Installations & Performances

Port Eliot Festival | Cornwall 24-26th July 2009

A Nature Disco by Chris Watson at Port Eliot Festival, Saltash, Cornwall

More info can be found here

The Purcell Rooms | London 11th July 2009

Caught by the River

“It’s happening on Saturday July 11 and it’s a cracking line up. Featuring Laura Barton and Gavin Pretor-Pinney reading their pieces from ‘Words On Water’ with live sound accompaniment from the great Chris Watson – a really exciting prospect. We are also showing a short film of the late Roger Deakin in his house and garden. This was made by Mike Dibb as a pitch for a BBC documentary slot. With real short sightedness that slot was never commissioned and this wonderful fifteen minutes of history has sat on Mike’s shelf until its existence came to our attention and we tracked Mike down. We are also honoured to be joined by the authors of two of our current favourite books: Michael McCarthy reads from ‘Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo’ and Andrew Brown reads from ‘Fishing in Utopia’ which has just come out in paperback. We’ve also got Will Hodgkinson reading from his forthcoming book ‘The Ballad of Britain’ and live music, in the foyer of the QEH, from The Memory Band and friends, who will be performing the soundtrack to The Wicker Man.”

Caught by the River – see entry below for further details

The Roundhouse | London 14-17th May 2009

As part of the Short Circuit festival, there will be an installation by Chris in the Mezzanine Bar area on all 4 days of the festival.

The track listing, compiled by Chris with Touch, is as follows:

Embleton Rookery
Lioness Threatens Male
Mozambique Nightjar
Unidentified Pair of Birds
River Mara at Night
Tarbet Gulley

The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London

Whispering in the Leaves | Perth February – March 2009

18 February – 7 March 2009
Perth International Arts Festival, AU
Planetarium Pyramid, The Esplanade
Perth, AU


Tropical rainforests hold a special place in our hearts and imaginations. They are also home to more than half the wildlife on earth. Twice each day, hundreds of primates, thousands of birds and millions of insects broadcast their presence in dawn and dusk choruses of myriad voices – mostly unseen, but heard far and wide through the dense dark greens of the tree canopy and rolling out across the dank leaves of the forest floor.
One of the world’s leading wildlife and location sound recordists, Chris Watson presents his extraordinary sound installation, Whispering in the Leaves, at the Perth International Arts Festival, inviting visitors to experience the extraordinary soundtrack of the South American rainforest diffused through the tropical foliage of this botanical environment of the Planetarium Pyramid.

Shifting between the musicality of primate calls and birdsong and backed with the shimmering wall of insect sounds, Watson’s sound mixes are derived from an extensive archive of wildlife and field recordings made on location in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America. An unseen soundscape of thousands of species including black howler and spider monkeys, tree frogs, cicadas, and diverse birdlife, communicates a myriad of information; as these calls, voices and other sounds are transmitted back and forth, as each creature broadcasts its presence to others.

These evocative soundscapes allow us to appreciate the beauty of our fragile world in a powerful way.

Chris Watson was a founding member of UK experimental music band Cabaret Voltaire; his more recent solo albums include Outside the Circle of Fire, Stepping into the Dark (which won an Award of Distinction at the 2000 Prix Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria) and the iconic Weather Report. He has won awards for his exceptional recording work for BBC natural history programmes by David Attenborough and others, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of West England for his outstanding contribution to sound recording.

For more information visit:

Produced by Forma, commissioned by AV Festival 06
and supported by Arts Council England

Exhibition times:

Wed 18, Wed 25 Feb & Wed 4 March 7–9.30am
Thur 19, Thur 26 Feb & Thur 5 March 5.30–7.30pm
Fri 20, Fri 27 Feb & Fri 6 March 5.30–7.30pm
Sat 21, Sat 28 Feb & Sat 7 March 5.30–7.30pm
Sun 22 Feb 5.30–7.30pm

Cobra Mist – A New Film by Emily Richardson | London 9th December 2007

Tuesday 9th December 2008 7pm

Cobra Mist – Emily Richardson, Chris Watson, Benedict Drew

Café Oto, 18 – 22 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL. Tickets £5 from Café Oto

A special screening of Richardson’s new film Cobra Mist and expanded cinema event with live sound performances by Cobra Mist sound recordist and composer Chris Watson and Benedict Drew to launch the DVD release of Emily Richardson, 6 Films published by LUX. The DVD contains six recent film works by Emily Richardson with a new essay by William Fowler, Curator of Artists Moving Image at the BFI National Archive (and will be available at a special price of £15 at the event, usual price £20)

A LUX event supported by Animate Projects.
Cobra Mist is an Animate Projects commission.
6 Films DVD production funded by Arts Council East.

The Spectacular Suburb: A Concert from Another Place | Liverpool 13th September 2008

Matthew Herbert and Chris Watson

Saturday September 13th 2008 8pm

The Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BX

Tickets priced £7/£5 available now from the Bluecoat

The Hive Collective has commissioned two of the world’s most accomplished sonic pioneers, Matthew Herbert and Chris Watson, to collaborate on a unique composition constructed entirely out of recordings from Crosby Beach – the site of Antony Gormley’s Another Place installation.

A one-off event at a specially prepared performance space within the Bluecoat will see Watson explore Another Place through a series of source recordings, followed by Herbert’s presentation of a brand new musical composition based on those recordings.
By considering what these impassive iron men ‘hear’ as they gaze on the changing seascape and a changing Liverpool, the audience will, in turn, be encouraged to reimagine both the installation and the surrounding area, as well as reflect on how definitions of place vary, yet hold a truth, as they pass from person to person.
Challenging yet accessible, the event aims both to introduce new audiences to music composed from field recordings, as well as explore questions relating to what can constitute ‘music’ in a city dominated by more traditional definitions of authenticity

Plus Hive resident djs and visual artists.

Further information:

Chris Watson at The Cabaret Voltaire | Zurich 9th April 2008


Date: Wednesday 09.04.2008 19:00
Location: Cabaret Voltaire, Spiegelgasse 1, 8001 Zurich.

contact email fo reservations etc: / +41 43 268 57 20
website: (you can find an announcement in German here)


1900 Chris Watson presents…
1945 Mike Harding Presents Touch
2030 Chris Watson Live

The Qwartz Awards | Paris, 3rd April 2008

Qwartz Awards, Paris 2008

Touch has entries in 12 nominations for the Qwartz Awards 2008 and will be appearing live for these awards. A special edition of Touch Tone 25 has been manufactured for this event, with the kind permission of the artists.

April 3rd: Black venue: Maison des Métallos, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, Paris 75011 (Metro Couronne). Before Blixa Bargeld speech/performance:

Rosy Parlane | Fennesz

April 4th: Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione: 110 rue Amelot, Paris 75003 (Metro Filles du Calvaire). 1 hour after Blixa Bargeld, Max Mathews, Jean-Claude Risset and Beatriz Feyrrera [Qwartz d’Honneur attributions] from 23h to 1h30, with Radio France [France Musique] direct retransmission, Qwartz’s official sponsor.

Chris Watson | Philip Jeck | BJNilsen

Free entrance


Whispering in the Leaves | Sunderland February – March 2008


[photo: Sean Thamer]

A major new sound installation at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

Presented as part of AV Festival 08: 29th February – 9th March 2008

Artists’ Talk & Desert Island TV: Sat 8 Mar, 2.30 -3.30pm

Chris Watson discusses his new work Whispering in the Leaves. The talk will be followed by Desert Island TV, where Chris will introduce and screen BBC nature documentary the Life of Birds made with David Attenborough. Free, for bookings contact

For AV Festival 08, Watson has created a powerful new sound work derived from his extensive archive of wildlife and on location recordings in Central and South America – habitats that host over half of the planet’s wildlife. Diffused through the tropical foliage of the enclosed botanical environment of the Winter Gardens, which is home to over 2,000 flowers and plants, the surround soundtrack of wildlife dawn and dusk choruses will be transmitted at hourly intervals throughout the day for 15-20 minute durations – the approximate time taken in the rainforest for the transitions from darkness into light, and from daylight to dark. The sound pieces feature the calls and voices of thousands of species, including the howls and shrieks of black howler and spider monkeys, the musicality of diverse birdsong and the shimmering and hissing of tree frogs and cicadas. A highly sensory and captivating experience, Whispering in the Leaves is a remarkable demonstration of the power of sound recordings and natural history broadcast to transport us to far flung, inaccessible and often extraordinary locations.


Venue: Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR1 1PP
Free entry, opening hours: Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm, Sun 2pm – 5pm.
T: 0191 553 2323 / W:

Installation: Fri 29 Feb – Sun 9 Mar 08
Live performance: Thurs 6 Mar 08, 8.30 – 9.00pm

FREE but limited capacity to register your interest contact

A full press release can be downloaded here

Consortium | Amsterdam 20th December 2007


A full pdf of this info can be downloaded here

“Storm” Live in Bergen | December 2007


Storm – Live in Bergen
Chris Watson ¬ BJNilsen
Bergen Kino
4.12.07 MB1

Full Programme:

11:00 FILM SOUND: ‘Atmospheres above and below the surface’
by Chris Watson & Mike Harding

Part One [1 hour]

Chris Watson – A masterclass on the principles used for recording wildlife in a natural habitat for film. Chris brings his expertise to reveal his own methods of recording in the wild. Recording in a variety of habitats has presented him with a series of unique challenges and in response he has developed his own particular methods… Recording vultures eating a zebra carcass, giant tortoises mating and many other examples of his recording will illustrate his talk. He also may play surround sound examples from the National Geographic Galapagos Series, which recently won the Asian Wildlife Film Award for Sound Recording. [This series was screened on NRK in October 2007.]

Interval [15 minutes]

Part Two [45 minutes]

Mike Harding – Chris Watson also releases his soundworks for CD & vinyl and film soundtracks. He also makes sound installations and live performances from his recordings [for Grieg07, ‘Sleppet’ in Bergen, September 2007 as part of the Grieg Centenary]. Mike will describe the relationship between Chris Watson, the label, Touch, and the publisher, Touch Music. He will also look at copyright and other practical issues concerning the non-musical aspects of his work. What happens when a copyright system formulated in 1913 comes up against modernist thinking? Mike here fleshes out the issues which for many remain invisible, but often inform and dictate responses to new challenges presented by the modern media.

18:30 Chris Watson & BJNilsen perform live their soundtrack to the film by Ole Mads Vevle ‘Tanakh Bibelen Al-Quran’
18:45 Storm

Installations & Academic or Other Public Works 2007

Chris Watson, (sometimes with the assistance of Mike Harding from Touch) also gives talks, workshops and demonstrations of his work. Together they established a course at the Royal College of Art in Stockholm, have lectured widely in the UK, Belgium, Norway and many other places.

He also has produced various installations for festivals in Berlin, York, Oslo, Tokyo and various other cities. Here are some examples from 2007 and 2008…


A full programme for this festival can be found here

‘THE SOUND OF SANCTUARY’, an installation will appear at Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, throughout the festival.

Tropical rain forests hold a special place in our imaginations. They sustain myriad life forms yet retain a mysterious sense of presence. A place of marvels where we sometimes fear to tread. Chris Watson, one of the world’s greatest sound artists and sound recordists has produced, in real time, ‘The Sound of Sanctuary’, re-creating the sounds and atmosphere to be experienced at sunrise in the Amber Mountain rain forest of Northern Madagascar within the beautiful acoustics of Holy Trinity church at Goodramgate. This will be a contemplative installation which combines some of the common elements of these two very different sites to produce an inspiring and reflective soundscape. The internal architecture and sound of Holy Trinity has similarities to the deep forest acoustic of dense tropical rain forest. Specially recorded location surround sound will fill the space and immerse the listener in the slow drip of time. The sounds of one ancient place played in another. Come inside and take a walk in one of the most remarkable habitats on earth.
‘MIDNIGHT AT THE OASIS’ – LIVE, at the Marquee in Parliament Street on 13th September 2007

The Kalahari desert is a vast open space where over 85% of the wildlife is nocturnal. After sunset the dunes, grasses and thorn bushes are patrolled by an alien empire – the insects. ‘Midnight at the Oasis’ presents an unseen soundscape from a beautiful and hostile environment. In a live mixing Chris Watson, one of the world’s greatest sound artists and sound recordists, will create a 20 minute time compression from sunset to sunrise in South Africa’s Kalahari desert. Within the neutral acoustic space of a canvass marquee in the centre of York the listener will be transported and then surrounded by the unique and delicate nocturnal sonic detail recorded in this remote habitat.

An exhibition of photography by Chris Gomersall, Brancaster Staithe Village Hall, Norfolk
Friday 26th October to Sunday 28th October 2007 10.00 to 17.00 daily

Chris Gomersall, one of the country’s foremost nature photographers, presents his personal view of wildest East Anglia, depicting birds and wildlife from the murkiest mudflats of the Wash to the manicured fields of cereal city. Accompanied by a rich supporting soundscape from the BAFTA award-winning sound recordist Chris Watson. Archival, limited edition giclée prints and canvases will be available for purchase. [Sponsored by ACTPIX Ltd.]

Chris Watson takes part in Sleppet, part of the Edvard Grieg Centenary celebrations in Norway. More information can be found here

(taught by Chris Watson)

We are pleased to announce the dates for the next Wildlife Sound Recording Courses with Chris Watson: 7-9 Dec 2007 14-16 Dec 2007

We have a long waiting list for these courses and places can only be allocated first-come-first-served – so we advise you to book as soon as possible if you are interested. Initially email to check if there are places available stating the weekend of your choice or whether either is possible. If there is a place you will be requested to confirm the booking with a £25 deposit. The importance of the sound track and the role of the sound recordist is often over-looked in the production of wildlife films. The successful recording of wildlife sound, and creation of the film’s sound track is a crucial and major part of the creative process. With new digital equipment available for recording and editing sound it requires skill and experience to do the job justice. This weekend course aims to teach you the skills necessary and give you hands-on experience with some of the latest equipment. The course is suitable for aspiring wildlife film-makers, camera operators, camera assistants, producers and sound recordists. It is taught by Chris Watson, one of the world’s top wildlife sound specialists who regularly works for the BBC.

2008 Lectures & Presentations to Institutions

1. Monday 7th Jan. Lecture/ Presentation at University of West of England to the Bristol Branch Committee of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
2. Thursday 10th Jan. Seminar at FACT commissioned by Liverpool and Sefton Health Partnership to assist in developing a design guide, outlining the issues that should be considered when approaching the design of new health centres.
3. Wednesday 23rd Jan. York Spacenet; York University, Rymer Auditorium, Conference on Surround Sound.
4. Thursday 24th Jan. Leeds University, School of Music Sound Recording Research Seminar
5. Wednesday 6th Feb. University of West of England, Presentation to Computer, Audio and Music students.
6. Thursday 13th March Leeds College of Music, Location Sounds seminar.
7. Tuesday 22nd/Wednesday 23rd April Ravensbourne College & Chislehurst Caves, Kent, Presentation and field trip to Media students (with Mike Harding)