Installations & Performances

Ephemera Festival, Warsaw | 12-13th September 2020

Ephemera is a new multi-arts festival based in Warsaw, presented by Kraków’s Unsound.

Although this inaugural edition has been limited in size due to the pandemic, it nevertheless indicates the bold concept – a festival where music, dance, theatre and visual arts reverberate with one another across the city, presented with Warsaw’s vital cultural activists, organisations and institutions.

Hildur Guðnadóttir presents Chernobyl (feat. Chris Watson & Sam Slater)

Icelander Hildur Guðnadóttir is no stranger to experimental music fans, but has now received wider recognition for her score to the hit TV series Chernobyl, for which she was awarded an Emmy and Grammy, as well as her Oscar and Golden Globe-winning score for Joker.

The live presentation of the music of Chernobyl is much more than “just” the brilliant score. The performance is a unique, layered experience, incorporating recordings from Chernobyl’s sister power plant Ignalina in Lithuania, as well as Hildur’s voice, to create an immersive multichannel work for industrial spaces.

To present the piece, Hildur is joined by Sam Slater and field recordist Chris Watson, artists who helped realise her vision for the TV score. The innovative lighting is by Theresa Baumgartner, and spatialisation by Francesco Donadello, helping craft the sound that comes from all around the room, sometimes so soft it doesn’t feel amplified, sometimes so loud it feels it could push you over.

Due to the pandemic, this is now only one of two Chernobyl live shows taking place internationally this year, with the harrowing music having taken on new layers of meaning. Taking place in a former printworks, the show will be presented according to very strict rules to ensure that it is as safe as possible in respect to COVID-19, rules that will also become a part of the experience itself, an experiment in how live music can be presented in 2020’s harsh reality.

Chernobyl Live is commissioned by Unsound, Dark Mofo, the Barbican London and Rewire.

Landing EN

Inside the Circle of Fire

A Sheffield Sound Map by Chris Watson
(2020 stereo version)

Chris Watson is a BAFTA-winning sound recordist whose work has taken him to furthest reaches of the globe. In 2013 we commissioned him to create a work about Sheffield, his home city.

Chris made recordings all over Sheffield, from the outskirts at Blacka Moor to busy Fargate and from Forgemasters to the vast drainage tunnels under the Station. Inside the Circle of Fire invites us to listen to Sheffield’s unique soundtrack of people, industry and nature, and remember the waterways that continue to flow through it, from its borders in the Peak District all the way to its bustling heart.

Chris has generously revisited his original work, which used ambisonic technology to create a fully immersive soundscape in the gallery, turning it into a stereo experience that is best listened to using headphones. The work is accompanied by photographs taken by Alan Silvester, Digital Producer at Museums Sheffield.

www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/about/museums-sheffield-from-home/museums-sheffield-from-home-exhibition-inside-the-circle-of-fire

A Journey South | Belfast 13th February 2020

Thursday 13 February, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Suitability: 14 Yrs+
£5

Sonic Arts Research Centre
Queens University Belfast
Cloreen Park
Belfast BT9 5HN

Experience a sound journey to the Antarctic and the South Pole, with sound recordist and musician Chris Watson. This audio-visual tour includes recordings made during the BBC series Frozen Planet – the sounds of glaciers calving, Adelie penguins, orcas hunting, and Weddell seals singing under the sea ice – and concludes at the South Pole, at the location of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated journey in 1912. The sound journey is accompanied by narration from Chris and images to illustrate the locations.

This event is part of Antarctica Insight, a UK wide cultural programme marking the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica.

www.nisciencefestival.com/event.php?e=150

The Ice Mountain | King’s Place, London 2020

“Our Artist in Residence for Nature Unwrapped, Chris Watson, has created a sound calendar of environments from the northern hemisphere. In November and December you will be hearing sounds from the Tunabreen glacier on the island of Svalbard. Come early to enjoy the installation beginning half an hour before the performances in Hall One.”

Chris writes: “At latitude 78 degrees north, the progress of the Tunabreen glacier on the island of Svalbard towards the Arctic Ocean is fractional in winter. The movement of this massive river of ice is imperceptible but not silent. The sheer weight of freshwater ice at the head of the glacier shifts and grinds everything in its path and my hydrophones, fixed deep into a narrow crevasse, reveal an uncanny heartbeat-like pulse.

Further towards the ocean, house-sized blocks of ‘pressure ridges’ fracture, and their subsequent vibrations seem reminiscent of 1960s pioneering electronic music.

Finally, the freshwater shards mix and merge with the frozen slush of coastal sea ice and create a waveless coastline, below which bearded seals sing their haunting songs in the blackness”

This sound installation can be heard from 13 November until the end of December 2020 ahead of all Nature Unwrapped concerts taking place in Hall One. Access to the installation requires a concert ticket for the relevant main event in Hall One.

Ears to the Ground

www.kingsplace.co.uk/magazine/features/the-ice-mountain-sound-installation-by-chris-watson/

organ reframed, London | 27-28th March 2020

On the 27th March 2020 the fourth annual organ reframed returns to Union Chapel with a programme packed full of innovative music. Alongside headline performances, the two-day international festival will also feature talks, masterclasses, an interactive soundscape and family-friendly workshops.

organ reframed launches with three new works composed and performed by artists known for redefining their fields: Anna von Hausswolff renowned for her gothic organ creations, enigma Abul Mogard a synth visionary, and Ipek Gorgun a composer of energetic, textural masterpieces. All three works for organ, electronics and the London Contemporary Orchestra will push Union Chapel’s sonic possibilities to the extreme.

The Saturday afternoon will see the chapel transformed by sounds and rhythms echoing the seasonal shift of the Highland year. This free installation by Chris Watson and Claire M Singer will feature the wind, weather and animals of Scotland. These sounds will interact with the organ played by James McVinnie, Katherine Tinker and Jacob Lekkerkerker.

The festival concludes on Saturday evening with the world premiere of Voci del Vento by Chris Watson and Claire M Singer. This collaborative work will combine organ, field recordings, modular synths, the London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir to transport audiences on an epic journey from pole to pole.

Chris Watson, is a founding member of the influential experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire. He is famously known for his recording of wildlife sound for David Attenborough’s documentaries and his ground-breaking work on Grammy nominated Chernobyl, with Hildur Gudnadottir. His 2003 release Weather Report was voted as one of the 100 best albums to hear before you die by The Guardian.

Speaking about the festival Chris Watson said, “I’m thrilled by the prospect of bringing the natural world into the musically inspiring environment of Union Chapel and collaborating with Claire M Singer for the next Organ Reframed”. Claire M Singer is known for her experimental approach to the organ and for her critically acclaimed releases on the prolific label Touch.

organ reframed is brought to you by Union Chapel Project, in partnership with the London Contemporary Orchestra and Spitfire Audio with generous support from Arts Council England and the Institute of Physics.

Tickets and full line up information are now available from Union Chapel

Caught by the River @ Port Eliot | 25-28th July 2019

Caught by the River at Port Eliot Festival 2019

Project X: Tasmania | June 6th – 23rd 2019

Venture south and explore large-scale public art in Tasmania’s Huon Valley. Project X will present a series of major artworks in the Huon, with the aim of bringing visitors back to the south in the wake of the bushfires that recently ravaged the island.

Project X will open at Dark Mofo 2019 with Hrafn: Conversations with Odinby Chris Watson and The Wired Lab. More info about Project X artworks will be announced soon.

A DarkLab project, supported by the Australian government and the Tasmanian government through Tourism Tasmania, and Mona. DarkLab acknowledges the support of Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, and Events Tasmania.

project-x.net.au

EartH Hackney, London | Sunday 19th May

The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish with Plants: A Festival on Plant Intelligence
EartH Hackney
11-17 Stoke Newington Road London N16 8BH
Sunday 19th May 1-11pm

Chris Watson, Salmo salar – The Three Realms, on location Croquet Head, commissioned by Serpentine Galleries and L-Acoustics on the occasion of The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish, 2019.

“Most people who bother to think about plants at all tend to regard them as the mute, immobile furniture of our world—useful enough, and generally attractive, but obviously second-class citizens in the republic of life on Earth.” (Stefano Mancuso)

The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish with Plants is a multidisciplinary festival that brings together artists, scientists, writers, anthropologists and musicians for talks, performances, screenings and listening sessions that raise and address some of the most urgent questions facing all of us.

www.serpentinegalleries.org/files/press-releases/gen_eco_-_press_release_final.pdf

“Sanctuary” Carlos Casas, Chris Watson, and Tony Myatt, EMPAC, Troy, USA | 22nd March 2019

After a devastating earthquake, Nga, an old elephant and probably the last of his kind, and Sanra, his mahout, embark on a journey to find the mythical elephant’s graveyard. A story of discovery and mourning in which the spectator becomes the protagonist, the film follows the duo as they are stalked closely by a group of poachers, who begin to die one after another under mysterious circumstances.

Carlos Casas’s Sanctuary offers a mesmerizing sonic and visual cinematic environment that immerses the audience in the sounds, textures, and hues of the jungle. Projected on the mega-screen in EMPAC’s Concert Hall, and featuring live Ambisonics, Wavefield Synthesis, and infrasound to induce a deep sense of physical closeness with the elephant, Sanctuary presents a unique sensorial experience that collapses the boundaries between art, nature documentary, and adventure film.

Chris Watson collaborated with the bioacoustician and elephant communication expert Joyce Poole to record the acoustic sphere of elephants. Tony Myatt developed the infrasound speaker and implemented the spatial audio. Both will perform live on the speaker systems installed throughout the hall. This is the US premiere of the project, which was previously presented at the Fondation Cartier, Paris; the Tate Modern, London; and the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels.

empac.rpi.edu/events/2019/sanctuary

“Okeanos” Chris Watson and Tony Myatt – EMPAC, Troy, USA | 20th March 2019

Okeanos takes the audience on an auditory underwater journey around the globe. Years of recordings from pole to pole will be performed with three audio systems in the Concert Hall: a dome of 64 loudspeakers used to project sounds around the audience in an Ambisonic environment, a Wave Field Synthesis array, consisting of hundreds of small speakers placed above the audience, and a custom-built infrasound speaker used to create the lowest frequencies, which can be more felt than heard. The composition will include songs, signals, and vibrations from the smallest crustaceans to the loudest and largest animals ever to have existed.

Chris Watson and Tony Myatt will perform a version of the work specifically developed for EMPAC’s Concert Hall and its audio systems. This new version will also integrate sound materials recorded on the Northeastern coast of the US and humpback whale recordings from the Silver Banks (Dominican Republic).

empac.rpi.edu/events/2019/okeanos

BOILER SHOP PRESENTS: 100 YEARS, Newcastle | 10th – 11th November 2018

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.

Tickets are available here

Enceindre: Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival | 22nd September 2018

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

www.bfmaf.org/programme/specialevents/enceindre

Unsound, Krakow | 7th – 14th October 2018

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.

www.unsound.pl/articles/news/unsound-krakow-announces-second-wave-of-artists-including-special-projects-and-premieres-tickets-on-sale-mid-august

WOMAD, Malmesbury | 26th – 29th July 2018

17 carefully selected artists have been invited to perform on the new d&b Soundscape stage.

All Festival Tickets

100 Years, Newcastle | 11th November 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.

Whispering in the Reeds, Snape Maltings | 16th June 2018

The Pumphouse, 7pm

In mid June, world-renowned sound recordist Chris Watson will be at work in the reed beds of RSPB North Warren…. the result? A completely new multi-channel sound piece which reflects the songs and rhythms of the wildlife within this landscape over a 24-hour period.

Part of The Pumphouse

Tickets

No Man’s Land; Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts | Brighton Tuesday 27th March – Friday 13th April

No Man’s Land is an audio installation celebrating the sounds, rhythms and music of the world’s seas and oceans.

No Man’s Land is at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts until Fri 13 Apr.

Interview for BN1 magazine can be read here

Sound Mind: Graham Duff interviews Chris Watson, about his groundbreaking work with the experimental music groups Cabaret Voltaire and The Hafler Trio, his career as one of the world’s most celebrated wildlife recordists, his albums of field recordings released on the Touch label and his new site specific sound installation ‘No Man’s Land’. Contains extensive examples of both Watson’s music and field recordings. Headphone listening recommended throughout.

Yoiking with the Winged Ones | SDG, Norway

Sound installation by Ánde Somby. Technical Manager is Christopher Watson and Elin Már Øyen Vister.

You can visit the exhibition from 24th February until 8th April 2018 and you watch on NRK here

Surrey Moog Symposium | 3rd February 2018

The Surrey Moog Symposium 2018 will take place on 3rd Feb 2018 in PATS Studio 1 at the University of Surrey, Guildford. Surrey’s Department of Music and Media, in collaboration with the Moog Soundlab UK and Moog Music Inc. (USA) will present a day of performances and discussions celebrating the life and legacy of Dr Robert ‘Bob’ Moog and the lasting impact of his sound synthesisers.

The Symposium will feature live performances by Chris Watson, using modular sound processing systems and recordings of New York environments, Chris Carter will give his second live performance using his own new modular system, and one of the world’s leading authorities on electronic music, Thom Holmes will present the symposium’s keynote lecture “The Sound of Moog”.

www.chriscarter.co.uk www.thomholmes.com/Noise_and_Notations/About_Thom_Holmes.html

Chris Watson’s performance will be supported by Finlay Shakespeare.

The symposium also marks the launch of the new Moog Recording Library record label, who release a series of new recordings on vinyl of work created with the Moog Soundlab UK over the past three years.

The Symposium will also feature a roundtable discussion Bob Moog and the “living machines”, and live demonstrations of the Moog Soundlab UK and new modular-synthesis developments by Finlay Shakespeare.

Only 200 tickets are available.

Details of all events and online tickets sales:

www.surrey.ac.uk/arts/music/20180203-moog-symposium

Surrey Moog Symposium 2018 PressRelease

Interview Ina/GRM | Paris, France