Namib – Sound Installation at Indexical, Santa Cruz for Touch.40 | 29-30th April 2022

In 2022 Touch (Chris Watson’s label and publisher) will celebrate forty years of activity; so we thought we’d organize a few events to mark this achievement, not only to reflect on the long journey but also cast our eyes on what the future might hold for the creative arts. This multi-channel sound event in Santa Cruz, California, takes place April 29th-30th 2022.

You can read an interview with Chris about this piece here


Extending over 2,000 miles down the Atlantic coast of West and South Africa, the Namib desert is an ancient and unique landscape; a vast mobile ocean of sand where humans mostly fear to tread.

‘Namib’ is a multi-channel composition created from location recordings made over the last eight years from the Skeleton coast to remote interior dunes.

The piece reflects a timescale beyond our reckoning; it aims to compress 50 million years of evolution into a 20 minute surround soundscape.

‘Namib’ will trace the sound shift created by a dense Atlantic fog bank as it swirls inland before sunrise and transforms the acoustics around the huge sandstone outcrops along the bone dry banks of the Kuiseb river. This event brings moisture and life to the flora and fauna whilst the reduced visibility allows the listener to tune into one of the few spaces left on our planet not smeared with noise pollution.

The Namib is a place to listen back in time, above and below the surface. The piece reveals the deep rhythms and sound of an evolving sand dune, from individual grains to moving mountain as it creeps in advance of the prevailing winds.

After dark, the dunes, cliffs and valleys are patrolled by an emerging alien empire. Insects vibrate and sing into the night air – a vital and dangerous practice as advertising for a mate also sends signals to the acute auditory senses of predators, large and small, that stalk amongst the stillness of the sands. [Chris Watson, January 25th 2022]

Indexical and tickets

‘Namib’ will be introduced by Mike Harding and is part of a series of events celebrating 40 years of Touch.