece of the events will be a special work by Chris Watson called A Nightingale On The Western Front, a sound composition based on recordings made on the the WWI battlefields in Flanders. The piece will be presented from 5am to 7:30am on Armistice Day, and will be followed by a Q&A with Watson by The Quietus’ Luke Turner, co-curator of the event. This will be followed by a special early morning set from Richard Dawson. Shirley Collins will play on the evening of the 11th – her recent memoir All In The Downs deals poignantly with the impact that the war had on her immediate family, and the people of her rural Sussex childhood. The Armistice Day events follow a gig on the Saturday night by Bas Jan and British Sea Power. There are more events to be announced, but for now you can find tickets here. Newcastle’s Boiler Shop is a listed building where the Stephenson family built the first steam locomotives, and during WWI was used in the production of military aircraft.
8 January 2018 | 9am – 8pm
CRiSAP – Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice
London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, Elephant & Castle, London, SE1 6SB
BOOK TICKETS: £10 standard ticket, £5 unwaged / Low waged / Students, Free for TECHNE members.
Keynotes & Performances
J.R. Carpenter – Artist, writer and researcher
Laura Cannell – Musician, Specially Commissioned Bass Recorder Performance for LOMA
Chris Watson – BAFTA award winning sound recordist
James Dooley – Digital artist, awarded the LOMA 18 Artist Commission for Have you talked about the weather today?
Have you talked about the weather today? is a video and sound installation that uses live feeds from the International Space Station to ask questions about the way we engage with the weather.
The work invites the audience to take a virtual trip on the ISS —the ultimate indoors experience—and experience a sonic Baudrillardian simulacrum of ground level weather and atmospheric conditions relative to the ISS’s position above the Earth. By tracking the ISS and using the Dark Sky weather API service, data detailing current weather and atmospheric conditions at the ground point perpendicular to the position of ISS are collected via ‘The Cloud’. Temperature, humidity, cloud cover and precipitation are sonified using noise-based synthesis techniques, with sound spatialisation controlled by wind speed and direction. Weather statistics and a live video stream looking out of the ISS are projected onto the wall of the installation space to further emphasise the removal of the audience from the direct experience of outdoors.
Have you talked about the weather today? questions our perception and experience of the weather in relation to our ‘indoor’ lives, the structures and systems we create to sustain our existence and protect us from the elements, the resources they consume and the reciprocal feedback this has on global weather patterns. Through technological mediation we can localise our global experience, but it comes at a global cost.
Speaker: Chris Watson
Faculty of Arts, University of Wolverhampton and Institute of Acoustics (IOA), Midlands Branch
Date: Thursday 25 January 2018, 6pm for a 6.30pm start
Venue: The Black Box Theatre, The Performance Hub, Walsall
Chris Watson will describe and illustrate with sounds and images the journey he made to Antarctica and the South Pole as sound recordist for the BBC television series ‘Frozen Planet’ several years ago. This is a place described a century earlier by the film maker Herbert Ponting as the ‘Great White Silence’ when he filmed the ill fated journey of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s polar expedition. Watson will describe his experiences in discovering a sound rich environment under the surface of the ‘silence’.
Background: Watson was a founding member of the influential Sheffield based experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. 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 composer and sound recordist Watson specialises in creating spatial sound installations which feature a strong sense and spirit of place. His television work includes many programmes in the David Attenborough ‘Life’ series including ‘The Life of Birds’ which won a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ in 1996, and as the location sound recordist on the BBC’s series ‘Frozen Planet’ which also won a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ (2012). Watson has recorded and featured in many BBC Radio 4 productions including ‘The Wire’ which won him the Broadcasting Press Guild’s Broadcaster of The Year Award (2012). His music is regularly featured on the BBC Radio 3 programme ‘Late Junction’. In 2013 Watson received a Paul Hamlyn Composers Award. His installations have been commissioned by international galleries and festivals such as; Sheffield Millennium Gallery, Opera North in Leeds, The National Gallery, London, The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, The Louvre, Paris and the Aichi Triennial in Japan. His albums are released by Touch.
Attendance is free and everyone is welcome, but booking is required. If you have any queries please contact A.Foteinou@wlv.ac.uk.
The event is supported by PMC-The Professional Monitor Company
RECORDINGS BY CHRIS WATSON VECTOR SYNTHESIS
8GB Library | Kontakt Player compatible
The idea that certain places take on the weight of past events is familiar to all of us. Renowned field recordist Chris Watson has spent years collecting audio recordings from such places in one of his most personal projects.
Ancient Temples, Ice Lagoons, Cold War Bases, Abandoned Silver Mines, Power Stations, Cathedrals, Canyons, Underwater Tunnels, Deserted Art Galleries and Maori Burial Caves all feature in this unique instrument.
Until 12th January 2018 you can get 30% off Haunted Spaces
ENTER CODE: OISSYBUDE
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76pp full colour book + CD
33 tracks – 78:59
Limited edition of 1000
Release date: 11th December 2017
Into the Open
Mika Vainio – Behind the Radiators
AER – Just Before Dawn
Bethan Kellough – Twelve
Wire – A Year A Second [For BCG]
London in a Week
Carl Michael Von Hausswolff – Sine Missing One
Chris Watson – Deepcar
Jana Winderen – Bronx Tunnel
The Magical Land of the North
Claire M Singer – Storr
Hildur Gudnadottir – Death 200AD
Three 20 – Four Twelve
Philip Jeck – Deed of Gift
Walking on Water
Simon Scott – Storm of the Fens
Eleh – Overt One
The Love Train
Russell Haswell – Demons
Heitor Alvelos – Expectant
I’m a Schoolteacher on Holiday
Johann Johannsson – Mingyun
Mark Van Hoen – Prescient
Fennesz – Paint It Black (remastered)
Sohrab – JV Dream
It’s Enough to Make You Weep
Strafe FR – Virgin
Before The Sea @ Falasarna
Jim O’Rourke – Despite The Water Supply
Situation Stabilised / BJ Nilsen – Atom Mother
Peter Rehberg – Cinecom
Gateway to the Garden
Oren Ambarchi – Testify
The Sound of Eleven
In a 24/7 world there is no greater challenge than “to be in command of one’s own time”. Is it true that the ability to download anything, at any moment, constitutes freedom? Has the ‘value’ of music, art and design been stripped bare? “I Google, therefore I am”…
Touch MOVEMENTS has been compiled over the course of 3 years. It is a response to many requests for Touch to publish a fuller account of Jon Wozencroft’s photography for the cover art of the project. The book follows the music, which was compiled step-by-step, like a jigsaw – there was not an “open call” to the artists, rather a sequential development which gives the CD a special narrative quality. And since our last Touch 30 compilation in 2012, the accuracy of the music has grown and rises to the challenge of what sound can do to transform perceptions about the immediate emotion of musical work and its more difficult, longer term evolution.
Following Touch Folio 001 in 2015, this series is a dedication to finding new ways of audiovisual publishing, somewhere between the twin peaks of a jewel-cased CD and a lavish box-set. The two elements of sound and the visual work in parallel to create the idea of an “Ear-book”, whose interdependency reveals itself over time, and allows the richest of listening and viewing experiences. The music and the photography is fully annotated, alongside a rarely-seen manifesto by the Surrealist film-maker Jan Švankmajer which celebrates the spirit of the creative act.
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”.