“In the golden hour of evening light I fixed my favourite microphone array under a stand of ancient oaks and recorded in a surround format throughout the night and across the dawn. It was warm, dry and flat calm as I gathered a continuous long form piece within the woodland of stillness, drama and song as the night flowed into sunrise.”
A 9-hour dusk-til-dawn field recording from Holystone Oak Woodland in Northumberland as captured in binaural sound by Chris Watson. Experience it in real-time from 21.15 – 06.15 BST this Friday/Saturday June 12/13 exclusively through the Isolation Room YouTube channel (now available)
Put on your headphones…
Celebrated sound recordist Chris Watson has been using lockdown to explore some of the extraordinary wilderness locations a short trip away from his Northumberland home. At the top of his list is Holystone oak woodland in Northumberland National Park. Over one night at the start of this month Chris headed out with his recording equipment and a bivvy bag to capture the songs, sounds, and atmospheres of this ancient sacred forest.
The Sylvan Space is an continuous 8.5+ hour recording from sunset to sunrise, beginning in the magical ambience of the gloaming, through arcane animal activity in the short summer night, into the glorious early light and a tumult of birdsong. .
Roe deer bark, bat wings flutter, woodcock display on their roding flight, and somewhere a distant rifle rings out as warning to would-be poachers. There’s much activity in the ultrasonic range as Pipistrelle bats gorge on insects all around the mic. At 03.34 the first bird, a redstart, breaks the stillness and heralds the long and glorious choir of voices comprising the peak of the year’s dawn chorus.
The Sylvan Space will be played in real-time from 21.30 thru to 06.00 this Friday/Saturday June 12/13 exclusively through the Isolation Room YouTube channel
Chris Watson is one of the world’s foremost sound recordists with a particular and passionate interest in the sounds of animals and habitats from around the world. As a 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 for the BBC series ‘Frozen Planet’ which also won a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Factual Sound’ (2012).
Isolation Room is a YT channel dedicated providing the very best of binaural (aka ‘headphone surround’) recordings during lockdown. We are extremely happy to be able to add this unique field recording by Chris to our recent catalogue of live musical collaborations with Jónsi & Alex Somers, John Luther Adams as played by Oliver Coates, and Icelandic singer-songwriter JFDR. Further music collaborations with Mount Kimbie, Anna Calvi and Jockstrap are coming soon.
Outside of lockdown, Isolation Room works as Loss/Gain to stage real-life surround sound events, presenting new ways of experiencing work by artists such as Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Anna Meredith, London Contemporary Orchestra, Rival Consoles, Claire M Singer, Todd Dockstader, Colin Curry Group and others, interpreted for d&b Audio’s multi-channel Soundscape system. Watch this space.
Loss/Gain and Isolation Room are founded by veteran music manager John Best and sound artist David Sheppard.