Seven Sonic Wonders [Dolby] | March 2024

Introducing Seven Sonic Wonders – a groundbreaking album that takes you on an audio journey of incredible, rare and endangered sounds of our planet. From the majestic pop and rumble of Iceland’s Vatnajökull Glacier to the serene dawn birdsong in Finland, each track puts you at heart of the beauty and fragility of nature’s symphony in Dolby Atmos.

This extraordinary project brings together the talent and expertise of award-winning wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, award-winning composer Nainita Desai and Dolby Atmos mix engineer Kurt Martinez to create an unparalleled listening experience.

Available now on Apple Music with all proceeds going to EarthPercent to aid the preservation of these natural wonders.

Track listing:

A Glacier’s Journey (Beneath the Ice)
Endless Dawn Chris (Songs of Taiga)
Rings Angels
Deep Blue Voices
Laughing Hippos
Reef Whispers
Frog Beats (Gamboa)
Seven Sonic Wonders of the World

You can listen to many other recordings on Chris’s Bandcamp page here

Earthsounds | Apple TV February 2024

Apple TV+ revealed today the premiere date and official trailer for new 12-part documentary series “Earthsounds,” narrated by Golden Globe winner and Emmy Award nominee Tom Hiddleston. Filmed over 1,000 days across three and half years, “Earthsounds” reveals our planet like never before — a world buzzing with unexpected, unfamiliar and untold sonic stories that we have never been able to capture — until now. The series documents over 3,000 hours of audio, using cutting-edge technology to record our planet in brand-new ways. Filmed across 20 countries on all seven continents, “Earthsounds” will premiere all episodes globally on February 23 on Apple TV+

With contributions from Chris Watson & Jana Winderen

www.apple.com/tv-pr/news/2024/02/listen-up-apple-tv-reveals-the-world-premiere-and-trailer-for-new-docuseries-earthsounds-narrated-by-golden-globe-winner-and-emmy-award-nominee-tom-hiddleston/

The Secret World of Sound | Sky TV/NOW February 2024

Sky has today announced its brand new, ground-breaking nature series – Secret World of Sound with David Attenborough – will launch on Sunday 25 February on Sky Nature, as well as streaming service NOW.

Sky also unveiled the series trailer providing viewers a first look at this unique, three-part series, which explores how animals use sound to communicate, thrive and survive in the natural world.

Incredible footage captured throughout the documentary series will give viewers an intimate look at how baby caiman communicates with each other from within the egg, how lions and hyaenas battle in the dark using sound, how a strange fish baffled residents with its eerie hum, and how some birds have mastered the art of mimicry to remarkable effect. Packed with insight and new scientific discoveries, Secret World of Sound with David Attenborough will transport viewers into the natural world for an unforgettable experience full of wonder.

Filmed in 4K ultra-high definition, each episode of the series will feature in-depth stories of eight animals, followed by five-minutes of Behind-The-Scenes footage. Unveiling the very latest in audio technology, the series uses specially adapted cameras and laser vibrometers, which allows humans to truly eavesdrop on the animal world for the first time and discover new stories and information that have been hidden until now.

The series incorporates microphones so tiny, they fit on your fingertip, and so precise they can detect the noise of a baby caiman calling from inside the egg. With 360-Dolby Atmos Sound, viewers will experience the breath-taking sounds of the natural world as never heard before.

With contributions from Chris Watson

www.skygroup.sky/article/sky-nature-unveils-first-look-at-secret-world-of-sound-with-david-attenborough

A Tribute to Philip Jeck | Iklectik, London 16th September 2023

Saturday 16 September 2023 | Doors: 7pm
THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT

Touch, Iklectik & Mary Prestidge invite you to “A Tribute to Philip Jeck” at Iklectik, London on 16th September 2023.

7PM Doors

730PM Speakers: Mary Prestidge & Mike Harding

Chris Watson presents ‘Oxmardyke’, his recent collaboration with Jeck

830PM Liverpool Improvisation Collective
[Andrea Buckley, Paula Hampson, Mary Prestidge and Kate Brown]
‘Echoes of Philip’ an ensemble performance with dancers from Liverpool and London.

John Beaumont [Tenor] – Gregorian chant

Storyteller: Bryan O’Connell

9PM Jonathan Raisin
Piano solo. ‘in the absence…’ an improvisation, a memory… half a duet. Jonathan is a composer and improvising musician, based in Liverpool, who played with Philip several times over the last few years.

John Beaumont [Tenor] – Gregorian chant

Storyteller: Doug Gill

945PM Claire M Singer

Timings are approximate

Great Lives – Ludwig Koch | BBC Radio 4 29th August 2023

Musician and sound recordist Chris Watson nominates his hero, the broadcaster, ornithologist and first person ever to record birdsong, Ludwig Koch

Episode page

The award-winning Sound Recordist and Musician, Chris Watson nominates his hero, Ludwig Koch. In 1889, German-born Koch was the first person ever to record birdsong (at the age of 8) onto a wax cylinder recorder, given to him by his father as a toy. Despite a promising baritone voice and being a very good violinist, the first world war put paid to Ludwig Koch’s career as a musician and he began working for the German branch of EMI recording cityscapes, before going on to invent the ‘sound book’, a nascent sort of multimedia that became very popular in Germany before the second world war. As a Jew and an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime, Koch fled Germany in 1936 for England, sadly leaving his many recordings behind. But his theatrical delivery, unique voice and the fact that, as Chris Watson notes, “He was not shy about his achievements”, soon made him a household name in broadcasting here in the UK. Chris Watson is joined by emeritus professor Sean Street. Together and with the aid of archive, they marvel over the great lengths Koch went to capture his ‘performers’.

Produced in Bristol by Ellie Richold

Krankenhaus Presents Chris Watson | Sunday 27th August 2023

www.krankenhausfestival.com/bands/chris-watson/

At Krankenhaus, Chris Watson will be presenting an immersive, Lake District-themed audio journey on the main stage in the Barn, entitled “Salmo salar and The Scafell Massif”.
From the source of the river Esk dive in with migrating salmon and follow the flow downstream; Great Moss, Hard Knott, Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass and the trackless North Atlantic. Tune in and be guided on a journey in sound, a migration along an ancient route through the three realms of freshwater, air and ocean.

About Krankenhaus
Krankenhaus Micro-Festival is brought to you by Sea Power & Muncaster Castle.

Sea Power are a BAFTA winning & Mercury Prize nominated band (www.seapowerband.com) and our hosts at Muncaster Castle, the Pennington-Frost family. Krankenhaus Festival will be held once again at the stunning setting of Muncaster Castle, a striking and ancient outpost near Ravenglass, amid the wild and beautiful western edge of the English Lake District. Ravenglass was described by John Ruskin as “The gateway to paradise.”

Virran Mukana Sound Recording Demonstration | London 22nd June 2023

Join Chris Watson, the artist behind the Virran Mukana sound installation, who will demonstrate techniques he used recording in the Arctic.

Thu, 22 Jun 2023 11:00 – 12:10 BST
Wellcome Collection 183 Euston Road London NW1 2BE

Tickets & info: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/virran-mukana-sound-recording-demonstration-tickets-626975148547

Philip Jeck & Chris Watson – Oxmardyke [Touch # Tone 83]

Artist: Philip Jeck & Chris Watson
Title: Oxmardyke
Formats: CD & Digital Download
Catalogue Number: Tone 83
Street date: 16th June, 2023

You can pre-order this CD album from today, 1st June 2023, here

Track Listing:
1. Oxmardyke
2. Barn – click to listen
3. Beetroot Train
4. Coop
5. Drum
6. AH
7. Bridge
8. Salt End
9. Spurn

Mastered by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering
Photography by Chris Watson. Cover design: Jon Wozencroft

With thanks to Mary Prestidge, who writes:

At the end of January 2022 Philip was taken to A&E at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital suffering from severe back pain and was admitted for investigations. In the hospital ward, with some strong pain relief, he could more comfortably rest, mostly horizontally. During the day he could be angled slightly toward a sitting position.

Over the following days, aiming to make sense of his current predicament, Philip regained a tiny level of normality. With his laptop in place he tapped into familiar territory and, when finding the most favourable times, listened to and worked with the sound files that Chris Watson had sent him.

During these brief, intense spells Philip gave all to his ear and heart to guide and shape the music forming at his fingertips. Oxmardyke is the album which resulted from this collaboration.

Chris Watson:

Philip’s laugh was infectious. Our conversations would usually begin with exchanges around the enthusiasm we had for each other’s work and the respect we shared for other Touch artists. However, as we were most likely to have met over drinks at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms in Liverpool the evening would gradually dissolve into convivial disarray. What did emerge from these soirées over recent years was a desire to find ways and means for us to collaborate at a place where our ideas converged.

In 2017 I was recording along the north bank of the Humber estuary and one morning driving back from Faxfleet I was stopped at the Oxmardyke rail crossing. The gates were down. After setting up a microphone array by the tracks for a passing freight train the signalman shouted an invitation to climb up into the gate box to make some more recordings.

Over the following weeks I made several return trips to Oxmardyke and gathered a broad palette of recordings. I discussed the sounds, stories and history of the site with Philip after a show and we were both excited by the potential of making a work together.

Philip was drawn to the ancient history of the area from 6th century Anglo-Saxon times to the Knights Templar and how the sounds, rhythms and textures from those periods may still inhabit the contemporary landscape. My thoughts took inspiration from ‘The Signalman’ by Charles Dickens and the painting ‘Rain, Steam and Speed’ by Joseph Mallord William Turner. We agreed to share ideas and exchange tracks.

Oxmardyke gate box has now passed into history.

I hope my contributions may frame Philip’s exceptional work. [August 2022]

Monheim Triennale ll | June 3rd – July 2nd 2023

“From the Mara to Monheim”, 2023
Grove at the Wanderparkplatz (hikers’ car park)

The project of the English musician and sound artist Chris Watson plays with the idea of meteorological temperature inversion (also: reversal weather situation), which carries sounds of an equatorial soundscape from a river woodland in the Masai Mara, a nature reserve in Kenya, into a small inner-city grove near the old town of Monheim am Rhein.
A temperature inversion is a weather phenomenon that occurs when air temperature increases with altitude and colder air near the ground is trapped by a warmer layer of air above. Under these conditions, sound waves are reflected from the boundary layer back to the ground, causing sound to travel much farther than usual.

www.monheim-triennale.de/en/mt2/2023/artists/chris-watson

FOCUS – 17 & 18 March 2023 / Centquatre-Paris

openagenda.com/inagrm/events/

17+18 Mars 2023
Centquatre-Paris – Salle 400
5 Rue Curial, Paris 75019

www.104.fr/fiche-evenement/focus-2023.html
Tarif : 5€

FOCUS

VENDREDI 17 20h00

Andy GUTHRIE
Folke RABE « Was?? »
Perila
Chris WATSON – Nouvelle œuvre – Création, commande INA grm

SAMEDI 18 20H00

Jake MUIR
Felicity MANGAN
Éliane RADIGUE « Koumé »

Alec Finlay & Chris Watson – Sea pies and a dokie​’​s egg

sea pies and a dokie’s egg: an avian calendar for amble, by alec finlay & chris watson

Release date: 1st December 2022
5 tracks – DL only

Now available on Bandcamp here

1. Sea pies and a Dokie’s egg
2. January-March
3. April-June
4. July-September
5. October-December

sea pies and a dokie’s egg, an avian calendar for amble, accompanies a shelter, the dokie’s egg, designed by Alec Finlay, made by Alistair Letch. The audio artwork is accompanied by a calendrical poem by Alec, with contributions from Paul Morrison (RSPB) and Chris Watson, identifying the bird species.

A dokie is a local byname for a guillemot or auk, collected in newton by the sea by Katrina Porteous; a sea-pie is an oyster catcher.

The shelter installed at Amble is a hybrid design inspired by the dokie’s pear-shaped egg and lapstrake hull of a coble fishing boat. Alec was invited to create the artwork for ‘Amble Bord Waalk’, a bird trail commissioned by Amble Development Trust which opened to the public in Winter 2022.

The Dokie’s Egg, Amble, Alec Finlay in collaboration with Alistair Letch and Chris Watson; photo by AF, 2022

Matthew Blackwell writes in Bandcamp Daily (27th Feb 2023):

“It’s difficult to overstate the importance of Chris Watson to field recording. In addition to an impressive body of solo work, Watson is sought after for nature documentaries with David Attenborough and others. Sea Pies and a Dokie’s Egg is the latest in a series of collaborations between Watson and Alec Finlay. Watson’s recordings of birds in and around the port of Amble, England accompany Finlay’s sculpture of a dokie’s egg commissioned for the town’s “Bord Waalk” art trail. Birds from throughout the year are represented in the recording and identified via a poem written by Finlay. The album is a crash course in ornithology, remarkable for the clarity of the birds’ songs and calls. As a listening experience, the sheer variety of sounds, from the stonechat’s clacking to the eider’s bizarre whooping, continually surprises. Though a minor entry in Watson’s daunting discography, Sea Pies and a Dokie’s Egg is exemplary of his abilities as a field recordist and as a wildlife expert.”

Listen to the Swing | The Wallace Collection

Having undergone gentle cleaning and restoration, The Swing has revealed previously hidden details. These immerse you in a woodland scene in where you can almost hear the birds sing. Chris Watson, one of the world’s leading wildlife recordists, has responded to this and created a special composition for the Wallace Collection that explores the painting through sound. Here is Chris, discussing his work:

‘Gazing into The Swing [Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s (1732–1806)], I was immediately drawn to the painting’s sheer vivacity and imagined the alarms of a nearby blackbird on discovering the scene. The foreground colour and detail are represented by the quiet flow of water from below and the gentle creak of rope carrying the amused young woman to and fro.

The surrounding woodland is full of birdsong; a mistle thrush, robin, nuthatch and several leaf warblers contribute to a rich chorus. From the depths of the forest behind, red deer stags bellow in rivalry to compete for the hinds. To conclude, a nightingale sings from cover, an expression of desire to draw down a partner from above.

The woodland chorus was recorded in the Forêt de Chaux, the nightingale song is from the nearby Arc et Senans and the red deer were recorded at Légrillou in the Pyrenees’.

You can listen to The Swing here

Chris Watson in Songlines | October 2022

www.songlines.co.uk/magazine

WEATHER Online Premiere | 13th October 2022

A breathtaking journey through four natural habitats. Each shaped, scarred and transformed by extreme weather events.

Michael Gordon’s cult 1997 piece ‘Weather’ for amplified string orchestra is brought to life in this musical tour-de-force – a brand new collaboration between Manchester Collective, seminal sound artist Chris Watson, and Spanish filmmaker Carlos Casas.

You’ll be transported from an East Asian rainforest to the world’s oldest desert; from an Icelandic glacier to the sunken medieval town of Dunwich off the English coast… Combining live performance, real-world sound and film, WEATHER is an artistic record of threatened environments that is urgent, haunting and unforgettable.

Award-winning field recordist Chris Watson has worked on some of the BBC’s best-loved documentaries, including David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet and The Life of Birds. For this project, Chris has revisited his extensive archive to create an immersive sound installation which accompanies the string orchestra’s hour-long performance:

“During my travels, I have recorded in many habitats around the world that are under threat from climate change, capturing the sounds of places that are disappearing. This project has given me the opportunity to work with these sounds to create an ambient, multi-channel installation that places the audience where my microphones were when I made the original recordings. Every sound you will hear has come from the places I have visited – the voices of those habitats speak to the future generations, who might not be able to experience them for themselves.”

WEATHER is created by Manchester Collective and co-commissioned with the Southbank Centre

More information here: manchestercollective.co.uk/weather

The Guardian ★★★★ review

BBC World Service feature (from 14:30)

Feature in Bandcamp Daily | 14th September 2022

Chris Watson of Cabaret Voltaire Found a Second Career in Nature Recordings

In the garden of his parents’ home was a birdhouse. “I could see it from the kitchen window, and I remember watching the birds and imagining the sounds they were making. It was like watching a silent movie,” he says. “This little tape recorder had a microphone attached to it, and I suddenly realized that I could set it up to record these birds. Playing these recordings back was a real transformative moment. I was taken to a place where we can never be. I was listening to the sounds of another world—and that just really blew me away listening to the rhythm in the birdsong.”

(Andy Thomas, Bandcamp)

Organ Reframed: Chris Watson & Claire M Singer | London, Saturday 17th Sept 2022

The world premiere of Voci del Vento, an immersive aural journey from Pole to Pole
By Chris Watson and Claire M Singer

Union Chapel, London
7:15PM Saturday 17 Sept 2022

In a world-premiere, award-winning sound recordist, Chris Watson (David Attenborough’s long-term collaborator on the ‘Life’ series and recent collaborator on Chernobyl by Oscar winner Hildur Guðnadóttir) and award-winning composer Claire M Singer (known for her experimental approach to organ and her critically acclaimed releases on Touch) will present their new, multichannel diffusion work for field recordings, organ, the London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir.

“I’m genuinely excited by the prospect of collaborating with Claire and the LCO in creating a global journey through a range of acoustic landscapes” – Chris Watson

bit.ly/VocidelVentohttps://bit.ly/VocidelVento

Land Body Ecologies | 22nd June 2022

Pioneer study on solastalgia employs sound as a research tool and launches podcast for listening to the landscape along with its stories.

Each podcast episode by Land Body Ecologies tells an intimate true story from a local community across the globe to highlight how ecosystem health and mental health are interconnected.

The first of five stand-alone episodes will tell the story of Finland’s longest river, and two sisters’ journey as they reflect on how the damming of the river shaped their lives.

Land Body Ecologies Podcast
Episode I: The Free River
Release date: 22 June 2022
Available online on www.landbodyecologies.com/podcast, as well as on Spotify, Google Podcast and Apple Podcast.

Press Release_Podcast Launch_Land Body Ecologies_1 June 2022

A Journey of 3 Realms | 27th May – 5th June 2022

Chris Watson has been commissioned by Wye Valley River Festival UK to produce a piece of work titled ‘A Journey of 3 Realms’ – a spatial audio dream journey presented in the beautiful surroundings of the iconic Tintern Abbey from 27th May – 5th June 2022. With sound spatialisation by Tony Myatt the piece will take the listener from sunrise within the abbey grounds to the waters of the river Wye, flow into the mighty Severn Estuary, out into the deep Atlantic Ocean and south west to the Caribbean Sea.

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

Namib

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.

BBC Radio 3, The Essay – Sounds of Isolation | Mon – Fri , 2245 1-5th November 2021

For many of us, isolation is disconcerting and challenging but for wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, it is something he actively seeks, so he can fully immerse himself in a place and capture its unique sounds in his recordings. In this series, Chris recalls five extraordinary quests to locations around the world in search of isolation and wild sounds. Producer Sarah Blunt

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006x3hl/episodes/guide